Matchups gone flat? The NBA's Christmas schedule doesn't look nearly as good now as when it was drawn up. Bad luck and bad play have wrecked a number of teams the league picked to showcase. Derrick Rose, Kobe Bryant and Brook Lopez are sitting out. Indiana and Portland, which share the NBA's best record, are idle.
Not until the fourth game will two winning teams meet, when Houston visits San Antonio. The Clippers travel to Golden State in the nightcap. Before that, Chicago (10-16), Brooklyn (9-18) and New York (9-18) all get TV time.
"Those things are done way ahead of time. You just hope for the best matchups. Unfortunately, the Derrick Rose injury puts Chicago in a tough spot. Brooklyn and New York have not played particularly well," said Jeff Van Gundy, who will work the Heat-Lakers game on ABC. "But I still think people will watch. It's Christmas Day, and people still care deeply about the Bulls and about the Knicks, even though they haven't played particularly well of late."
Knicks: Forward Carmelo Anthony (sprained left ankle) will be a game-time decision for New York's game against Oklahoma City on Wednesday. Guard Raymond Felton will miss the game because of a strained right groin.
Nets: Forward Paul Pierce has been fined $15,000 for a flagrant foul committed on Indiana's George Hill.
-- ASSOCIATED PRESS