Special to ESPN.com
NBA FINALS PREVIEW?
From Elias: While you enjoy Saturday's game between the Heat and Lakers in Los Angeles, keep this in mind: In league history there has never been a game played on Christmas between the two teams that went on to play in that season's NBA Finals.
CHRISTMAS AT MSG
From Elias: The Bulls and Knicks will spend Christmas together for the fifth time, but for the first time since 1994 (three months before Michael Jordan's first comeback), when Chicago needed 36 points from Scottie Pippen to beat New York, 107-104, in overtime at United Center. This will be the first Christmas game between the Bulls and Knicks in New York since 1986, when Michael Jordan outscored Patrick Ewing, 30-28, in an 86-85 victory for the Knicks.
The Bulls-Knicks tilt will be the 23rd NBA game played on Christmas at the current Madison Square Garden but only the third in the last 23 years. With Saturday's game, the current Garden will hold the distinction of hosting more NBA Christmas games than any other venue in league history, snapping a tie with the "old" Madison Square Garden on 49th Street and Eighth Avenue. The next-highest total of NBA games played on Christmas at any arena is 14 at Cincinnati Gardens (which opened in 1949 and last hosted an NBA game in 1972).
THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST
From Elias: The Thunder is playing on Christmas for the first time since the franchise moved to Oklahoma City for the 2008-09 season. Before they relocated, the Seattle SuperSonics didn't exactly spread Christmas cheer around the Northwest. They played 11 games on December 25 and lost them all. No other NBA franchise has played as many as ten games on any particular date without winning at least one. The next-worst record for any team on one date is 0-9 by the Trail Blazers on October 29.
WON'T BE HOME THIS CHRISTMAS
From Elias: The Trail Blazers, who have a 14-2 record on Christmas, will be visiting the Warriors for the holiday this year. The Blazers lost their first December 25 game (to the Bulls in 1971) but have won 14 of 15 since then. Portland played 15 of its 16 previous Christmas games at home, including every year from 1976 through 1985. The Trail Blazers' only previous road game on this date was a victory against the Lakers in 2000.