NBA

Chelsea stars looking forward to festive NBA

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Chelsea's players with be afforded the opportunity to spend Christmas at home this year given that their Boxing Day encounter is at Stamford Bridge, and some of the club's most prominent stars are planning a day in front of the TV.

BT Sport are screening no fewer than five games from the NBA in only 10 hours between December 25 and 26 - and they can count on some Blues to be eager viewers when the likes of LeBron James and Luol Deng take to the court.

Fernando Torres, Eden Hazard, Jon Obi Mikel and Petr Cech are all enormous fans of the NBA and the Chelsea goalkeeper says he feels an affinity with basketball players given their busy schedule over the festive period.

"Playing over Christmas, you do what the people enjoy and football is played for the people and the tradition in England is to enjoy the Christmas period with football, just like basketball in the US," Cech explained.

"Everyone goes as a family to the stadium and that is the way it is, we professionals are on the other side, but the overall excitement and the atmosphere of everybody coming to the game in a positive mood, and happy, you enjoy being part of it.”

The most eye-catching game of the Christmas programme is NBA champions Miami Heat taking on the LA Lakers at the Staples Center at 22:00 GMT. Mikel will be watching this one as a fan of the Lakers, who will be without star man Kobe Bryant.

"I think the best player now is LeBron James (of the Miami Heat), but I quite like Kobe Bryant as well. Obviously the Lakers are not doing well but Miami Heat are on for," said the Chelsea midfielder. "I watch a few games and I’m a Lakers fan.”

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