NBA season finally set to tip off on Christmas

The lockout is over. Training camps are finished. Chris Paul finally got traded.

Now it’s time to play some games that count. The NBA looks to put a trying offseason behind Sunday when the season opens with five marquee games.

Players, coaches and league officials hope attention will now shift to the court, helping fans forget the labor dispute that resulted in a shortened 66-game schedule.

The Celtics and Knicks tip off the festivities Sunday. Then comes an NBA Finals rematch with Miami at Dallas followed by Chicago at the Lakers. Orlando visits Oklahoma City in a small-market special, and Paul makes his Clippers debut at Golden State in the nightcap.

Let the games begin.

© 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.