NBA Christmas schedule 2013: Rockets visit Spurs, Warriors host Clippers in late games

Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

Merry Christmas! Now park yourself on the couch and watch basketball all day, please. Here's our guide to the day's schedule.

The NBA has scheduled five games for its Christmas showcase this year. Regrettably, injuries and other issues have derailed several of the big-market teams involved. Still, there's plenty to look forward to as you feast throughout this festive day.

The main course: Spurs vs. Rockets

8 p.m. ET, ESPN

The last time these two teams met, Houston handed San Antonio its first loss at home. The Spurs have only lost twice in their own building since, and they'll be looking for revenge. These Texas titans are battling for Southwest supremacy and this is a good chance for the Rockets to gain some ground.

San Antonio has been dominant defensively this season, and its offense has looked about as excellent as ever regardless of who has been on the court. Head coach Gregg Popovich rested Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili along with an injured Tony Parker for last week's TNT game against the Golden State Warriors, and the Spurs rode Marco Belinelli, Kawhi Leonard and Patty Mills to victory. They have looked mortal in recent losses to the Oklahoma City Thunder and Los Angeles Clippers, though, and Houston has already shown it can give this team trouble.

How funny would it be if Popovich rested his stars again?

The appetizer: Knicks vs. Thunder

2:30 p.m. ET, ABC

Oh, how the Knickerbockers have fallen. Instead of this being a high-profile East vs. West matchup, it looks like this could be a blowout. New York is flailing, just barely above the Philadelphia 76ers at the bottom of the woeful Atlantic Division. Oklahoma City is just fine, thank you very much, half a game behind the Portland Trail Blazers at the top of the Western Conference.

There was obviously going to be a Christmas Day game at Madison Square Garden, but this year the Knicks might rather be away from the bright lights. The story of their season has been a sad one, and head coach Mike Woodson's seat has only gotten warmer this winter. The Thunder did lose to the Toronto Raptors on Sunday, though, so anything's possible.

The dessert: Warriors vs. Clippers

10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN

The league might have saved the best for last here. At their best, both teams look like they can beat anybody, though the Clippers have had much more success overcoming injuries. As Andre Iguodala gets back into form, Golden State should be able to turn things around.

Back on Halloween, Stephen Curry and Chris Paul had themselves a point guard duel in Los Angeles. Paul had 42 points and 15 assists in the 126-115 Clippers win, while Curry went for 38 and nine. Los Angeles' defense has improved since then, but this should be another shootout.

The rest of the games (ET)

Nets vs. Bulls, noon (ESPN)

Lakers vs. Heat, 5 p.m. (ABC)

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