Kobe Bryant has yet to really take over a game this season, but if he intends to do it, he might as well start Christmas Day at the Staples Center, when his Los Angeles Lakers take on LeBron James' Miami Heat in a clash of the titans.
Bryant has yet to get his licks in against the team already heralded as a long-term superpower, but he is surely itching to disprove those who declaim his demise with a big performance on the biggest stage he has seen during the young season.
Of course, James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh have their share of doubters to disprove too, and the Heat ride into town having won 11 of 12 games in December, with one game left in Phoenix on Thursday before their date with LA.
James' crew averages roughly 66 points and 21 rebounds per game, so Bryant had better be ready to shoot the lights out if he wants to overcome their barrage.
Of course, basketball is a team game, and this contest is not really between Bryant and the Big Three. It is between the Lakers and Heat, two of the NBA's best all-around teams. Read on for a breakdown of all the key matchups in this clash of the titans.