Smack in the middle of the NBA's schedule of Christmas Day games is a contest between two of the most sacred franchises in the sport: the Chicago Bulls and the San Antonio Spurs. San Antonio has chugged along as they steadily do year after year, while Chicago has gone up and down with the tide. The game is scheduled for 5:00 PM ET.

Jimmy Butler's Bulls

After fully transitioning to Jimmy Butler last season, the Bulls have somewhat regressed, as players like Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo have entered the team's sphere, while losing Pau Gasol to the Spurs. On Wednesday, Wade delivered an unwanted Christmas present to Butler, trying to say the team was expecting too much of Butler, but being interepreted by some as meaning Butler can't handle the heavy load.

Rondo has been the real issue for the Bulls, though. He was brought in after leading the NBA in assists last season, but has seen his passing and scoring propensity dip across the board. He's averaging 7.9 points and 7.3 assists while shooting a horrendous .384 from the field. There's no doubt Chicago would trade point guards with their Christmas opponent if they could, even if the Spurs wanted to do away with backup Patty Mills.

No problems in post-Duncan San Antonio

Meanwhile, the Spurs are playing this season without icon Tim Duncan for the first time in two decades. He had his jersey retired a week before Christmas, but the game against the Bulls should show a national audience that they don't need him anymore to be successful, as things hum right along with Gregg Popovich instilling his faith in superstar Kawhi Leonard.

The Spurs have never been a flashy team and continue to get things done by playing with some basic fundamentals. On Christmas, they'll show off their best assets: spacing and shooting. They rank in the top five in the NBA in field goal percentage, three-point percentage, and free throw percentage this year.

For comparison's sake, the Bulls are in the bottom ten in two of those categories, including dead last from three.

Christmas Prediction: Spurs 101, Bulls 83.

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