Christmas 2013 is now history and normality is restored. As the Nike slogan states though: ‘Basketball never stops’ and this festive season was no different.
So here is a round up of the events that happened on Christmas Day.
SERBIA ANNOUNCE DJORDJEVIC
Serbia have named Aleksandar “Sasha” Djordevic as their new head coach and he will lead the nation to the FIBA World Cup in Spain, next year.
The 46-year-old takes over from veteran Dusan Ivkovic, who decided to step down at Eurobasket last summer following five years in charge.
To most basketball fans, Djordevic needs no introduction; he started his legendary career at Partizan back in 1982 and went on to lead the Serbian side to Euroleague glory in 1992, thanks to a buzzer-beating triple against Joventut Badalona.
Djordevic also won a silver medal for the Serbian national side in 1996 at the Olympic Games in Atlanta.
Speaking to numerous members of the Serbian press on Wednesday, Djordevic was clear about his goals with the national side.
“[Coaching the national team] is first and foremost a great honour. I know it is a great responsibility and a tough job, but I accept this kind of challenge,” he said.
“We’re not a basketball superpower [right now], but with some hard work no one can say we cannot become one again.
“My first immediate goal is to [create a team able to] beat Spain who has dominated European basketball in recent years.”
KSS, the basketball federation of Serbia organised the press conference and its President Dragn Djilas has full confidence in Djordevic as they build up to not only the World Cup but also Eurobasket in 2015 in Ukraine.
“We are convinced of his energy and charisma. He will not have to burden himself with hopes for a medal at the World Cup in Spain, but we believe that in the Ukraine, we should be able to fight for a higher ranking to ensure participation in the Olympic Games in Rio [in 2016],” commented Djilas.
“I would first like to thank Dusan Ivkovic for all he has done for Serbian basketball, including securing qualification to the next two big events, the 2014 World Cup in Spain and the EuroBasket in Ukraine in 2015.”
DURANT/WESTBROOK HEADLINE NBA CHRISTMAS DAY GAMES
The Oklahoma City Thunder recorded a 123-94 demolition of the New York Knicks on Christmas Day as a schedule of dream showdowns ended up being cancelled.
Kevin Durant had 29 points and Russell Westbrook a triple-double of 14 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists as the Thunder recorded their tenth win in 11 games.
A sprained left ankle for the Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony meant that the battle of the league’s top scorers was cancelled. Unfortunately for the Knicks, they seemed to have no go-to player as they lost all four quarters.
In honesty, with how the Thunder were playing, having Anthony would not of made much of a difference.
LeBron James put on a show in the first half but faded away, leaving Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh to carry the show on as they led the Miami Heat to a 101-95 win over the Los Angeles Lakers in an interesting encounter in Hollywood.
The Heat are now 5-0 against the Lakers at Christmas as Bosh and Wade led Miami with 23 each. James added 19 in the win, but they needed a game-changing 9-0 run late in the fourth to seal the deal against a Kobe Bryant-less Lakers.
The other games saw the Chicago Bulls beat the Brooklyn Nets 95-78; the Houston Rockets were 111-98 victors in San Antonio against the Spurs and the Golden State Warriors got the better of the Los Angeles Clippers 105-103 in a bad-tempered clash to round off the Christmas Day match-ups.
LEBRON: IT’S NOT CHRISTMAS WITHOUT KOBE
After Miami’s 101-95 win over Lakers, LeBron James admitted that the Christmas Day schedule sorely missed Kobe Bryant.
The Lakers guard, who has played in 15 straight festive period games, missed Wednesday’s game with a injury to his left tibia.
“It’s not as special when Kobe’s not out there,” James told the Associated Press. He also shared a post-game hug with Bryant, whose 15 NBA Christmas Day appearances are a league record.
NBA CHRISTMAS TOP 10
Personally, due to the skill level and sudden change of movement required, the top two should be switched around. Thoughts?