When the Christmas Day schedule came out, Nuggets-Clippers was the proverbial lump of coal in our stocking. Now? It seems like the NBA might have saved the best for last. L.A.’s other team is on a franchise-record 13-game winning streak and could end Christmas Day with the best record in the Western Conference.
Stacked Christmas lineup
Like 24 hours of "A Christmas Story" or that uncomfortable feeling when your aunt has finished her fourth cup of eggnog, the NBA has become a Yuletide tradition. And, apparently, we were all very good boys and girls this season, because there are plenty of goodies under the tree. We break down the NBA’s Christmas offerings for you.
Celtics-Nets, 12 noon ET
The Boston Celtics have the history. The Brooklyn Nets have a new home and some Jay-Z cache. But two months into the season, both are middle-of-the-road teams whose fans expect more. Will one of these teams step up and make a Christmas Day statement that can carry over into the New Year?
Knicks-Lakers, 3 p.m. ET
Christmas came a little early for the Lakers, who unwrapped star point guard and key offseason acquisition Steve Nash on Saturday night at Golden State. And while the Lakers won in OT, Nash didn’t instantly solve L.A.’s issues with offensive balance (see Kobe’s 41 shots) or defensive fortitude (115 points allowed). The Knicks, meanwhile, will be trying to repeat their nearly perfect offensive display that saw them pour in 41 first-quarter points against the Lakers in the Garden.
Thunder-Heat, 5:30 p.m. ET
LeBron vs. Durant. D-Wade vs. Westbrook. Finals rematch. Take your pick, but Heat-Thunder in the their first meeting this season is the giant present under the tree you just can't wait to open. And here's a bonus storyline to watch: LeBron James hasn't been whistled for a foul since Dec. 8 — six full games.
Rockets-Bulls, 8 p.m. ET
This showdown pits teams looking a lot different than last season. The Bulls have held their own without superstar Derrick Rose, who suffered a horrific knee injury in the opening game of the playoffs last season, and lead the Central Division. The Rockets retooled, too, but theirs was by design. They added Jeremy Lin as a free agent, but the bigger coup was getting James Harden in a trade with the Thunder. Now, the Rockets sit at 14-12 and have won five of their past six.