There’s no holiday for the stars of the NBA at Christmas with Santa serving up a five-game slate on Wednesday.
Since the first time the league dragged its stars away from the fireside in 1947, there have been 217 games on December 25, with many televised around the world. And it's worth a punt on a few extra presents being delivered when they hold court tonight.
Brooklyn – Chicago
How badly both could do with some festive cheer. Chicago got some respite with a win over Cleveland on Saturday but the Bulls have lost seven out of eight and are even toiling against some of the league’s lowlights. Brooklyn are looking at trade options to fill the void left by the injured Brook Lopez but this could be a clash which is naughty not nice.
New York – Oklahoma City
The New York Knicks will make a record 49th appearance on Christmas, seven more than their closest rivals, the Lakers. Head coach Mike Woodson will surely hope that peace to all men applies to him following a torrid spell this season but it’s hard to see how the Knicks generate enough offense to keep pace with the free-scoring Thunder, despite if Carmelo Anthony – their top scorer at 24 per game – fails to recover from an ankle injury.
LA Lakers - Miami
The NBA champions are unlikely to come bearing festive cheer on their trip to Los Angeles where Kobe Bryant’s injury has denied him the chance of a record-extending 16thChristmas appearance. The former MVP is also the all-time leader in Yuletide points scored at 383. But with Dwyane Wade on (204) and LeBron James (196), and Miami on song following five straight victories, expect the Heat to carve up their hosts like turkeys.
San Antonio – Houston
The true Yuletide treat is seeing the free-scoring Houston Rockets visit the San Antonio Spurs with a little Texan pride on the line. The Rockets came up trumps 112-106 at home when the teams clashed three weeks ago with James Harden scoring 31 to save his team after they coughed up a 23-point lead.
But the Spurs defence has gone back in time this season, giving up an average of just 95.5 and they’ll surely re-adjust on their own turf.
Golden State – LA Clippers
The Golden State Warriors lost 126-115 to their Californian rivals on the second night of the season when Chris Paul pulled out a tour de force with 42 points. The All Star has been back to his best in the last month and it’s no coincidence that the Clippers are on a five-game winning streak. Expect another shootout with LA’s hot hands proving too much.
Bet on all of the Christmas action in the NBA.