Jerry Zgoda's Sunday Insider: A hoops-heavy holiday

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 24, 2012 - 11:15 PM

The NBA's traditional Christmas fare will be especially rich, with five games ranging from L.A. to the Big Apple.

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It wouldn't be a proper Christmas Day without Kobe Bryant and the Lakers playing on either ESPN of ABC.

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While their professional sports counterparts go dark on Christmas Day, the NBA illuminates its brightest lights and wraps five games in sparkling paper and tinsel for a worldwide television audience Tuesday.

Here's a snapshot look at this year's offering for a holiday tradition that dates to 1947.

Boston at Brooklyn, 11 a.m.

TV: ESPN (Mark Jones, Doris Burke)

Story line: A Christmas Day game in New York City is an NBA tradition, but there's a twist here. They've moved it down the subway line to Brooklyn and the new Barclays Center, which has given the former New Jersey Nets a new home, new uniforms, new vibe but still a middling 13-12 record after they started the season 11-4 and have lost eight of their past 10.

On the hot seat: You'd probably expect Nets coach Avery Johnson on it after all the early expectations, but struggling point guard Deron Williams is feeling it for his lousy shooting and pining for the offense he ran before he forced his way out of Utah.

Did you know? Celtics star Kevin Garnett is one of four former league MVPs playing on this Christmas Day. Miami's LeBron James and the L.A. Lakers' Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash are the others.

New York at L.A. Lakers, 2 p.m.

TV: Ch. 5 (Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy)

Story line: One team is chasing the league's best record, the other team is struggling both to get back to .500 and find its identity. Just who would have thought nearly two months into the season that the Knicks with Carmelo Anthony playing like a MVP candidate would be the former and the Lakers the latter?

Gone missing: Will all be right in Lakerland now that Steve Nash finally returned Saturday after missing all the season so far because of a leg injury?

Did you know? The Knicks have played on more Christmas Days than any other NBA team. This will be their 48th time since the league began the tradition in 1947. The Lakers are next; this will be their 39th.

Oklahoma City at Miami, 4:30 p.m.

TV: Ch. 5 (Mike Tirico, Hubie Brown)

Story line: A rematch of last season's NBA Finals, except this time the runner-up Thunder, if you take away Thursday's loss to the Wolves, is playing like the NBA's best team and the defending champion Heat often gives the impression it already is biding time, waiting for the playoffs.

Magic Johnson says: "The Heat are going to be fine. They are still the best team in the East. They are so talented. They've got the best all-around player in the world in LeBron James. Dwyane Wade is still a big-game player, as long as he stays healthy. Chris Bosh always is consistent and Ray Allen, the bigger the games, the better he performs, especially in the playoffs."

Did you know? Wade is second among all active players in points scored on Christmas Day. Kobe Bryant is first with 349 points in 14 previous Christmas Day games, and Wade is next with 183.

Houston at Chicago, 7 p.m.

TV: ESPN (Dave Pash, Jon Barry)

Story line: The Rockets, remade by their October acquisition of star shooting guard James Harden, tune up for their Target Center appearance a night later by visiting a Bulls team that has stayed atop the Central Division even without injured Derrick Rose because coach Tom Thibodeau demands defense.

Twenty years ago today: Bulls star Michael Jordan scored 42 points against the Knicks and Patrick Ewing. Bulls won 89-77.

Did you know? Six of the 23 international players competing before a television audience in 215 countries are in this one. That international emphasis is why the Wolves, with players from Russia, Spain, Montenegro and Puerto Rico, are a best bet to play on Christmas Day next year.

Denver at L.A. Clippers, 9:30 p.m.

TV: ESPN (Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy)

Story line: Now that the Wolves ended Oklahoma City's 12-game winning streak Thursday, the Clippers are steaming toward Christmas with the NBA's longest current streak, at 12 and counting, as they head to Phoenix for a Sunday game before ABC/ESPN's Christmas nightcap.

Magic says: "This Clippers team is for real. I'm just blown away by their commitment to each other and their commitment to winning. This is a serious team."

Did you know? A year ago, announcers Breen and Van Gundy called Christmas Day games in both Dallas and Oakland. This time, they've got it comparatively easy with a Staples Center doubleheader featuring the Lakers in the afternoon and Clippers at night.

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Chicago 17 FINAL
Detroit 34
Philadelphia 33 FINAL
Dallas 10
Seattle 0 1st Qtr 14:04
San Francisco 0
Cleveland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Washington 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Tennessee 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
NY Giants 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Cincinnati 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Oakland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
New Orleans 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Carolina 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Arizona 11/30/14 3:05 PM
Atlanta
New England 11/30/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Denver 11/30/14 7:30 PM
Kansas City
Miami 12/1/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
Edmonton 0 1st Prd 4:05
Nashville 0
ULM 54 FINAL
Robert Morris 71
Santa Clara 57 FINAL
Tennessee 64
Oklahoma 59 FINAL
Butler 46
Austin Peay 79 FINAL
Brown 58
Princeton 56 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 62
Coastal Carolina 67 FINAL
Chattanooga 78
Kansas 76 FINAL
Rhode Island 60
Wisconsin 68 FINAL
Georgetown 65
FIU 53 FINAL
USC Upstate 68
Long Island 54 FINAL
Stony Brook 73
San Diego 71 FINAL
Xavier 82
Illinois 88 FINAL
Indiana State 62
Cal State Fullerton 67 FINAL
Wright State 62
Western Ky 62 FINAL
Saint Josephs 59
Michigan State 77 FINAL
Rider 45
UCLA 55 2nd Half 12:22
North Carolina 38
Marquette 7:30 PM
Georgia Tech
Long Beach State 7:30 PM
Western Mich
Stephen F Austin 8:00 PM
Prairie View
UAB 8:30 PM
Florida
Rice 8:30 PM
Mercer
San Jose St 10:00 PM
Washington
Washington St 10:59 PM
UC Santa Barbara
Baylor 10:59 PM
Memphis
LSU 0 2nd Qtr 8:48
Texas A&M 7
(6) TCU 13 2nd Qtr 10:25
Texas 0
Northern Ill 11/28/14 10:00 AM
Western Mich
Nebraska 11/28/14 11:00 AM
Iowa
Western Ky 11/28/14 11:00 AM
(19) Marshall
UCF 11/28/14 11:00 AM
So Florida
Houston 11/28/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Akron 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Kent State
Ball State 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Bowling Green
Buffalo 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Massachusetts
Toledo 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Arkansas 11/28/14 1:30 PM
(17) Missouri
Navy 11/28/14 2:00 PM
South Alabama
(13) Arizona State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
(12) Arizona
Stanford 11/28/14 2:30 PM
(9) UCLA
(21) Colorado State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
Virginia 11/28/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
East Carolina 11/28/14 7:30 PM
Tulsa
North Texas 11/29/14 11:00 AM
TX-San Antonio
Old Dominion 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Fla Atlantic
(16) Georgia Tech 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(8) Georgia
Kentucky 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(24) Louisville
So Carolina 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(23) Clemson
West Virginia 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
Rice 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Louisiana Tech
Michigan 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(7) Ohio State
Purdue 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Indiana
Illinois 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Northwestern
Cincinnati 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Temple
NC State 11/29/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Syracuse 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Louisiana 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Troy
Utah 11/29/14 12:00 PM
Colorado
Texas State 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Idaho 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Appalachian St
Wyoming 11/29/14 2:00 PM
New Mexico
New Mexico St 11/29/14 2:00 PM
Arkansas State
UAB 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(4) Miss State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Notre Dame 11/29/14 2:30 PM
USC
(10) Michigan State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Penn State
(22) Minnesota 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(14) Wisconsin
(5) Baylor 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Texas Tech
Florida 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
Rutgers 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Maryland
San Jose St 11/29/14 2:30 PM
San Diego St
Tennessee 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Kansas 11/29/14 3:00 PM
(11) Kansas State
Connecticut 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Memphis
BYU 11/29/14 3:30 PM
California
ULM 11/29/14 5:00 PM
Ga Southern
Middle Tennessee 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Hawaii 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Fresno State
Wake Forest 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Duke
Pittsburgh 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Miami-Florida
(15) Auburn 11/29/14 6:45 PM
(2) Alabama
(3) Oregon 11/29/14 7:00 PM
Oregon State
Utah State 11/29/14 9:15 PM
(25) Boise State
Washington 11/29/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Nevada 11/29/14 9:30 PM
UNLV
UCF 12/4/14 6:30 PM
East Carolina
Hamilton 11/30/14 5:00 PM
Calgary
Hartford 43 FINAL
Furman 53
Clemson 77 FINAL
Ohio State 86
Idaho State 53 FINAL
San Diego State 68
East Carolina 58 FINAL
(22) Syracuse 69
Santa Clara 0 Cancelled
Texas-El Paso 0
Florida State 68 FINAL
Washington 80
Wichita State 39 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 56
Wisconsin 44 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 67
Kansas State 0 Cancelled
LSU 0
BYU 73 FINAL
BYU-Hawaii 52
Charlotte 58 FINAL
Montana 67
Illinois 77 FINAL
(9) Kentucky 71
Central Michigan 7:00 PM
Richmond
Oklahoma 7:15 PM
South Florida
Princeton 7:30 PM
Wake Forest
(19) Oregon State 8:00 PM
Butler
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