Play It Forward Dec. 22-28 on your sports calendar: It wouldn’t be Christmas without Kobe, Clippers … and a USC bowl game days later

THIS WEEK’S BEST BET:

The Clippers' Blake Griffin (center) and the Warriors' Andrew Bogut (right) are the focus of a push-and-shove match during their Christmas Day game in 2013. (Kelley L Cox/USA Today)

The Clippers’ Blake Griffin (center) and the Warriors’ Andrew Bogut (right) are the focus of a push-and-shove match during their Christmas Day game in 2013. (Kelley L Cox/USA Today)

NBA CHRISTMAS DAY:
LAKERS at CHICAGO
Details/TV: Thursday at 5 p.m., TNT
CLIPPERS vs. GOLDEN STATE
Details/TV: Staples Center, Thursday at 7:30 p.m., TNT:
Our grand plan for Christmas Day afternoon was to head over to the multiplex and stake out a prime seat for a screening of “Unbroken,” and then sneak over to see “The Interview” afterward. Apparently something Dennis Rodman did messed this all up. So now our doubleheader due-diligence revolves around parking in front of our new 70-inch flat-screen (that’s a hint to Santa) and bearing witness this Lakers-Clippers back-to-back TNT display, curious to see who comes out less unbroken by the time there are post-game interviews. The Lakers’ regular spot in this holiday lineup seems to be less about Kobe Bryant vs. Derrick Rose (because there’s no guaranteeing the later will show), but more about Pau Gasol’s first game against his old team.
IMG_2184The special NBA jerseys issued for this day may help Gasol remember who he left behind – they have the players’ first name on the back and a simple team logo above the number on the front. That kind of dress code probably won’t be helpful in the Clippers-Warriors game when the refs start ejecting players. In what promises to be the most contentious contest of the five jammed into this day, we just have to go back a year ago when, in Oakland, Blake Griffin was banished after he got into a tiff with Andrew Bogut, the Warriors’ center battling a knee injury and missing games. Remember: During the Clippers’ seven-game first-round playoff series win over the Warriors last year, there was plenty more battles taking place. And considering these Warriors have jumped out to the best record in the league to date, this could be where the Clippers test to see if their spirit is unbroken.|
Also on this day:
Washington at New York, 9 a.m., ESPN
Oklahoma City at San Antonio, 10:30 a.m., Channel 7
Cleveland at Miami, 2 p.m., Channel 7
The Clippers’ week also includes stops at San Antonio (Monday, 5:30 p.m.) and at Atlanta (Tuesday, 4:30 p.m.) before coming home; The Lakers have home games against Golden State (Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.) and Phoenix (Sunday, 6:30 p.m.) as well as one at Dallas (Friday, 5:30 p.m.)

THE BEST OF THE REST:

The NFL says Week 17 is the last one of the regular season, and the Chargers setill need some help in defeating Kansas City (Sunday, 10 a.m., Channel 2)… USC’s Holiday Bowl appearance against Nebraska should draw a crowd on Saturday in San Diego (5 p.m., ESPN) … The Kings have another version of “Shark Week” with San Jose back at home (Saturday, 7 p.m., NBCSN) …  UCLA basketball finishes the non-conference schedule with a game at Alabama (Sunday, 3:30 p.m., ESPNU), while Cal State Northridge goes to Louisville (Tuesday, 4 p.m., ESPNU) and Long Beach State is at St. John’s (Monday, 4:30 p.m., CBS SportsNet) and at Syracuse (Sunday, 11 a.m., ESPNU) …. The link to the rest of it is here.

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