The line-up of NBA games today is simply unbelievable. Superstars galore are in action, looking to get their team a W in front of millions of viewers. Let me break down each match-up for you and give an unbiased prediction for each game.
Chicago Bulls vs. New York Knicks 12 P.M.
This game has a lot of appeal. The Knicks are averaging 108 points per game, which leads the NBA. Amar'e is dominating this year, putting up 26 and 9 per game. Key players such as Landry Fields, Danilo Gallinari, Raymond Felton, and Wilson Chandler make these here Knickerbockers an extremely fun team to watch. Toney Douglas also provides a lot of spark off the bench. Meanwhile, the Bulls are 3rd in the NBA in rebounding. However, Joakim Noah, who averages nearly 12 per game, is out for at least two months with a torn ligament in his thumb. Not having to deal with Noah will enable the Knicks to attack the paint and outscore the Bulls. While I expect Derrick Rose to score over 30, I feel the Knicks' interior presence and ability to drain threes will be too much for Chicago to handle.
Prediction: Knicks 109, Bulls 98
Boston Celtics vs. Orlando Magic 2:30 P.M.
The Magic completely revamped their roster, hauling Mickael Pietrus, Marcin Gortat, and Rashard Lewis away. While the acquisitions of Jason Richardson and fan-favorite Hedo Turkoglu are pretty good ones, the Magic seriously lack size. Stan Van usually prides his team on the defensive team, yet this team appears to be more offensive-minded. Dwight Howard has averaged over 24 points and 18 rebounds in his last five games. However, if Dwight gets in early foul trouble, the only formidable big man the Magic have is Brandon Bass, and he's quite undersized. The C's need to attack Howard early and often. The depth of the Celtics will be instrumental in this game. From The Big Shamroq (fresh off of conducting the Boston Pops) to Big Baby, the Celtics are clearly the deeper team. Expect Baby to score at least 16 off the bench. KG will exploit Bass inside and stretch the defense with his lethal mid-range jumper. The Celts get win number 15 in a row this afternoon.
Prediction: Celtics 97, Magic 88
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Miami Heat 5 P.M.
This game is so incredibly intriguing. Kobe, Gasol, and Odom to LeBron, D Wade, and Bosh. Wow! What a gift on Christmas Day. What a plethora of superstars. Odom says that this will be "a great game to watch." I believe him. I honestly expect that this game will go into overtime. These teams are so evenly-matched it's crazy. I think the ultimate factor will be the Gasol vs. Bosh match-up. You know what you're going to get out of Kobe, LeBron, and D Wade. Yet, the winner of the power forward match-up will ultimately prevail. I expect Bosh to go off. He's averaging 21 ppg and 8 rpg in his last five games. The Heat have won 13/14, their only loss coming to Dallas by a mere two points this past Monday. The Lakers, meanwhile, lost 98-79 to the Bucks on Tuesday and Kobe says they "have a lot to work on." I expect this one to be tight throughout, but I feel that LeBron and Bosh will score over 25 each, leading the Heat to victory.
Prediction: Heat 108, Lakers 106 OT
Denver Nuggets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder 8 P.M.
Kevin Durant will score over 35 points tonight. That's a guarantee. Carmelo Anthony is missing the game due to a family matter, which will enable Durant to exert less energy on the defensive end and focus on attacking the hoop. Gary Forbes is a liability for Denver, and i expect Durant to explode. Russell Westbrook is putting up monster numbers this year. He's finally coming into his own and is truly an elite scoring point guard in the league. He's averaging 22 ppg and 8 apg. Expect the Thunder to beat the Nuggets in a shootout. J.R. Smith will score big for Denver, but it won't be enough.
Prediction: Thunder 114, Nuggets 101
Golden State Warriors vs. Portland Trailblazers 10:30 P.M.
Commissioner David Stern certainly picked some exciting games. This one is going under the radar, yet it will undoubtedly be another high-scoring, down-to-the-wire, exciting affair. Steph Curry is healthy and ready to roll for the Warriors. Dorell Wright is a threat from beyond the arc for Golden State. Though Andre Miller and LaMarcus Aldridge are consistent players, their play won't be enough. Brandon Roy is having his worst season in quite some time, still nursing an injured knee. I expect Golden State's youth to be a key factor here. David Lee, Andris Biedrins, and and Monta Ellis will lead the Warriors past Portland. Expect Ellis to score over 25.
Prediction: Warriors 112, Blazers 97
I hope you enjoy watching a terrific day of basketball. After you open your Christmas gifts, plop down in front of the TV, eat some popcorn, drink some hot chocolate, and watch some amazing basketball.
Happy Holidays everyone.