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NBA Christmas Day Preview: Knicks/Lakers, Thunder/Heat, And More

uspw_6338760Since Christmas Day is usually the day when the NBA regular season gets the most attention, we’re going to preview the five games really quickly. The NBA tried to put together some of the most marquee match-ups on that day. While we’re all enjoying the day with our family, we can also enjoy some quality NBA basketball on the tube. Let’s check out the match-ups.

BOSTON CELTICS (13-13) @ BROOKLYN NETS (14-12)

These teams aren’t exactly on a roll or anything but there’s something so inconsistent about the Celtics. Some pundits picked the Celtics to come out of the pack as the second-best team in the East but they’ve showed some inconsistency throughout the season. They’ve had a lot of shuffling in the line-ups as they try to continue to find their identity.

As for Brooklyn, we’ve all heard about Deron Williams having trouble with the offense. And there’s been a lot more isolation in the Nets’ offense which continues to confuse their identity on that side of the ball. Brooklyn is also the slowest team in the league, which actually may not be good against a methodical team like the Celtics. While Brooklyn did win the first match-up against them, I see something different in Christmas. Plus Boston is used to big games while Brooklyn is just trying to get their stamp on the league.

PICK: CELTICS OVER NETS, 91-84.

NEW YORK KNICKS (20-7) @ LOS ANGELES LAKERS (13-14)

The last time the Knicks faced the Lakers, it wasn’t very pretty for Los Angeles. Carmelo Anthony got into a groove early and it was curtains from there.

But momentum can be really funny. Steve Nash’s return helped the Lakers get a huge win in Golden State. The Staples Center crowd should be jacked for this game and with the Lakers having won four in a row (coupled with Nash’s return), their momentum should continue on in this big day. Plus Raymond Felton (bone bruises on both hands) hasn’t played well as of late. The Knicks haven’t been as steady in the last four games, going 2-2 in that stretch. Also, we’re going to see a lot of three-pointers being fired in this contest.

It may not make sense. But I’ll go with the home team.

PICK: LAKERS OVER KNICKS, 115-106.

OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER (21-5) @ MIAMI HEAT (18-6)

Miami’s starting to pick it up on the defensive end and LeBron James is having a fabulous season as usual (he just won Player of the Week). Meanwhile, the Thunder just came off a 12-game win streak (that was recently stopped by Minnesota). They last played on Thursday so they’ve had quite a lot of time off. Kevin Durant is playing better than ever, too, which is scary.

As a young team, a lot of time off for the Thunder might not be good against a warmed-up Miami team, who have won their last four games. I expect the Heat to run all over the Thunder before OKC finally gets in rhythm. At least, Kevin Martin is going to play in this game so it’ll help give the Thunder balance. Unfortunately, the slow start will be the Thunder’s undoing.

PICK: HEAT OVER THUNDER, 109-101.

HOUSTON ROCKETS (14-12) @ CHICAGO BULLS (15-11)

James Harden and Jeremy Lin have been playing well as of late, which was probably spring-boarded by routing the Knicks at Madison Square Garden. Meanwhile, Chicago continues to be stingy on D (4th in defensive rating this season) and they’re going against the team that is leading in scoring. It’s the classic offense vs defense battle.

But while the Bulls don’t let anybody score, who can score on their team when they need it? I suppose Luol Deng can do it; he does have a good chance, especially since Houston’s not exactly known for their defense. The Rockets can get buckets from a lot of players, though. I think this excellent offense might be too much for that excellent defense.

PICK: ROCKETS OVER BULLS, 100-92.

DENVER NUGGETS (15-13) @ LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS (21-6)

The Clippers will lose at some point but I don’t think they’ll slip against a wildly up and down team like the Denver Nuggets. The Nuggets have mostly been off from the perimeter and get most of their points in the paint. But the Clippers have been really tight on defense this season (3rd in defensive rating) and it’s really scary how they can get points from nearly anybody from this team.

I don’t have much to say other than the fact that I expect Clipper domination in the last game of Christmas Day 2012. That and I expect JaVale McGee to provide us with a fantastic comedic highlight.

PICK: CLIPPERS OVER NUGGETS, 107-90.

Enjoy your time with your family. I hope you people enjoy your presents and hope you gave away a lot, too. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, everyone.

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Rey Moralde is a Southern California native who has a passion for basketball, old-school video games, sushi, and terrible pop music.

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