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Bulls-Lakers, Bears-Packers Set For Christmas Day

As the calendar creeps towards August and Chicago's perennially too short summer reaches the climax of its heat, it appears as if the sports world may be about to normalize, at least a bit. Since those glorious NBA Finals ended, sports haven't been on summer vacation, it only seems that way. With the Cubs among the worst teams in the National League and the White Sox running in place all season long, Chicago sports fans haven't had anything to get excited about in months.

That changed yesterday, even if the date is question is still (thankfully) almost half a year away.

The NBA released its full season schedule on Tuesday, highlighted locally by Bulls at Mavs to open up the NBA season -- assuming it starts on time. The other highlight? A juicy Christmas day game pitting the Bulls against the Lakers.

The Christmas sports fun doesn't stop there, though. The Bulls-Lakers game is scheduled to tip at 4 p.m. locally, and will be followed by a rematch of last year's NFC Championship game at 7:20. That's right: Bulls-Lakers, then Bears-Packers.

2011 has been wild for Chicago sports -- save for these barren summer months -- and the year is going to end in the most fitting of ways.