Two teams - Chicago Bulls and Brooklyn Nets -- expected to be firmly in the playoff picture at the start of the season, but struggling considerably due to various reasons lock horns on NBA Christmas Day.
Neither the Bulls nor the Nets are having seasons to write home about at the moment, with the former unable to find their rhythm, after losing their best player Derrick Rose to yet another long-term injury.
The Nets, 9-18, on the other hand, after bringing in Jason Kidd as coach, and trading for the likes of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, have been pretty poor, and are currently on a three-game losing streak, with Kidd critical of his team's performance following a 103-86 blowout loss to the Indiana Pacers on Monday night.
"Well, I think it is getting very close to just accepting losing," Kidd said. "We are kind of getting comfortable with losing. And we got to make a stand with that because when things get tough, do we just give in, and most of the time right now we do."
The Nets were expected to be one of the contenders for the Easter Conference title, and have the highest payroll in the entire NBA. But results on the basketball court have been hard to come by, and Garnett, one of the league's most experienced players knows things need to change quickly.
"I don't think we have an identity," Garnett said. "I don't know what we are. Like I said, man, there's been a lot of moving parts this year. So all of us can sort of look at it and use it as an excuse, and I'd like to know that I'm not an excuse kind of guy and I'll figure it out, but I don't think we have an identity.
"I could sit here and give you 101 excuses, but at the end of the day, it's about winning. If everything gets unorganized or if things fall short of being less than that, then it has a trickle effect. We still haven't adjusted the chemistry, the connections, the problems that we have, and there's a lot of variables that go into that. It's not just like we're out here trying to lose. That's not what it is. Every guy in here is a prideful guy, and like I said earlier, everyone needs to look in the mirror and see what they can do better."
Brooklyn will hope things will change for the better starting with a win on Christmas day against the Bulls, who are not doing too great either at 10-16, with a 3-11 away record.
"Well, what you have to understand is that I'm not a primary [option] here," Garnett said. "I don't have plays called for me. I'd like to say that at the end of the day, I hang my hat on the defensive end."
Where to Watch Live
The game is scheduled for a 12pm ET start (10.30 pm IST) start with no live coverage in India. The game will be shown live on ESPN with live streaming option available in the US HERE. To catch the game via live streaming for international viewers, including India, click HERE.