NBA Christmas Day openers likely to see finals rematch

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It’s not official yet (and may not be for a couple weeks) but we have a pretty good idea what the new NBA opening day will look like.

Which is exactly what the old Christmas Day schedule looked like.

That slate of games was to and most likely will start where the NBA labor talks were settled — New York City — where the Knicks will host the Boston Celtics. Two marquee franchises looking to challenge the Heat and Bulls for supremacy in the East.

That will be followed by a rematch of the NBA finals, with the Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks hosting the Miami Heat. Dirk Nowitzki vs. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade again. That game would be broadcast on ABC.

Finally, the Chicago Bulls and MVP Derrick Rose will travel to Los Angeles to take on Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers. That game also was to be on ABC.

After that the schedule is anybody’s guess. To cram 66 games into the amount of time left will mean a more condensed schedule than the 50-game one we saw after the 1999 lockout. It’s going to produce some tired legs and sloppy games. And we have no idea which direction this season will go.

But pretty much know how it will start.

Harrison Barnes banks in game-winning, buzzer-beating 3-pointer (video)

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With the shot clock off in the fourth quarter and the game tied, Grizzlies big JaMychal Green put back Tyreke Evans‘ miss with a clutch flush. There’s a very fine line between ensuring the last shot and leaving time for an offensive rebound, and Memphis threated it almost perfectly.

Emphasis on “almost.”

The Grizzlies left the Mavericks 0.5 seconds, which Harrison Barnes used to bank in a 3-pointer – off a pinpoint bounce pass by Dennis Smith Jr. – to give Dallas a 95-94 win.

Heat snap Celtics’ 16-game winning streak

AP Photo/Lynne Sladky
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The Celtics didn’t have another comeback in them.

After overcoming a 13-point fourth-quarter deficit against the Mavericks on Monday to extend its winning streak to 16 games, Boston lost to the Heat tonight, 104-98. The streak ends as the NBA’s longest since the Hawks won 19 straight during the 2014-15 season.

The Celtics trailed Miami by 16 in the fourth quarter then cut the deficit to only one with three minutes left. But Dion Waiters hit back-to-back 3-pointers, helping the Heat pull away.

Goran Dragic (27 points) and Waiters (26 points) led Miami, which needed a reason to feel good after losing three of four to fall to 7-9.

The Celtics, on the other hand, still have a four-game cushion over the rest of the Eastern Conference. This might help them regain focus.

Serge Ibaka gets dunked on by Enes Kanter, hit in face by ball (video)

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Is Enes Kanter mad Serge Ibaka rifted with his family?

(No, not this family. That family.)

LeBron James blows wide-open dunk (video)

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J.R. Smith (slightly out of context): “We don’t start paying attention until after All-Star break.”