PRIOR TO yesterday's five Christmas games, the NBA sent out a press release extolling all the All-Stars, former MVPs and top scorers on the rosters of the 10 teams in action.
Thing is, the memo should have been updated a wee bit. Of the 36 All-Stars - a list that included nowhere-near-All-Stars Jermaine O'Neal, Rashard Lewis and Andrei Kirilenko - nine didn't play, including O'Neal, Kirilenko, Brook Lopez, Carmelo Anthony, Luol Deng and Metta World Peace.
And six MVPs were to hit the floor, but only three - LeBron James, Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett - got their sneakers squeaking. Missing were Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and Derrick Rose.
Out with a fracture of the lateral tibial plateau in his left knee suffered just six games into his return from an Achilles' tear, Bryant was unable to extend his Christmas-record 15 appearances and 383 points.
Some Christmas highlights:
* 1963: The Lakers' Jerry West scored 47 points - the fourth-highest Christmas Day output - against the Knicks, leading L.A. to a 134-126 win at Madison Square Garden.
* 1984: The Knicks' Bernard King set the club scoring record, knocking down 60 points in a 120-114 loss to the New Jersey Nets.
* 1993: The Suns' Charles Barkley filled the stat sheet with 38 points, 18 rebounds and four assists as Phoenix knocked off the Houston Rockets, 111-91.
* 2003: The Magic's Tracy McGrady dropped 41 points and 11 assists on the Cleveland Cavaliers, who got 34 points from a youngster by the name of LeBron James, making his NBA Christmas debut. Orlando won, 113-101.