Christmas Day is a big occasion for sports abroad and pro basketball offers up a number of intriguing match-ups on national TV. Undoubtedly many eyes will be on the Miami Heat taking on the Los Angeles Lakers at 5pm on ESPN this Saturday.
Even though LeBron James tangling with Kobe Bryant is entertaining stuff, the other match-ups on the day are noteworthy. In particular the most interesting contest features the new-look Orlando Magic hosting the Boston Celtics at 2.30pm on ABC.
On one hand Orlando have lost their footing since playing in the 2008 NBA Finals and find themselves third in the Southeast division on a four-game losing streak. On the other hand they still have the sport’s best centre in Dwight Howard and are creating a buzz by being part of the league’s biggest trade so far.
Boston meanwhile have defied their collective age and are riding high in the Eastern Conference. An incredible 13-game win streak has propelled them to the conference’s best record. The big three of Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett have all been playing well but the play-making ability of Rajon Rondo has really been the key.
It’s hard to say who will win on Christmas Day but I like the Celtics to give Orlando nightmares. For the record I’ll take Miami over the Lakers.