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NBA on Christmas Day 2012: By the numbers

POSTED: Dec 20, 2012 12:04 PM ET


A 2012 Finals rematch between the Heat and Thunder highlights the NBA on Christmas Day.

Christmas Day Games Preview

Official Release

NEW YORK -- The NBA on Christmas Day has become a tradition around the world.

Here is a historical look at the NBA teams and players that have competed on Dec. 25 throughout the decades:

New York Knicks to Make Record 48th Appearance on Christmas

48 - The Knicks will make their leading 48th Christmas Day appearance, after helping tip off the tradition of the NBA on Christmas in 1947. The Lakers will play for the 39th time and the Celtics the 29th.

Kobe Bryant to Extend Christmas Day Record to 15 Games

15 - The Lakers' Kobe Bryant will make his 15th appearance on Dec. 25, extending his record for most games played on Christmas Day. Dolph Schayes, Earl Monroe and NBA TV/TNT analyst Shaquille O'Neal each played in 13 Christmas Day classics.

Breen, Van Gundy, and Cox to Call Two Games in L.A.

2 - For the first time, ESPN on ABC play-by-play announcer Mike Breen, analyst Jeff Van Gundy and courtside reporter Heather Cox will call two games from the STAPLES Center on Christmas.

"BIG Color" Holiday Spot Surges on NBA YouTube Channel

7.4 Million - The NBA's BIG Color spot featuring NBA stars dribbling in harmony to a classic holiday tune has been viewed more than 7.4 million times by fans on the NBA YouTube Channel since debuting on Nov. 20. The video is already the third most viewed all-time on the channel.

A Christmas Day Tradition

• 1947 - First NBA games played (three games).
• 217 - All-time number of games played.
• 5 - Most nationally televised games on Christmas Day (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012).

NBA Around the Globe on Christmas

• 215 - Games will air in 215 countries and territories in 47 languages.
• 23 - Number of international players on Christmas Day rosters, representing 16 countries and territories

NBA Cares Season of Giving

As part of the NBA Cares Season of Giving, the league, teams and players provided holiday cheer to thousands of children and families including:
• 250,000 children and families impacted, 181,800 meals served and 65,850 toys donated.

NBA Teams on Christmas Day
• 22 -- Most wins by a team: New York Knicks (Lakers: 20).

NBA Players on Christmas Day

• 4 -- MVPs playing (LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and Kevin Garnett).
• 29 - Number of All-Stars playing (Boston - 3; Brooklyn - 3; New York - 4; L.A. Lakers - 5; Oklahoma City - 2; Miami - 5; Chicago - 4; Denver - 1; L.A. Clippers - 2)
• 377 -- Most Points By A Player: Oscar Robertson
• 349 -- Most Points By An Active Player: Kobe Bryant (2nd all-time)
Other active scoring leaders: Dwyane Wade (183), LeBron James (167), Chauncey Billups (111)
• 60 points -- All-time highest single-game scoring performance: Bernard King (New York Knicks vs. New Jersey Nets, 1984).

Ghosts of Christmas Past

The following NBA Legends have delivered some memorable Christmas Day performances:

• Tiny: 40 years ago, Nate "Tiny"Archibald was clearly in a festive mood when he gift-wrapped 18 assists (a Christmas Day record that still stands) when his Kings locked horns with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and the Bucks. That season (1972-73), Archibald became the first NBA player to lead the league in both scoring (34 ppg) and assist averages (11.4 apg).
• Human Highlight Reel: 25 years ago, Dominique Wilkins was second to none. In the Hawk's 106-100 victory over the 76ers, Wilkins finished with 45 points, nine rebounds and three assists.
• MJ: 20 years ago, Michael Jordan dropped 42 points against Patrick Ewing and the Knicks, capping an 89-77 Bulls victory in 1992. That season Jordan went on to win his second NBA title.
• Bernard: In 1984, Bernard King set the Knicks single-game and Christmas Day scoring mark with 60 against his former team, the New Jersey Nets, who won the game, 120-114.
• Scottie: In 1994, the Knicks' Hubert Davis hit a remarkable three with less than a second remaining to force overtime, but Scottie Pippen sealed the game with two blocks on three-point attempts in the final seconds.
• Rasheed: The Trail Blazers beat the Lakers 109-104 in 2000 behind a 33-point performance from Rasheed Wallace.
• Shaq: In 2004, Shaq played his first game in Los Angeles after being traded to Miami, but Dwyane Wade stole the show with a strong second half performance as the Heat won by two in overtime - 104-102.