NBA Finals Rematch Highlights Christmas Day Games

By: Willie Bee | Monday, December 24, 2012

New York Knicks at Los Angeles Lakers
NBA Betting Preview
12/25/2012 at 3:00 p.m. (ET)
Opening Lines: LA -3½, O/U 214½
(click for latest NBA odds)
Television: ABC

New York Knicks: The Knickerbockers (20-7 straight-up, 15-12 against the spread) reach Christmas with the second-best mark in the Eastern Conference and a 5½-game lead in the Atlantic Division. Tuesday's contest at Staples Center begins a three-game road trip out west after completing a six-game homestand in which New York went 4-2 SU but 2-4 ATS. The homestand started with a 116-107 win over the Lakers as 5½-point favorites with Carmelo Anthony scoring 30 points and the Knicks converting 12-of-25 from 3-point range.

Los Angeles Lakers: After spending five of the last six games on the road, the Lakers (13-14 SU, 11-16 ATS) are back home riding a four-game winning streak. The streak comes with LA getting healthier as both Pau Gasol (knees) and Steve Nash (leg) have returned following lengthy absences. Nash's first game back was last Saturday, and the veteran point guard played 41 minutes (12 points, nine assists) in the team's 118-115 win at Golden State as 2-point favorites. Los Angeles is 8-6 at home this season but has failed to cover the last three games at Staples Center. The Lakers are 5-4 SU vs. Eastern Conference teams (2-7 ATS).

Oklahoma City Thunder at Miami Heat
NBA Betting Preview
12/25/2012 at 5:30 p.m. (ET)
Opening Lines: Miami -3½, O/U 203
(click for latest NBA odds)
Television: ABC

Oklahoma City Thunder: A rematch of the 2012 NBA Finals highlights the league's Christmas Day slate. The Thunder (21-5 SU, 16-9-1 ATS) will wrap up a three-game road trip with this battle in Miami, and they are coming off a 99-93 loss at Minnesota last Thursday that snapped a season-high 12-game winning streak. Oklahoma City was playing without guard Kevin Martin (quad) in the setback, but he is listed as probable for Tuesday's clash against the Heat (click to check updated NBA injury report). Kevin Durant is third in the NBA, averaging 27.9 points per game, while Serge Ibaka is tied for the lead in blocks (3.08 per game).

Miami Heat: Tuesday's matchup will mark the 12th time in 14 games the Heat (18-6 SU, 13-11 ATS) have enjoyed home-court advantage before they head out on the road for 14 of their next 19 contests. Miami will be looking to extend a four-game winning and covering streak after taking out Utah 105-89 on Saturday as 7½-point chalk. The Heat were without Chris Bosh for that tilt due to an illness, but the center is expected to play against the Thunder. Miami is fourth in the NBA in scoring (103.5 ppg), paced by LeBron James' 25.4 ppg.

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