Saturday , Dec , 22 , 2007 Oly Sandor

Previewing NBA’s Christmas Day Games: Cavaliers versus Heat, Lakers versus Suns, & SuperSonics versus Trail Blazers

I get in trouble on Christmas. Instead of rejoicing in family festivities I sit my ass in front of the big screen with plates of warm food and buckets of cold beer.

One thing is on my mind: the NBA. Friends are an afterthought. Hey, if we’re boys you won’t be offended by me watching basketball on Jesus’ birthday, right? Family is secondary. I love my blood clan, but the game is on …

Previewing NBA's Christmas Day Games: Cavaliers versus Heat, Lakers versus Suns, & SuperSonics versus Trail Blazers

I get in trouble on Christmas. Instead of rejoicing in family festivities I sit my ass in front of the big screen with plates of warm food and buckets of cold beer.

One thing is on my mind: the NBA. Friends are an afterthought. Hey, if we’re boys you won’t be offended by me watching basketball on Jesus’ birthday, right? Family is secondary. I love my blood clan, but the game is on.

I enforce a no talking policy during action. All forms of communication-holiday greetings, handshakes, and hugs- are exchanged during sixty second commercial breaks. Failure to follow the no-talking policy results in a one quarter ban from the media room. It’s all about tough love- even on Christmas.

Friends and family have their uses. Buddies re-stock my plate from the buffet, while family, especially my five young nephews, fetch me cold beers from the fridge.

Who says the holidays aren’t about giving? Jokes aside, there are three stellar games on December 25th. Here’s your preview …

Game #1: Cleveland versus Miami

I suspect both teams would like a mulligan for the first two months of the season. Fortunately, this isn’t golf and there are no re-dos.

The Cavaliers have struggled with injuries, holdouts, and a Finals hangover that could make Amy Winehouse go and stay in rehab. The Heat has looked dysfunctional, calling each other out publicly and losing games.

I think Cleveland and Miami are capable of much more. A win on national television would help both teams build momentum for the second half of the season.  

Of course, I’ll also state the obvious: this contest features two of the NBA’s biggest individual stars in LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. Both are worth watching.

Game #2: Phoenix versus Los Angeles

I like the Suns-Lakers match-up. These two squads have history-even the coaching staffs have beef after a confidential scouting report surfaced publicly and Mike D’Antoni and Phil Jackson recently got in an end-of-game argument.

Right now, Phoenix and L.A. are heading in different directions. The Suns, despite their 19-8 record, have struggled. Steve Nash recently questioned his team’s focus and seven seconds to shoot has started games off cold.

The Lakers have been a surprise. Andrew Bynum is progressing, the bench is contributing, and, best of all, Kobe Bryant is happily facilitating for teammates.

Game #3: Seattle versus Portland

This could have been awkward. The NBA hedged their prime-time Christmas extravaganza on a match-up between two super rookies: the Sonics’ Kevin Durant and the Trail Blazers’ Greg Oden.

Of course, Oden went down in September with a season-ending micro-fracture tear and the suits at league office didn’t have time to modify the schedule. Thankfully, they didn’t.

Regardless, Kevin Durant is definitely doing his thing …

 

But Rip City is the surprise of the NBA. Notice I said Rip City, the nickname for the old school Blazers. Like those great squads of the nineties, Portland’s current crew is athletic, talented, and winning games in bunches.

Oden would’ve been a treat, especially since he’s an engaging personality. But nobody should feel cheated when watching up-and-comers like Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge.

What game will you watch on Christmas? Let us know in the comment box below or hit us up in .

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