Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE
Thunder-Heat showdown top draw in five-game Christmas schedule.
A rematch of last year's NBA Finals between Oklahoma City and Miami highlights a five-game NBA Christmas Day slate. Tipoff is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. CT, with television coverage on ABC.
Both the Thunder and Heat enter the holiday contest atop their respective divisions and poised for another deep playoff run. Oklahoma City (21-5) have continued to score points by the truckload despite the loss of James Harden, ranking second in the NBA at 105.1 points per game. Thursday's loss at Minnesota broke a 12-game win streak for the Thunder. Miami (18-6) has won four straight and six of its last seven, including a 105-89 victory against Utah Saturday. Tuesday's contest is one of just two meetings between the teams this season.
Elsewhere, the Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets meet for the third time this year, starting at 11 a.m. CT. Brooklyn (14-12) won their previous two games against the Celtics. Boston (13-13) has lost three of its last four, and are 4-8 on the road this season. The New York Knicks pay a visit to the surging Los Angeles Lakers at 2 p.m. CT. New York (20-7) has continued their hot start to the season, and now holds a 5.5-game lead atop the Atlantic Division. The Lakers (13-14) have finally broken out of the doldrums, winning their last four games.
Chicago hosts Houston at 7 p.m. CT. The Bulls (15-11) are third in the league in defense, allowing just 91.0 points per game, and are tied atop the Central Division with Indiana. The Rockets (16-12) lead the NBA in scoring at 105.4 points per contest, but are 29th in points allowed. The Christmas schedule concludes with the Denver Nuggets (15-13) facing the Los Angeles Clippers (21-6) on ESPN at 9:30 CT.