How the NBA Stole Christmas



LeBron James prepares for the holiday season wth a crisp Sprite Cranberry.

Looking for an escape from the inevitable awkward family gatherings that come with Christmas day? Have a family full of sports fans looking to start a new tradition? Don’t celebrate Christmas and don’t know how to spend Dec. 25?

The NBA has got you covered. Each year, 10 of the leagues premier teams (and the Knicks) suit up in Christmas themed jerseys to face off in non-stop day of NBA action filled with potential playoff matchups.

Here’s a brief rundown of the five Christmas day NBA matchups:

If you happen to sleep in on Christmas day you likely will not miss much in the NBA’s first game of the day. At 9:00 a.m. PST, the Milwaukee Bucks will take on the New York Knicks.

The Knicks have played the most Christmas Day games of any team in the NBA with an all-time 22-29 record. They are in the Christmas Day lineup primarily out of tradition (and because New York is the largest TV market in the country).

With Knicks star Kristaps Porzingis still recovering from injury, the most recognizable Knick on the court may be Spike Lee if the New York Knicks superfan decides to spend his Christmas at Madison Square Garden.

The Bucks, on the other hand, are among the best teams in the Eastern Conference. Led by the “Greek Freak,” Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Bucks have a league-leading offense that is entertaining to watch even when they are blowing teams out. It will likely take a Christmas miracle for the Knicks to pull out a win.

The next game of the day features two of the NBA’s most prolific duos as Chris Paul and James Harden of The Houston Rockets will square off with Russell Westbrook and Paul George of the Oklahoma City Thunder at 12:00 p.m. PST.

The two Western Conferences foes have met once already this season with the Thunder coming out on top by a final score of 98-80 in that matchup. This was in spite of the fact that Westbrook was out with injury.

Houston has since begun to play better and despite their current record still, boast one of the most talented rosters in the Western Conference.

Prior to the Rockets parting ways with him, this was supposed to have been Carmelo Anthony’s opportunity to inflict vengeance on the Thunder. Anthony played for the Thunder for just a season prior to being traded. As of now, it seems the 10-time All-Star will spend his holiday at home.

The third game of the day—and a potential Eastern Conference finals matchup—will see the Philadelphia 76ers heading to play on the parquet floor of the Boston Celtics at 2:30
p.m. PST.

The Celtics have gotten off to a slow start this year, though they did defeat the 76ers with relative ease, winning 105-87 on opening night of the 2018 – 2019 season.

The 76ers, however, look different than they did at the start of the season. Joel “The Process” Embiid and last years NBA Rookie of the Year Ben Simmons recently welcomed Jimmy Butler to their starting lineup. The 76ers acquired Butler via a trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves as Butler vocally made his discontent with his situation with his prior team known.

With plenty of big personalities on both sides, the post-game press conferences and reactions by players on social media may prove to be an extra gift for NBA fans.

Your loved ones will understand if you have to eat your Christmas dinner in front of the TV for the day’s penultimate matchup between The Los Angeles Lakers and the Golden State Warriors at 5:00 p.m. PST.

This year’s obligatory “LeBron James vs. the Warriors” game looks a little different as over the offseason James moved from the East to the West, trading in his wine and gold jersey for a purple and gold one.

This will be LeBron’s first opportunity to face the Warriors this season and a chance for he and the young Lakers to prove they are a threat to the Warriors reign.

If the Lakers can pull off the win, it could serve to further fracture a Golden State locker room that has already shown signs of maybe, finally, imploding as all other sports
dynasties have.

In the final game of the night, the Portland Trailblazers will face the Utah Jazz 7:30 p.m. PST.

While not considered to be among the elite of the NBA, the Trailblazers have shown consistency over the last several years in the regular season.

The Jazz, on the other hand, have gotten off to a rough start this season and it is unclear at this point if they’ll be able to scrape together relying on this still young Donovan Mitchell and the defensive prowess of Rudy Gobert.

This is the perfect game to close the day out, sit back, eat some Christmas cookies and fall asleep to the sounds of the Jazz being trounced by Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum.

Alec may be reached at
[email protected]