While Saturday's matchup between the 21-8 Los Angeles Lakers and the 22-9 Miami Heat is the NBA highlight of Christmas Day, there seems to be a lot of negative energy about the game. Kobe Bryant was so angry during Tuesday's shocking loss to Milwaukee that he didn't stick around to see the end, getting ejected with two minutes remaining. Also, recent comments by LeBron James of the Heat and Lakers' coach Phil Jackson suggest there isn't a lot of enthusiasm about playing on Christmas.
This is the 12th straight Christmas game for the Lakers, 11 of which will have been coached by Jackson, so one would think playing on December 25 would be routine. However, Jackson is no fan of playing on Christmas, telling Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles, "It's like Christian holidays don't mean anything to them anymore. We just go out and play and entertain the TV. It's really weird."
James has a similar feeling about playing on the holiest of days, saying of the Christmas game, "We always say it's good for the fans. But the fans get an opportunity to see us all year. We've got TV games all year. We've got a TV game on Thursday (in Phoenix). I don't care for it too much." This is LeBron's second straight Christmas at Staples Center, having defeated the Lakers last year while with the Cavaliers.
Both Jackson and James have good points. It does seem weird that there are five games on Christmas Day, but it's not all bad. The Lakers had three days off before the game, and will have two more days off before their next game. Maybe Jackson and James can put aside their feelings about Saturday and put on a good show. Kobe will be wearing his green Grinch shoes on Christmas. Perhaps he can bring a few extra pairs of these shoes to give to Jackson and James:
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