NBA gets the spotlight...Recent MVPs all see action...Duke gets a break
UNDATED (AP) — With the other major professional and college sports teams idle on this Christmas Day, it’s a chance for the NBA to enjoy the spotlight with five games, all televised nationally and beyond. The slate starts with Milwaukee at New York, followed by Oklahoma City at Houston, Philadelphia at Boston, the Lakers at the Warriors and then Portland at Utah. It’s Milwaukee’s first Christmas game since 1977, which will end what was by far the league’s longest Dec. 25 drought. Utah hasn’t played on Christmas since 1997.
UNDATED (AP) — The last five NBA MVPs will be on the court today. James Harden and Russell Westbrook will square off when Houston meets Oklahoma City, while Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and LeBron James will be on the floor when Golden State plays host to the Los Angeles Lakers.
UNDATED (AP) — There’s no holiday pay for NBA players, which five teams are likely lamenting. Portland, Utah, Philadelphia, Milwaukee and New York not only have to work on Christmas this year — but they’re also all part of the NBA’s five-game slate on New Year’s Day this season.
UNDATED (AP) — After returning to the top spot in the AP college basketball poll, Duke has a long break before playing again. The Blue Devils, who moved back to number-one after Kansas lost, open the ACC season against Clemson on January 5th.
MOSCOW (AP) — Anton Shipulin, a world biathlon champion at the heart of Russia’s doping scandal, has announced his retirement. Shipulin told a news conference in Moscow that he decided to retire after he was barred from the Winter Olympics earlier this year. He is one of scores of Russian athletes banned from competing for being part of Russia’s state-sponsored doping program at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi.