The NBA gives its fans a yearly gift of what is now five games back-to-back featuring some of the best teams in the league … and the Nuggets. Since you may want to spend some of your day talking to your loved ones, I will save you some time and tell you what’s going to happen in each of the five games: Here’s a not-too-serious set of predictions.
CELTICS AT NETS — 9 a.m.
Final score: Nets 90, Celtics 83
What happens: Neither team enters this game hot, with the Celtics having lost four of five and the Nets eight of 11. They are hot under the collar, though, and that’s why there is some chippiness in this game. Rajon Rondo will get unnecessarily upset about something minor that happens. He’ll bad-mouth the Nets during a halftime interview. He’ll have 19 asists and six points. The game will be close, but when Paul Pierce misses jumpers on back-to-back late-game possessions, the Nets make enough free throw to pull away. Kris Humphries continues his slow fade out of the public consciousness.
KNICKS AT LAKERS — Noon
Final score: Knicks 108, Lakers 104
What happens: The game starts out entertaining as both times use crisp up-tempo offenses with a lot of passing to put on a fine display of teamwork. The score is tied at 34 after one quarter. Slowly but surely the game deterioates into a scoring contest between Kobe and Melo. Tyson Chandler takes the challenge of guarding Dwight Howard personally as he tries to cement himself as the game’s best center. Jason Kidd and Steve Nash trade clever passes, and talk to each other about how much they loved their Atari 2600s when they were little, and complain about how video games these days are “too real.” Metta World Peace elbows someone. Jordan Hill’s relentless effort for the Lakers makes you mad A) that other players on his team don’t play as hard, and B) at him for not being more talented.
THUNDER AT HEAT — 2:30 p.m.
Final score: Thunder 101, Heat 91
What happens: This is a classic case of one team treating this like their biggest game of the year, and the other lamenting not being home for Christmas. It’s the same reason the Phil Jackson Lakers would always lose on Christmas. LeBron will have a triple-double, all while guarding Russell Westbrook half the time and Kevin Durant the other half. Dwyane Wade can’t believe he didn’t get a foul call. Chris Bosh and Serge Ibaka will continue to exist. I will make it a point to learn the names of anyone on the Thunder other than Westbrook, Durant and Ibaka. Ray Allen will hit a 3-pointer at the end of a quarter, somewhere between New Jersey and Boston Kevin Garnett will be pissed about it.
ROCKETS AT BULLS: 5 p.m.
Final score: Bulls 88, Rockets 87
What happens: You take this time to talk to your family, drive somehwere, help a child assemble a present that has some assembly required. This is the one you really won’t pay attention to. It will also inevitably be the most exciting game. You will find that out later when see the final score go across the crawl at the bottom of the screen when you settle in to watch the night game.
NUGGETS AT CLIPPERS: 7:30 p.m.
Final score: Clippers 113, Nuggets 99
What happens: I keep trying to find viable reasons why the Clippers’ 13-game winning streak will end, but I think they will want to put on a little bit of a show as they are given the honor of playing on Christmas day. The Nuggets have been playing well of late, and are a scary squad, behind Nene, Carmelo and .. what was that? Those guys aren’t on the Nuggets anymore? … I suppose Dikembe Motumbo is gone, too? Note to self: Learn more about the Nuggets. Anyway, this should be a fun one as both teams favor an up-tempo game. The Nuggets win by tiring their opponents out, the Clippers have an untire-out-able bench. Los Angeles has won by an average of 15.7 points during their 13-game streak. And it’s fitting that Blake Griffin is playing on Christmas Day because he stuffs the ball just like Santa does with stockings. OK that was clumsy, let me try again. Santa stuffs stockings, like Blake Griffin stuffs hoops. Santa and Blake Griffin are both great at stuffing stuff, like stockings and basketballs through the basket. Aaaaah! Why is this so hard? Anyway, you get where I’m going. They’re both experts at stuffing … like a Thanksgiving day turkey. Oh no, now I have another holiday in there. I give up. It’s not in any way fitting that Blake Griffin is playing today.