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Lakers Vs. Heat: Basketball A Christmas Day Tradition For Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers will host the Miami Heat on Christmas Day in one of the most anticipated matchups of the NBA season. Sure, it might be Monday, a full five days before the game, with a scheduled game with Milwaukee for the Lakers on Tuesday night, but for all intents and purposes, this is Lakers vs. Heat week. It's hard not to get excited Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, and the two-time defending champions hosting LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and the Heat, even if it interrupts Christmas dinner.

Can it even be considered an interruption if the games is so expected and routine? The Lakers have played so often on Christmas Day that they are becoming more of a holiday staple than Rudolph, Frosty, and Clark Griswold. Saturday will mark the 12th consecutive year that the Lakers have played on Christmas Day. Here is a look back at the previous 11 yule tide contests:

Lakers On Christmas Day
Year Opponent Result
2009 Cleveland L, 102-87
2008 Boston W, 92-83
2007 Phoenix W, 122-115
2006 at Miami
L, 101-85
2005 at Miami
L, 97-92
2004 Miami L, 104-102 (OT)
2003 Houston L, 99-87
2002 Sacramento L, 105-99
2001 Philadelphia W, 88-82
2000 Portland L, 109-104
1999 San Antonio W, 99-93

Outside of a pair of trips to Miami during the post Kobe-Shaq divorce period, the Lakers have been home for the holidays. This year will be the fourth straight year they have played at Staples Center on Christmas Day, and 10th time in 12 years playing in Los Angeles on December 25. The Lakers are just 4-7 in their last 11 Christmas encounters, but they hope that by 2 p.m. PST on Saturday, they will be fully rested after a late-night binge of milk and cookies with Santa Claus.

For more Lakers news and analysis, be sure to read the SB Nation blog Silver Screen and Roll.