What better way to spend Christmas day than watching 12-plus hours of NBA games? OK, there are probably several answers to this question.
Still, if the NBA is offering up a day-long buffet of basketball, why not at least make one trip through the line?
And if you limit yourself to one trip, the recommendation is to heap your plate with a helping of Cavaliers-Warriors. It’s their first meeting since their NBA Finals clash last June, won in six games by Golden State.
Here is a schedule of Friday’s games, and perhaps some reasons they’re worth adding to your holiday festivities:
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PELICANS AT HEAT
Time: 9 a.m. TV: ESPN
New Orleans skinny: Anthony Davis is averaging 23.4 points, 10.8 rebounds and 2.7 blocked shots per game. Former King Tyreke Evans is the team’s third-leading scorer at 16.4 points per game, behind former Oak Ridge High School and Cal standout Ryan Anderson (17.3). Evans is also the team’s assist leader at 6.6. The Pels have won two in a row and three of their past four.
Miami skinny: Dwyane Wade averages a team-best 18.5 points per game. Former King Center Hassan Whiteside averages 12.8 points per game and team highs in rebounds (10.9) and blocked shots (an NBA-best 4.0 per game). Chris Bosh is averaging 17.6 points and 7.9 rebounds. The Heat is coming off a 93-92 home loss to Detroit on Tuesday.
BULLS AT THUNDER
Time: 11:30 a.m. TV: Ch. 10
Chicago skinny: Jimmy Butler leads Chicago in scoring (21.5 points per game) and steals (1.8). Pau Gasol averages 15.9 points and team-high 10.8 rebounds per game. The Bulls have lost three in a row following a four-game winning streak.
Oklahoma City skinny: Kevin Durant and point guard Russell Westbrook average a combined 51.9 points per game. They are third- and fifth-best in the league. Westbrook leads the team with 9.3 assists a game. Serge Ibaka averages 2.3 blocked shots per game. The Northwest Division leader has won three in a row, and nine of its past 10.
CAVALIERS AT WARRIORS
Time: 2 p.m. TV: Ch. 10
Cleveland skinny: Not surprisingly, LeBron James leads the team I scoring (26.4 points) assists (6.3) and steals (1.5). Kevin Love is averaging 17.5 points and a team-high 10.6 rebounds. The Central Division leaders have won six in a row.
Golden State skinny: Stephen Curry is the league’s top scorer with 31.2 ponts per game. He leads his team with 2.2 steals. Klay Thompson averages 19.8 points and the Warriors aren’t 27-1 without Draymond Green (14.3 points, 8.8 rebounds and 7.1 assists). The Warriors have won three in a row since their record-setting streak was stopped in Milwaukee on Friday, Dec. 18.
SPURS AT ROCKETS
Time: 5 p.m. TV: ESPN
San Antonio skinny: Kawhi Leonard is averaging a team-high 21.0 points per game and 2.0 steals. LaMarcus Aldridge is settling in nicely with his new team. The former Trail Blazer is averaging 15.7 points and team-high 8.8 rebounds. Don’t forget about Tim Duncan. He’s in his 19th season and contributes 8.9 points, 7.9 rebounds and 1.48 blocked shots per game. The Southwest Division leaders are 25-5 and own the league’s current longest winning streak at seven.
Houston skinny: James Harden is averaging 28.8 points per game, second in the NBA to Curry. He’s among the league’s best in assists (6.8). Dwight Howard averages 12.9 points and 11.5 rebounds. The Rockets had a three-game winning streak stopped Wednesday at Orlando.
CLIPPERS AT LAKERS
Time: 7:30 p.m. TV: ESPN
L.A. Clippers skinny: Though just three games over .500, the team has plenty of star power with Blake Griffin (23.6 points, 8.6 rebounds and 4.9 assists), Chris Paul (17.5 points, 9.0 assists 2.04 steals) and DeAndre Jordan (11.4 points, 13.1 rebounds). The Clippers have lost three in a row following a 6-1 stretch.
L.A. Lakers skinny: Kobe Bryant announced this will be his final NBA season, but he’s not going to leave any shots unshot. He’s averaging a team-high 17.4 points and 3.5 assists. Julius Randle averages 11.5 points and team-high 9.5 rebounds. The Lakers have won just five games this season, and haven’t won on Christmas day since 2012.
Compiled by Jeff Caraska