Instead of a Christmas Day barrage, the NBA season is back to normal and will build in slower fashion. But the season's top storylines will be on display in the season's first three days. Here's what to watch:

5. Denver at Philadelphia, Wednesday (NBA League Pass) » Actually, this is an indulgence for fans of former Wizards. Andrew Bynum isn't expected to play for the 76ers, and that's one guy Nuggets center JaVale McGee has played well against. Both McGee and Nick Young, now with the 76ers, should show they are better suited for their new, more limited roles.

4. Dallas at Los Angeles Lakers, Tuesday (TNT) » If the Mavericks are indeed better off without Deron Williams, it will be tough to prove against Steve Nash and Dwight Howard. They want to preach patience with their new team, but Hollywood wants this blockbuster to deliver on opening night.

3. New York at Brooklyn, Thursday (TNT) » Lingering effects of Hurricane Sandy could impact the renewal of a rivalry within the Five Burroughs between two teams expected to be fighting for top playoff seeds in the East. The Knicks won the teams' preseason meeting on Long Island.

2. Oklahoma City at San Antonio, Thursday (TNT) » James Harden who? The Thunder could be in for a cruel reality check for what it means to jettison Harden against Tim Duncan and the veteran Spurs, who don't believe they should be counted out in the West.

1. Boston at Miami, Tuesday (TNT) » LeBron James will get his NBA championship ring, but Ray Allen won't. Instead, he'll have to play his first game of the year against the Celtics teammates he helped to win a title. The reception from Kevin Garnett isn't likely to be a warm one.

- Craig Stouffer