BC-AP Sports Preview Digest,1st Ld-Writethru

BC-AP Sports Preview Digest,1st Ld-Writethru
December 25, 2012, 11:59 am
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Updates with Top 25 college basketball game.

Some of the sports stories The Associated Press is covering Tuesday. A full Sports Digest will be sent about 3 p.m. All times EST:

- MIAMI - The Heat and Thunder highlight the NBA's five-game Christmas Day lineup. They meet for the first time since Miami beat Oklahoma City in last year's championship series. Game starts 5:30 p.m.

- LOS ANGELES - With Steve Nash just returned to the lineup, the Lakers put their four-game winning streak on the line against a Knicks team that has the best record in the Eastern Conference. Game starts 3 p.m.

- NEW YORK - The Brooklyn Nets play the Boston Celtics a few weeks after these teams started shoving each other and firing off insults afterward. The Nets have beaten Boston twice this season. Game starts noon.

- CHICAGO - James Harden and the Houston Rockets go for their fourth straight win when they play the Bulls. Chicago is coming off a lopsided loss at Atlanta. Game starts 8 p.m.

- LOS ANGELES - Chris Paul and the Los Angeles Clippers, winners of a franchise-record 13 in a row, host the Denver Nuggets. This is the day's second NBA game at Staples Center. Game starts 10:30 p.m.

- HONOLULU - In college basketball's lone Top 25 game, No. 3 Arizona takes on No. 17 San Diego State in the championship game of the Diamond Head Classic. Game starts 9:30 p.m.

- DENVER - From Peyton Manning's return from neck surgery to Adrian Peterson's rebound from a shredded knee to Chuck Pagano's fight with leukemia, this has been the Year of the Comeback in the NFL.

- PHILADELPHIA - Jason Avant was in a gang and started selling drugs when he was 12. The Eagles receiver is now one of the game's most respected players, his journey a Christmas miracle of sorts.

- MADRID - Rafael Nadal's return to tennis is delayed by a stomach virus. He had been set to play in an exhibition in Abu Dhabi on Thursday after missing seven months because of knee tendinitis.

- It was a wild year in golf - Phil Mickelson lost his bid at the Masters by hitting two shots right-handed - but it was the more obscure moments that keep this game so interesting and entertaining.

- STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - Penn State is not going to a bowl. But in a year marked by heavy NCAA sanctions, the Nittany Lions under new coach Bill O'Brien did more than just make it through the season in 2012.

- DETROIT - A look at Wednesday's one college bowl game: Western Kentucky vs. Central Michigan in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl.