Santa came early this year. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski brought the gifts. In typical NBA tradition, the holiday matchups dominate the NBA schedule. With the rest of the NBA schedule yet to be announced, may the clamoring of which teams doesn’t/does deserve the coveted Christmas Day commence.
Up first on Christmas, starting at 12:00 p.m. ET, the NBA assigned the league’s young-and-upcoming New Orleans Pelicans against the NBA Finals runner-up Miami Heat.
Zion Williamson is a draw. The league knows it and will do whatever it takes to stick him on national television. On the other hand, the league made sure to acknowledge the veteran-led Heat with a marquee national televised appearance.
Next on the holiday docket, two franchises constantly linked in rumors set to battle. The Golden State Warriors travel to Wisconsin to battle the Milwaukee Bucks. As the media and fans alike speculate on two-time MVP Gianis Antetokounmpo’s free agency decision, the league decided to crank up the hype train with the Warriors-Bucks matchup. In light of the devastating Klay Thompson achilles injury, the Warriors’ fanbase needs a feel-good moment, and playing on Christmas Day potentially provides a gift.
The Nets and Celtics has plenty of storylines, but perhaps none larger than Kevin Durant being back on center stage and (hopefully) healthy. Add in that Kyrie Irving will be facing off against his former team, whom he left mysteriously, and we have a full blown fun matchup.
The remaining mathcups off plenty of star power. The defending champion Los Angeles Lakers will have to contend with Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks, a star-studded matchup of high-powered teams. Lastly, the Los Angeles Clippers will face off against the team that humiliated them in the playoffs last season – the pesky Denver Nuggets.
NBA Christmas Day is one of the most spectacular sports days of the year, with a full schedule of tremendous games. This year, even with a truncated set of games, figures to have just as many excellent matchups.