By BRIAN MAHONEY
AP Basketball Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — The NBA’s five-game Christmas Day slate will be played as scheduled, but with many big names absent. Kevin Durant, Luka Doncic and Trae Young all were in the NBA’s health and safety protocols in the days leading up to the league’s holiday showcase. More than 100 players have gone into protocols amid a surge of the omicron variant of the coronavirus. The Brooklyn Nets will have James Harden, but not Durant, when they face the Los Angeles Lakers in the prime-time spot on the schedule. The Atlanta Hawks will play at the New York Knicks without Young. The other games are Boston at Milwaukee, Golden State at Phoenix and Dallas at Utah.
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