Kevin Durant used to be able to sit around with his family and watch movies on Christmas.

It was the one day in the middle of hoops season that he didn't have any practices, shootarounds, pregame scouting sessions or team meals to attend. Even last year as a freshman at Texas, Durant was able to return home for Christmas and sit on his family's couch.

"We rarely got to hang out a lot, because my mom worked, and me and my brother went to school, then played ball, had practice and stuff like that," Durant said. "We just hung out."

The times of lounging around on Christmas are over for the 19-year-old.

The SuperSonics star was the focus of last night's nationally televised matchup between visiting Seattle and the streaking Portland Trail Blazers. He scored 23 points, but it was not enough, as Portland won its 11th straight, 89-79. Brandon Roy and Jarrett Jack scored 17 each to lead the Blazers.

When the NBA announced its three-game Christmas Day schedule, the nightcap in Portland was to be a showcase of the top two picks in last June's draft - No. 1 selection Greg Oden and Durant, the No. 2 pick. That high-profile meeting was dashed when Oden was sidelined for the season with a knee injury, leaving the big stage to Durant.

"It's kind of an honor," Durant said. "Christmas is a big day, it's a very big day. To choose a team like us to play on Christmas Day, I think, is an honor."

In other games:

* At Cleveland, LeBron James scored 25 points, Drew Gooden 18, Daniel Gibson 16 and the Cavaliers beat the Miami Heat, 96-82.

James added 12 assists and outplayed Miami's Dwyane Wade, who scored 22 points but didn't make his first field goal of the second half until only 4:01 remained.

Before the game, Heat guard Jason Williams, who is being paid $8.9 million in this, his final contract year, said he is upset by trade rumors. "We're like some high-paid prostitutes anyway in this league," he said. "They just use and get rid of us whenever they want."

* At Los Angeles, Kobe Bryant scored 26 of his 38 points in the second half, Andrew Bynum had a career-high 28 points to go with 12 rebounds and a season-high four assists, and the Lakers beat the Phoenix Suns, 122-115, for their ninth win in 11 games.

The victory lifted the Lakers (18-10) to a season-high eight games over .500 and within one game of the Pacific Division-leading Suns (19-9).

Steve Nash led the Suns with 24 points and 14 assists.


* An MRI exam on Houston star Tracy McGrady's left knee showed swelling in the tendon, but no damage, according to the Houston Chronicle.

Trainer Keith Jones said McGrady, who was hurt Dec. 19, remains day-to-day.

* New York Knicks guard Stephon Marbury, who missed seven of the team's last 11 games grieving his father's sudden death, was expected to fly to Orlando with the team yesterday and play tonight against the Magic. *