The NBA Christmas Day Preview

Just like watching the NFL with a stuffing hangover on Thanksgiving Day has become a rite of passage, top-flight NBA matchups have become a kick-ass Christmas Day tradition. Here۪s the lowdown on this year۪s matchups from our own NBA Insider and ESPN Analyst Larry Coon.

The Celtics are the better team right now, but Melo, Kristaps Porzingis and newcomers Joakim Noah and Derrick Rose will be much improved and intriguing to watch.

Keep An Eye On: Celtic Jaylen Brown, third overall pick in the 2016 draft.

The Spurs should continue humming even after the retirement of Tim Duncan, while the Bulls may struggle to get Dwyane Wade, Rajon Rondo and Jimmy Butler to mesh.

Keep An Eye On: Pau Gasol, a Bull last year and a Spur this year running coach Popovich۪s system may bring new life to the 36-year-old Spaniard.

The Purple & Gold are still LA۪s darlings, but not yet seasoned enough to be much of a match against their cross-hallway rivals.

Keep An Eye On: Once the Lakers youth movement of Brandon Ingram, D۪Angelo Russell, Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson starts to click, they should again return to prominence in the Post-Kobe era.

The marquee matchup of the Christmas Day slate of games and rematch of the 2016 Finals. Both teams will have a lot to prove here.

Keep An Eye On: Physical play. Neither team is going to back down in what may be a Finals preview.

Timberwolves-Thunder Two clubs heading in opposite directions, as the Thunder were stunned by the defection of Kevin Durant, while the T-Wolves are building around previous number-one picks Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins, with new coach Tom Thibodeau will make sure they bring it on both ends of the court.

Keep An Eye On: Russell Westbrook the team۪s all his now, and he won۪t be shy about proving it.

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