Play It Forward: Dec. 23-29 on your sports calendar — No gift receipts for that Lakers-Heat Christmas game, right?

THIS WEEK’S BEST BET:

CHARLIE BROWN TRIES TO PERK UP THE FORLORN LITTLE CHRISTMAS TREENBA:
LAKERS vs. MIAMI, Staples Center, Wednesday at 2 p.m., Channel 7
CLIPPERS at GOLDEN STATE, Wednesday at 7:30 p.m., ESPN, Prime:
Well, Tickle Me Zelmo Beaty: Forbes reports that for as much as the new  PlayStation and Xbox will make gamers’ hearts beat faster this time of year, there’s something out there even more insane — the average secondary market ticket for the Christmas Day Lakers-Heat game has been going for $624, or 152 percent more expensive than the average price for a typical Lakers’ home game. Maybe there’s a way to play it on the home console instead, over and over, until the Lakers figure out a way to win. Most likely bought their tickets expecting another Kobe-LeBron matchup. Go to the dictionary and look up “coal, lump.”
131114_big_logo_jersey_lakers670 “Even with the spiffy holiday uniforms that will be christened on Christmas day, that’s a lot of money to be paying for what is almost a guaranteed loss,” writes Jesse Lawrence in the Forbes piece. Hey, we forgot all about that T-shirt jersey marketing thing they’re also trotting out. The Lakers, 21-18 on Christmas Day games as they inch closer to .500, have matched up five times against the Heat on this day – and lost the previous four.
lebron kobeThe latest was on 2010 at Staples Center. After holding the Lakers to 14 first-quarter points, the Heat ran off with a 96-80 win while James and Bryant were jawing at each other at one point. “Just asked him what he got for Christmas,” said James, who had 27 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists while hitting a season-high five 3-pointers. This year, LeBron might give Kobe the game “Operation.” Watch the tweezers as you’re removing the funny bone.
So why does the Heat have to travel all the way to L.A. to play this game, when they are the defending champs? A USA Today story posted Saturday said incoming commissioner Adam Silver would be trying to remedy that. It makes sense, right?
Clipper_teammates_Blake_Griffin_and_Chris_Paul_in_ugly_Christmas_sweaters_postgame_Christmas_2012Meanwhile, the Clippers are just building their Christmas Day resume. That includes last year’s win over Denver at Staples Center, which included Blake Griffin and Chris Paul showing up for a post-game press conference in hideous looking Christmas sweaters. Maybe the NBA’s other TV partner, TNT, has the right counter-programming idea for Wednesday. It’s running three “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies back to back to back, ending with “At World’s End.” At the day’s end, that may get more viewers.

BEST OF THE REST:

MONDAY

candlestickNFL WEEK 16: ATLANTA at SAN FRANCISCO, 5:30 p.m., ESPN:
A careful farewell to Candlestick. Stick it where the wind don’t blow.

NHL: KINGS vs. DALLAS, Staples Center, 7 p.m., FSW:
As Kings fans continue Jonesing for Martin Jones to grab a record ninth win to begin his career, a fireworks afterward could be appropriate. The Kings are holding their first “Holiday Pyro and Laser Light Show” 10 minutes after this game ends. The team says they’ll post notices on entry doors that night alerting folks to the pyrotechnics and strobe effects. And foam ear plugs will be distributed at Guest Services. So if you’re pregnant, or just enjoy your future ability to see and hear …

NBA: LAKERS at PHOENIX, 6 p.m., TWC SportsNet:
That reminds us: Anyone seen Steve Nash lately?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: BEEF O’BRADY BOWL in St. Petersburgh, Fla: OHIO vs. EAST CAROLINA, 11 a.m., ESPN:
Maybe ESPN can just replay one of the better MAC games it carried during the regular season instead.

TUESDAY

sheraton_hawaii_bowlCOLLEGE FOOTBALL: HAWAII BOWL in Honolulu: OREGON STATE vs. BOISE STATE, 5 p.m., ESPN:
Not even by accident could USC have stumbled into this trip as the Pac-12 rep instead of having to fear and loathe in Vegas? Even by virtue of beating the Beavers at home during the regular season?

WEDNESDAY:

christmas-presentsNBA:
CHICAGO at BROOKLYN, 9 a.m., ESPN
OKLAHOMA CITY at NEW YORK, 11:30 a.m., Channel 7
HOUSTON at SAN ANTONIO, 5 p.m., ESPN:
Naughty, or nice, it’s all the sports on worth watching today.

THURSDAY

NBA: CLIPPERS at PORTLAND, 7:30 p.m., TNT, Prime:
No day-after-Christmas break? Hardly. Time to meet up with the upstarts of the Western Conference.

HORSE RACING:
SANTA ANITA SEASON OPENER, first post noon:
sa_logoNow what? Santa Anita’s traditional winter meeting will run start as scheduled on the day after Christmas, highlighted by the Malibu Stakes and La Brea Stakes, and a wall calendar give away. That’ll come in handy. As this meet runs through April 20, a separate, spring race meeting will get underway starting April 25 and continue through June 29 because of Hollywood Park’s closure. So that’s a six-month calendar run for the Arcadia track, overlapping with all three Triple Crown races.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL:
LITTLE CAESARS BOWL in Detroit: PITTSBURGH vs. BOWLING GREEN, 3 p.m., ESPN
POINSETTIA BOWL in San Diego: UTAH STATE vs. NORTHERN ILLINOIS, 6:30 p.m., ESPN:
There’s a high interest rate with the San Diego game as it’s still sponsored by the San Diego County credit union. One-loss Northern Illinois is ranked No. 23.

FRIDAY

NBA: LAKERS at UTAH, 6 p.m., TWC SportsNet:
The Jazz, at the very bottom of the Western Conference, could end up as a decent trade partner with the Lakers at this point in the game.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL:
MILITARY BOWL in Annapolis, Md.: MARSHALL vs. MARYLAND, 11:30 a.m., ESPN
TEXAS BOWL in Houston: SYRACUSE vs. MINNESOTA, 3 p.m., ESPN
FIGHT HUNGER BOWL, San Francisco: BYU vs. WASHINGTON, 6:30 p.m., ESPN:
2013FightHungerBowlFight the urge to watch any of these. The last one was all set up to be a game where Steve Sarkisian was coaching a Huskies team against his alma mater. Then all Trojan heck broke loose.

SATURDAY

COLLEGE BASKETBALL:
UCLA vs. ALABAMA, Pauley Pavilion, 7 p.m., ESPN2:
The final Bruin tuneup before the Pac-12 schedule starts next week comes against a Crimson Tide team that lost to Duke by 10 points on Nov. 27 in the NIT season tip-off at Madison Square Garden. And you know what Duke did to the Bruins last week in the same building.

NBA: CLIPPERS vs. UTAH, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., Prime:
It’s OK just to set up the DVR, get the final result, then decide if it’s worth watching.

AnHlkNBCQAAjKWN_mediumMMA: UFC 168, MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas, 7 p.m., pay per view:
Middleweight champ Chris Weidman (10-0) was the first to knock out Anderson Silva (33-5) in 38 pro fights, handing him his first loss in 7 ½ years last July. Hence, the rematch. In the co-main event, Ronda Rousey (10-0) defends her bantamweight title again vs. Miesha Tate (13-4), whom she has already submitted with the patented arm-bar move last March during the Strikeforce days.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL:
PINSTRIPE BOWL, Yankee Stadium, N.Y.: NOTRE DAME vs. RUTGERS, 9 a.m., ESPN
BELK BOWL in Charlotte, N.C.:  CINCINNATI vs. NORTH CAROLINA, 12:20 p.m., ESPN
RUSSELL ATHLETIC BOWL in Orlando, Fla.: MIAMI vs. LOUISVILLE, 3:45 p.m., ESPN
BUFFALO WILD WINGS BOWL in Tempe, Ariz.:  MICHIGAN vs. KANSAS STATE, 7:15 p.m., ESPN:
Notre Dame has committed to playing a football game at Fenway Park in 2015. Before the decade is over, the Irish might have played on more MLB diamonds than Jeff Samarjia.

NHL: KINGS at NASHVILLE, 5 p.m., FSW:
The start of a four-game, post-Christmas road trip looks pleasant enough.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL:
VILLANOVA at SYRACUSE, 11 a.m., Channel 2
LOUISVILLE at KENTUCKY, 1 p.m., Channel 2:
This is the 100th aniversary of when Louisville first met Kentucky in basketball. The defending NCAA-champion Cardinals are behind a bit in the series, 30-15.

SUNDAY

NFL WEEK 17:
PHILADELPHIA at DALLAS, 5:30 p.m., Channel 4
KANSAS CITY at SAN DIEGO, 1:25 p.m., Channel 2
BALTIMORE at CINCINNATI, 10 a.m., Channel 2
WASHINGTON at N.Y. GIANTS, 10 a.m., Channel 11
SAN FRANCISCO at ARIZONA, 1:25 p.m., Channel 11:
On the final day of the regular season, what matters most? Both CBS and Fox have double headers. And by the way, this is also the final game at Minneapolis’ Metrodome. Vikings fans rejoice.

NBA: LAKERS vs. PHILADELPHIA, Staples Center, 6:30 p.m., TWC SportsNet:
When the NBA season started, the over-under out of Las Vegas for total wins for the 76ers this year is 16.5, the lowest of any team in the league. Then they knocked off the reigning NBA champion Heat in the season opener behind rookie point guard Michael Carter-Williams. Which Laker will be assigned to watch him?

COLLEGE BASKETBALL:
USC vs. HOWARD, Galen Center, 2 p.m., Pac-12 Network:
It’s the Trojans final game before Pac-12 play starts on Jan. 5, at Pauley Pavilion against UCLA.

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