NBA Christmas games schedule 2012: Nuggets-Clippers top off five-game holiday slate

Doug Pensinger

Some of the league's best players and teams will be on display on Christmas Day in the NBA.

Christmas Day is the biggest day of the regular season in the NBA in terms of exposure and marquee matchups. Opening Night doesn't have teams playing with any sort of rhythm, but Christmas Day gives fans a better glimpse of what some of their teams will be like in the end.

Only 10 teams play on Christmas Day and one of them will be the Denver Nuggets. The Nuggets will travel to Los Angeles to face the red-hot Clippers in the nightcap on ESPN at 8:30 p.m. MT.

The rest of the day will feature the Boston Celtics opening the day's slate in Brooklyn against the Nets on ESPN at 10 a.m. MT. Both teams are struggling at the moment and could use a big win over another Eastern Conference playoff contender.

The Los Angeles Lakers will host the New York Knicks at 1 p.m. MT on ABC as the two top markets go head-to-head. No one expected the Knicks to come into the game with a better record than the star-studded Lakers, but that's exactly the case. The Lakers should unwrap their own Christmas gift that day as Steve Nash is supposed to make his return to the lineup.

At 3:30 p.m. MT on ABC, there will be a rematch of last season's NBA Finals as the Oklahoma City Thunder visit the Miami Heat. The Thunder currently have the best record in the league at 21-5 while the Heat have the fourth-best at 17-6 heading into Saturday's games.

The Houston Rockets will take on the Chicago Bulls at 6 p.m. ET on ESPN as Omer Asik returns to face the team he started his career with. Asik is averaging career highs in points (10.4), rebounds (11.4) and blocks (1.1) as he's established himself as one of the better low-post defenders in the league.

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