How Good Are This Year’s NBA Christmas Day Games?
The NBA has released its five-game Christmas Day slate. Are they all we could ask for or could the league have done better?
One of the best parts of being an NBA fan is having five basketball games to watch on Christmas Day each and every year. Even if you are not one to celebrate Christmas, it’s a great day for all. Everyone (for the most part) gets the day off from work and it’s a great opportunity to spend time with family.
It’s also a great time to watch some hoops. This year, we will once again be blessed with 13 hours of basketball on December 25. Will all of those 13 hours be entertaining, or will there be some dead time to pay attention to our family instead?
All-Time Philadelphia 76ers Mount Rushmore
Who are the most important figures in the Sixers’ history?
12 p.m. EST — Sixers at Knicks
It is a shame that we get the Knicks on Christmas Day every year, but at least their opponent is always entertaining. New York’s opponent this time around is the young, (hopefully) healthy Philadelphia 76ers.
Despite having Kristaps Porzingis and Carmelo Anthony (as of now), the entertainment will be coming from Philly’s side. Joel Embiid already showed his ability this past season, even if it was for a short time. Ben Simmons is an elite passer and Markelle Fultz can do it all. If that core is firing on all cylinders, it will be worth tuning in.
Golden State Warriors Mount Rushmore
The NBA’s current hot bed of talent has a rich history of talented stars, but which four make the final cut?
3 p.m. EST — Cavaliers at Warriors
Maybe it’s just me, but Warriors-Cavs will never get old. Last Christmas, the Finals rematch took place in Cleveland. This time around, it will be in Oakland with Oracle surely rocking on this holy day.
There is not much to say about this matchup. They play every June in the Finals and twice a year during the regular season. The only difference this year is that Kyrie Irving may not be Cleveland’s point guard any longer if he gets his wish and is traded elsewhere. Otherwise, this matchup should just be the status quo.
All-Time Washington Wizards Mount Rushmore
The four most important Wizards in franchise history
5:30 p.m. EST — Wizards at Celtics
In the third game of Christmas Day, it will be another postseason rematch — this time of 2017’s Eastern Conference semifinals. It was a competitive playoff series, going seven games.
Things have changed during the offseason, however. Washington has largely stayed the same, but Boston has gone through some big changes. After adding Gordon Hayward, the Celtics moved Avery Bradley and some small contracts in order to fit his salary. They also added Aron Baynes to shore up their big man rotation and Jayson Tatum through the draft.
Boston did more to improve over the offseason, and they were already the better team. But Washington still has a lot of room to improve with Bradley Beal, Otto Porter and Kelly Oubre Jr. all being 24-years-old or younger and John Wall in his prime.
All-Time Oklahoma City Thunder Mount Rushmore
The four most important figures in franchise history
8 p.m. EST — Rockets at Thunder
Rockets-Thunder is probably the best game of this Christmas Day slate, simply because we have seen Cavs-Warriors so much. Behind those Warriors — after re-signing Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston — Houston and Oklahoma City had the two best offseasons in the league.
Pairing Chris Paul with James Harden makes Houston a legitimate contender to Golden State, and adding Paul George to reigning MVP Russell Westbrook puts the Thunder in that conversation as well. Having so much star power in one game — and there’s a chance ‘Melo adds to it — is sure to be entertaining through and through.
Minnesota Timberwolves Mount Rushmore
In the NBA, there are a handful of storied franchises. The Minnesota Timberwolves are not one of them.
10:30 p.m. EST — Timberwolves at Lakers
Just like the Knicks, it’s not a Christmas Day NBA game without the Lakers. Unlike New York, however, the Lakers actually have some watching appeal. After beefing up over the summer, sophomore Brandon Ingram may begin his tour of carnage on the league this season. And, oh yeah, that Lonzo Ball guy is pretty fun, too.
After Golden State, Houston and OKC, Minnesota has a strong case for best offseason after turning Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and their seventh overall pick into Jimmy Butler (and the 16th pick). Putting Butler — a top 15 player — alongside Karl-Anthony Towns — future superstar — and Andrew Wiggins has the potential to be a really competitive team — even in the Western Conference.
The star power may be younger in this one, but it is undoubtedly there.
It is impossible to predict, but there don’t seem to be any duds among these five games. So if you were planning on spending some real quality time with your family on Christmas Day this year, it looks like you’ll have to make plans for the morning.