NBA: Christmas Day preview and picks

NBA: Christmas Day preview and picks
December 25, 2013, 12:45 am
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Webster serenades camera with Christmas tunes

Once that Santa guy takes care of business, the NBA owns Christmas Day. Five games over 13 hours, though the day's schedule won't be quite as star-studded as hoped. Still, hoops are hoops and studs like KD, LeBron, The Big Fundamental and CP3 are playing. Now, on to the picks.

Bulls at Nets (12:00 p.m.): One of three could-woulda-shoulda games on the docket. Chicago is better than dysfunctional Brooklyn even without Derrick Rose. Possibly winning without Luol Deng, Kirk Hinrich and Jimmy Butler is something else.

Notable scorer: Joe Johnson with 22

Ex-Wizard: Shaun Livingston comes off the Nets bench and tacks on 15 points, which leads to a Twitter conversation with some asking why Livingston isn't the backup PG in Washington.

Final: Nets 91-88

Thunder at Knicks (2:30 p.m.): Everyone loves bringing up that (at least) once) Philadelphia fans booed Santa Claus. Get ready for New York fans to boo the Knicks on Christmas. If we're lucky the league's top two leading scorers - Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony - duel. If Anthony (ankle) can't go, then go visit with your family during the second half.

Notable stats: Kevin Durant scores 31 with five 3-pointers. Carmelo Anthony does not do as well.

Other stats: The Thunder rank 1st in rebounds per game. New York 29th. Call me crazy, but this could be a factor.

Final: Thunder 105-97.

[RELATED: Injuries threatening to plague Christmas games]

Heat at Lakers (5:00 p.m.): No matter how often the announcers mention him during the game, Kobe Bryant won't be walking through those locker room doors, not in uniform anyway. For the Lakers, that's fine for a while as Nick Young charms the pants of a couch-sitting America for three quarters with buckets and baffling attempts. Then the two-time defending champs awake for the fourth period, then they win.

Notable stats: LeBron James goes for  26-11-7

Ex-Wizard: Nick Young scores 15 points before halftime, finishes with 20.

Final: Heat 108 Lakers 104.

Rockets at Spurs (8:00 p.m.): Root for Rockets F Chandler Parsons, even if that means siding with Dwight Howard. Meanwhile, Lin-sanity now adds intrigue to the starting lineup. If instead you prefer supporting the eventual winner, the 22-6 Spurs are for you.

Notable scorers: Tony Parker, Tim Duncan AND Marco Belinelli each score at least 18

Other stats: Dwight Howard missed free throws >> Jeremy Lin assists

Final: Spurs 110-102.

Clippers at Warriors (10:30 p.m.): From an entertainment standpoint, this one will be the granddaddy of them all. Chris Paul won't be stopped as evidenced by his 36 points and 12 assists. Stephen Curry also keeps the scoreboard operator busy all the way down to the game-winning 3-pointer in the final seconds.

Stats: Stephen Curry 34 points, 10 assists, six turnovers

Ex-Wizards: Take a swig of your favorite beverage if Antawn Jamison (Clippers) or Hilton Armstrong (Warriors) play, two if they score.

Final: Warriors 115-114.