A look at the NBA's Christmas slate

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Minnesota Timberwolves guard Jimmy Butler (23) drives against Phoenix Suns forward Dragan Bender in the second quarter during an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Dec. 23, 2017, in Phoenix.

    Minnesota Timberwolves guard Jimmy Butler (23) drives against Phoenix Suns forward Dragan Bender in the second quarter during an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Dec. 23, 2017, in Phoenix.

 
 
Updated 12/24/2017 2:26 PM

Here's a guide to the NBA's slate of Christmas Day games:

Philadelphia at New York, 11 a.m. (ESPN)

 

Joel Embiid vs. Kristaps Porzingis could be the NBA's premier matchup of the 2020s, if those players can stay healthy. The 7-foot Embiid missed three games with a sore back but returned Saturday in Toronto. The 7-foot-3 Porzingis sat out a couple of games with a sore knee and played in the last two. Both these teams have a chance to break a playoff drought.

Cleveland at Golden State, 2 p.m. (ABC)

A fourth straight Finals meeting seemed inevitable before the season, but good starts by Houston, Boston and Toronto have added some uncertainty. Steph Curry won't play in this one because of an ankle injury. Ex-Bulls guard Derrick Rose won't be ready to return for the Cavs from his own ankle issue.

Washington at Boston, 4:30 p.m. (ABC)

Here's a game for point-guard fans, the Wizards' John Wall squaring off against the Celtics' Kyrie Irving. After winning 16 in a row early this season, Boston is just 5-5 in its past 10 games, even with Saturday's blowout win over the Bulls.

Houston at Oklahoma City, 7 p.m. (ABC)

Rockets point guard Chris Paul is questionable for this game with a left abductor strain. Houston in 15-1 when Paul plays, 10-5 when he doesn't. On the other hand, a holiday game might be a good time for James Harden (32.5 ppg) to promote his MVP candidacy. The Thunder is starting to figure things out, winning six of its last seven.

Minnesota at L.A. Lakers, 9:30 p.m. (TNT)

Jimmy Butler is feeling right at home with coach Tom Thibodeau, especially when he played at least 40 minutes in six straight games earlier this month. Butler is averaging 26.3 points in December, and the Timberwolves are 12-5 when he scores at least 20 points this season. The Lakers are best known for their star rookie, Kyle Kuzma, and the publicity-seeking father of another rookie.

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