What's buzzing:

Kobe Bryant expecting heavyweight fight against Carmelo Anthony and Knicks

Marc J. Spears
Yahoo Sports

The NBA's top two scorers will share the court on Christmas Day when the New York Knicks visit the Los Angeles Lakers. Kobe Bryant, however, thinks the Staples Center floor might as well be replaced with a boxing ring when he and Carmelo Anthony square off.

View photo

.

Kobe Bryant leads the NBA in scoring while Carmelo Anthony ranks second. (Getty Images)

"He's a weight class above," Bryant said. "But I know where to fight at.

"It's a very interesting puzzle. You have to prepare for him a lot more than anybody else with his bag of tricks to go to. You have to be extremely, extremely prepared."

Bryant leads the NBA in scoring this season with 29.7 points per game while Anthony is averaging 28.3 and shooting a career-best 43.7 percent from 3-point range. Preparing for Anthony – who can shoot from any range or post inside – has never been tougher than now. He has played like an MVP and led the Knicks to a 20-7 record while Amar'e Stoudemire has been sidelined.

[Also: Clippers lead NBA Power Rankings]

Anthony has been criticized throughout his career for caring too much about scoring. Bryant is glad to see his friend and Olympic teammate win some appreciation this season.

"He's playing like he has always played," Bryant said. "He's just surrounded by pieces that allow him to do what he does best. And finally people are recognizing what a great player he is.

"He's been criticized, but that comes with the job, though. That comes with all scorers. Scorers are very easily criticized. But that's something we all take in stride. You have to. That's part of being a scorer."

[Also: Doug Collins promises to pay for 18,000 fans' free burgers]

One of the key reasons for Anthony's success: the addition and of point guard Jason Kidd. Kidd has helped Anthony become more patient – and created easier scoring opportunities for him.

The Knicks signed Kidd and point guard Raymond Felton after failing to land Steve Nash, who joined the Lakers. Nash missed 24 games after fracturing his left fibula, but returned Saturday against the Golden State Warriors and will be on the court for the Lakers' Christmas matinee against Anthony and the Knicks.

"Felton is doing a good job for them," Bryant said, "but I'm happy to have Nash."

More Yahoo! Sports' NBA content:

Other popular content on the Yahoo! network:
Big Ten Network employed an NFL agent as a game analyst
NFL playoff picture: NFC races down to the wire
Vikings player sets NFL record
Y! Photos: Santa pictures gone wrong

View Comments (147)
  • Pelicans-Mavericks Preview

    The New Orleans Pelicans have defied the odds by producing their longest win streak of the season despite some significant absences. The Dallas Mavericks have gone in the opposite direction while playing short-handed. The Pelicans will try to … More »

    AP - Sports - 1 hour 16 minutes ago
  • NBA-Highlights of Sunday's NBA games

    March 1 (The Sports Xchange) - Highlights of Sunday's National Basketball Association games: - - - Rockets 105, Cavaliers 103 (OT) LeBron James capped a nightmare performance at the free-throw line with a pair of misses in the closing seconds of … More »

    Reuters - 2 hours 21 minutes ago
  • Mar. 1: Top 10

    Mar. 1: Top 10

    Check out Sunday's best from around the Association in the Top 10. … More »

    NBA.com - 2 hours 21 minutes ago
  • Raptors-76ers Preview

    While their Atlantic Division title hopes remain healthy, the Toronto Raptors' season-high skid has put them in a fight for positioning in the Eastern Conference. The Raptors will try to avoid their sixth straight loss Monday night by extending … More »

    AP - Sports - 2 hours 21 minutes ago
  • Mar. 1: Daily Zap

    Mar. 1: Daily Zap

    All the action from Sunday's eight-game lineup wrapped up in the Daily Zap. … More »

    NBA.com - 2 hours 25 minutes ago