The NBA’s Holiday Gift: 5 Games, 10 Contenders

By: 12.25.12  •  4 Comments
Carmelo Anthony

For as much work as Santa Claus put in last night, the sports world was undeniably quiet on Christmas Eve. Yeah, we were all busy watching Elf for the fifth time this week, and you were probably finishing off your seventh cheesecake of the holidays. But the NBA? College basketball? They were silent. We’re about a quarter of the way into the NBA season, and nothing is decided yet. Yeah sure, Kevin Durant looks like the MVP at this point, having turned his all-around game up to “Al Pacino in The Godfather Part II” levels, the Clippers haven’t lost in forever, and the Sacramento Kings still look like the most dysfunctional team we’ve seen since Richmond High pre-Sam L.. Almost nothing will be decided on Christmas day, but with five nationally televised games featuring 10 possible playoff teams (yes, even you Houston), we should get a good idea of what to expect the rest of the way (Kobe shooting ’til his arms give out) and what not to (Linsanity). Here’s your Dime guide for the holiday…

Boston at Brooklyn (12 p.m. EST, ESPN). Remember the last time these teams faced off? Rajon Rondo ruined his chance at history because he decided it was a good idea to put his hands on Kris Humphries, while Gerald Wallace and Kevin Garnett nearly threw their hands up for real and Tommy Heinsohn threatened a referee … Brooklyn dominated that game by the way … Gerald Wallace needs a big game defensively against Paul Pierce or else we’ll have to start reassessing whether the whole “shutdown defender” label he’s carried for almost a decade still persists considering the East’s other big-time SF (‘Melo) has repeatedly turned him into fresh squash this year … Our prediction: The Celtics rise up as KG is more ornery than usual having to play on a holiday, and they secure a W in one of those basketball games that feels like a football game …

New York at L.A. Lakers (3 p.m. EST, ABC). The league’s two most flip-flop fanbases get a chance to see who can outdo the other with outrageous statements/excuses … Since New York beat the Lakers earlier this month, the Purple and Gold have won four in a row. Yeah, besides Golden State, the other teams they beat were garbage, Kobe‘s shooting percentages are sliding, Dwight Howard looks lost, and Steve Nash‘s return is still too new to really expect any major changes. But any under .500 team will take four in a row … For the Knicks, Amar’e is still out, Carmelo is still flowing, and Tyson Chandler still looks like the NBA’s most valuable role player … Our prediction: New York’s shooting and spacing wears down the Lakers in the second half, leading to a slightly easier than expected win …

Keep reading to hear about the biggest game of the day …

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