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The NBA gives us a day of games for Christmas

VINCENT DAVIS | 12/21/2017, midnight
After the Sacramento Kings last night, the Washington Wizards tomorrow night, both home games, and the Indiana Pacers in Indy ...
Tony Brown and the Brooklyn Nets Bill Moore photo

After the Sacramento Kings last night, the Washington Wizards tomorrow night, both home games, and the Indiana Pacers in Indy Saturday, the Brooklyn Nets will be able to spend Christmas Eve and Monday, Christmas Day, at home, unwrapping gifts, enjoying the festive holiday and the merriment, while 10 of the NBA’s East and West Conference teams are scheduled for their Christmas Day showcase of games, interspersed with gift-giving.

First up at noon is the Philadelphia 76ers versus the New York Knicks, two teams with exciting young talent that is burgeoning in the Eastern Conference.

Philly languished in last place the past few years as they built the team up with draft picks. They made a trade last week with the Nets that brought veteran Trevor Booker down 95 South to enhance their team of young players.

Next up is the NBA Finals rematch of the Cleveland Cavaliers versus the Golden State Warriors, the defending champions. The Warriors defeated the Cavs in five games during the playoffs in June.

This matchup has become a huge rivalry. Both teams have represented their conferences, Cleveland the East and the Warriors the West, the last three years in the championships. The Warriors lead the series 2-1. Major differences on Monday will be no Kyrie Irving for Cleveland and no Stephen Curry for Golden State. Irving was traded to the Boston Celtics by request in the offseason, and Curry is sidelined because of an ankle injury.

Game 3 is the Washington Wizards against the Celtics at 5:30 p.m., and what should be the first or second most intriguing game of the day is the Houston Rockets playing in Oklahoma City against the Thunder at 8 p.m.

Chris Paul, one of the league’s best ball handlers, was added to the Rockets to augment James Harden. The combination is working. Houston currently battles the Warriors for first place in the West. OKC added both Carmelo Anthony from the Knicks and Paul George from Indiana to augment the play of their star, Russell Westbrook, but they haven’t been able to prosper so far from the prolific scoring that both players can provide. Fans are waiting for this to turn around.

Closing out the day of giving is the Minnesota Timberwolves versus the Los Angeles Lakers, in the warmth of Hollywood.

The Lakers, who retired both of Kobe Bryant’s numbers on Monday, and Minnesota have great young players on their teams that are expected to lead them into the deeper rounds of post season play in the immediate future.

The Timbs, led by Karl Anthony-Townes, Jimmy Butler, formerly of the Chicago Bulls, and Andrew Wiggins, are matched up against rookies Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Julius Randle and Larry Nance Jr., who shook things up Monday night with his one-handed slam dunk in the face of Kevin Durant.