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NBA Christmas games historically short on suspense

NBA Christmas

PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 25: Brook Lopez #11 of the Milwaukee Bucks hugs Tobias Harris #12 of the Philadelphia 76ers after the game on December 25, 2019 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBAE via Getty Images

LOS ANGELES – The Lakers led nearly the entire second half. They led by 15 in the third quarter. They led by seven in the middle of the fourth quarter.

Yet, the Clippers surged down the stretch for a 111-106 win yesterday.

“We gave that one away,” Lakers center Anthony Davis said. “We had the game. We were in control the entire game.”

At least the Clippers’ comeback created an intriguing crunch time. It was the only one of the day.

The NBA’s Christmas slate fell mostly flat. The other four games produced little suspense.

The Celtics led the Raptors by double digits the final 20 minutes and won by 16. The 76ers went up 20 on the Bucks in the second quarter and never got threatened again in a 12-point victory. The Warriors ran away late from the Rockets and won by 12. Ditto the Pelicans over the Nuggets.

Only one game yesterday – Clippers over Lakers – was decided by fewer than a dozen points. Of the 37 Christmases with at least four games, this is just the second with only one game within a dozen points.

The other year? 1950. Back then, the ho-hum games were Tri-Cities Blackhawks over Baltimore Bullets by 15, Minneapolis Lakers over Washington Capitols by 14, Rochester Royals over Boston Celtics by 13 and Syracuse Nationals over Fort Wayne Pistons by 12.