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Lakers Vs. Heat: A Look Back At Kobe Bryant's Christmas Past

The Los Angeles Lakers are a Christmas tradition, as their Saturday game against the Miami Heat at Staples Center is their 12th straight Christmas Day game. For Kobe Bryant, this will be his 13th Christmas Day game, and the second straight showdown with LeBron James. Bryant played in his 22nd career game on Christmas in 1996, and at that point wasn't in the starting lineup. He only played five minutes off the bench in a win over Phoenix, and was held without a point, one of only 12 scoreless games in Kobe's career.

Since then, Kobe has played major minutes on Christmas, and taken a whole lot of shots. Here is a look back at Kobe's performance on Christmas Day throughout his career:

Kobe Bryant On Christmas Day
Year Opponent Min FG FT 3-Pt Pts Reb Ast Dec
2009 Cleveland 45 11-33 12-12 1-3 35 10 8 L
2008   Boston 43 13-23 0-0 1-3 27 9 5 W
2007 Phoenix 41 12-20 13-14 1-3 38 5 7 W
2006 at Miami 38 4-17 8-9 0-4 16 2 4 L
2005 at Miami 44 12-30 13-19 0-8 37 8 6 L
2004 Miami 50 12-30 13-13 5-13 42 3 6 L
2003 Houston 43 9-26 4-6 1-2 23 8 6 L
2002 Sacramento 46 7-24 12-15 1-4 27 15 6 L
2001 Philadelphia 42 6-19 0-0 0-2 12 11 9 W
2000 Portland 45 9-20 11-14 0-4 29 2 6 L
1999 San Antonio 35 7-19 4-5 0-1 18 5 5 W
1996 at Phoenix 5 0-2 0-0 0-1 0 1 0 W
Totals 39.8 38.8% 84.1% 20.8% 25.3 6.6 5.7 5-7
Source: Basketball-Reference.com

Kobe has struggled from the field on Christmas, converting under 39% of his field goal attempts. He has only shot at least 50% twice, but those have come in the last three seasons, in wins over Phoenix and Boston. However, despite his shooting woes, Kobe has managed to get to the free throw line often, nearly 10 attempts per game in his last 11 Christmas contests (let's not talk about that uncharacteristic goose egg in the 2008 Boston game).

There is one thing we know about this Saturday. Kobe Bryant will shoot, and shoot often. Kobe will also play a ton of minutes, and will score several points. And Saturday will be an enjoyable game between the Lakers and another top team in the NBA, just like every Christmas.

For more Lakers news and analysis, be sure to read the SB Nation blog Silver Screen and Roll.