Holiday hoops and bowling in D-Town
NBA: If you asked Santa for a great day of hoops matchups this Christmas, you're in luck. The Bulls and the Knicks will renew their storied Christmas Day rivalry, facing off at Madison Square Garden on Saturday at noon. When they met earlier this year, the Bulls were without Carlos Boozer and the Knicks walked away with a 120-112 victory. This time around, the Bulls have Boozer back but are now short Joakim Noah. Amar'e Stoudemire was quiet in the Knicks' win on Nov. 4, putting up a season-low 14 points, but he may have a field day with Boozer and Bulls veteran Kurt Thomas combining to try to cover him.
Last Saturday the struggling Magic completed two trades that brought Gilbert Arenas, Jason Richardson, Hedo Turkoglu and Earl Clark to Orlando. With its new-look lineup Orlando won just its second game in 10 tries, as Arenas notched 14 points and nine assists off the bench and fellow newbie Richardson chipped in 15. The Magic will test the strength of its new squad at 2:30 p.m. on Christmas Day when it hosts the Celtics, winners of 14 straight.
At 5 p.m., the 21-8 Lakers welcome the 22-9 Heat to town. I don't have to tell you how big this one his. Kobe and company try to prove they're still the team to beat while LeBron, D-Wade and Chris Bosh look to become the new Christmas Day darlings. At times this year Miami has looked unstoppable, but they're 0-3 against title contenders. A win over the Lakers would be huge.
Men's college basketball: No. 15 Baylor will play Florida State in the Diamond Head Classic consolation match Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET. At 9:30 p.m. ET, unranked teams Washington State and Butler will meet in the title game. The Cougars upset Baylor Thursday night to get to the championship game, while Butler upended Florida State en route to the finals.
College football: Florida International and Toledo do battle in D-Town in Sunday's Little Caesars Pizza Bowl. It's the first bowl appearance in FIU's history and the first postseason contest for Toledo since 2005. The Rockets have won eight of their past 10 bowl games, but both of those losses came in Detroit in this bowl (formerly known as the Motor City Bowl). A solid Toledo defense will have its hands full with a Golden Panther offense that averaged 38 points a game in winning four of its past five games.
NFL: Whether your real team is trying to make the playoffs or your fantasy team is trying to win the championship, it's a huge week for the NFL. Melissa Jacobs breaks down the weekend's biggest storylines.