Celtics clash with Kobe is top game

The Christmas season is sure to create a lot of down-time and if being a couch potato is on the agenda then catching some NBA is certainly in order.

With 15 games on tap between Christmas and Boxing Day there’s plenty of basketball action to choose from.

The Christmas Day line-up sees five very entertaining games. At 12 noon the New Orleans Hornets and star guard Chris Paul take on a dominant Orlando Magic squad led by powerful big man Dwight Howard.

Look for a fast, high-scoring game that will come down to rebounding and transition defense.

At 2:30pm Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobli and the San Antonio Spurs go to Arizona to battle Steve Nash, Jason Richardson and the high-flying Phoenix Suns.

This game boils down to tempo and shooting. Whoever controls the pace of the game and makes their shots should win.

Arguably the biggest match of the holidays unfolds next at 5pm. In a rematch of last year’s NBA Finals, the Big Three of Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce lead the Boston Celtics into Los Angeles to take on Kobe Bryant and the LA Lakers.

Production from stars on both teams will be big but whoever plays better team defense should win.

At 8pm the Washington Wizards look to do battle with Eastern Conference rival LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Cavs are not the same team that have thwarted Washington’s postseason efforts over the years. The key will be how the Wizards defend role players like Williams and West and their ability to create their own shot.

In the nightcap a strong Portland Trail Blazers side host Dirk Nowitzki and the crafty Dallas Mavericks at 10:30pm.

Dallas is erratic on offense but they’ll need to have sharp shooting to counter a fundamentally-sound Portland defense.

Boxing Day meanwhile sees a host of evening games. The following are some of the more intriguing to watch.

A good match to catch is at 5pm when the Chicago Bulls, starring stand-out rookie Derrick Rose, take on a revamped Miami Heat team led by Dwayne Wade.

Wade is back to his old driving, jump-shooting self though the biggest improvement has been his return of quickness.

This game is a chance to catch Wade play at his best and show a future star in Rose how it’s done in the NBA.

Two mildly intriguing games to note are Devin Harris and the New Jersey Nets taking on the new-look Charlotte Bobcats at 7:30pm and the Oklahoma City Thunder battling Allen Iverson and the Detroit Pistons at 8pm.

With Harris in control of a talented group of young players, the Nets are playing close to playoffs-standard in the East. Meanwhile the Bobcats are markedly better with former Suns Diaw and Bell in the fold. Consider their match a chance to get acquainted with both clubs.

Meanwhile the Pistons are not as good as they once were with AI in the mix. They’re still holding their own but their game is a chance to see how Iverson has changed the dynamics of the team this year.

From there a marquee match-up gets underway at 9pm when the new-look and surging Philadelphia Sixers take on Carmelo Anthony and the Northwest Division-leading Denver Nuggets.

Philly is an up-tempo club that love to run. Denver has always played that way but, with Chancey Billups in the fold, will get to show just how much they have improved in the half-court.

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