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NBA Christmas Day 2012 schedule: Bulls host Rockets in battle of former teammates

Joakim Noah and the Bulls welcome back former teammate Omer Asik when they face the Rockets on Christmas Day.

Bruce Bennett

The Chicago Bulls host the Houston Rockets in the fourth of five NBA games on Christmas Day. The game features a matchup of two of the league's best young centers in Joakim Noah and Omer Asik, who played together in Chicago the past two seasons.

The Bulls have been playing well despite the absence of Derrick Rose. They are currently in a battle with the Milwaukee Bucks and Indiana Pacers at the top of the Central Division, thanks in large part to the play of Noah. The center's making a case for his first All-Star game with his strong all-around play.

For the Rockets, Asik is averaging a double-double in his first season in Houston. James Harden has also been dynamite with his new team, as he finds himself among the top five in the league in points per game. The Rockets have been up-and-down this year, but they have been playing well lately.

Chicago fell to Houston in the first meeting between the two teams back on Nov. 21, with Harden's 28 points leading all scorers.

The Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets kick off the action on Christmas Day. That game is followed by the New York Knicks visiting the Los Angeles Lakers, and then a rematch of last year's NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder. The Los Angeles Clippers host the Denver Nuggets in the nightcap.