It’s the Christmas season! For so many this is the unofficial start of the NBA season, even though we are more than a third of the way through!
Christmas Day is the NBA’s showcase, and we have five games for you to satisfy that basketball jones. Now, if you’re a diehard NBA fan and a league pass watcher, we know you’ll watch all of these games. Enjoy!
But for those of you that have family obligations, and other things that you need to do on this day and can only choose one. We’ve ranked them for you so you can make the best choice!
#5. Hawks vs. Knicks
A rematch from the first round of last year’s playoffs where Trae Young had his coming-out party to casual NBA fans and the Hawks made quick work of the Knicks in five games. For the Knicks it was their first trip to the playoffs in seven seasons.
Fast-forward to this season, and both teams had uneven starts, are currently below .500 and outside the playoffs. Not to mention the Hawks have six players in the league’s health and safety protocols, including Young, Clint Capela, Danilo Gallinari, Kevin Huerter, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, and Lou Williams.
The Knicks are without: RJ Barrett, Quentin Grimes, Kevin Knox II, Miles McBride, Nerlens Noel, and Immanuel Quickley. All in health and safety protocols. Plus Derrick Rose is out with an ankle injury.
So if you want to see Hawks young wing Cam Reddish shoot the ball a ton and watch Knicks’ guard Kemba Walker cook, this is the game for you.
#4. Mavericks vs. Jazz
It’s not that we don’t think this will be a good game. But for those in the Eastern time zone on Christmas, a 10:30 p.m. tip-off might be too much to ask. Food comas and wine-induced sleep on the couch by 8:30 p.m. come to mind.
If you’re gonna make the commitment, let’s get the COVID protocol players out of way.
For Dallas: Luka Doncic, Reggie Bullock, Josh Green, Tim Hardaway Jr., Maxi Kleber, and Trey Burke are all out.
Utah has all of their players available.
The 21-9 Jazz with the league’s second-best adjusted net rating is taking on the Mavericks who are missing their superstar and key starters and role players. Maybe the Mavericks’ Kristaps Porzingis will have a monster night and lead his team to victory, leading to reports about him needing more touches for the team to be at their best?
No? At any rate, watching the Jazz and how Rudy Gobert impacts the game is worth it.
#3. Celtics vs. Bucks
The defending champion Bucks will be without: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Donte DiVincenzo, Wesley Matthews, and Bobby Portis. All in protocols.
The Celtics will be missing: Sam Hauser, Juancho Hernangomez, Al Horford, Jabari Parker, Grant Williams, Josh Richardson, and Enes Kanter Freedom. Also in protocol.
There will still be plenty of star power on the court. If you are a basketball fan you’re going to want to watch how the Bucks’ Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton match up with the Celtics’ Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum.
That’s strength on strength.
#2. Nets vs. Lakers
Brooklyn received some good news on Thursday, Dec. 23. James Harden, Jevon Carter, and Paul Millsap have cleared COVID protocols. But Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, LaMarcus Aldridge, DeAndre Bembry, Bruce Brown, James Johnson, Day’Ron Sharpe, Cam Thomas, David Duke Jr., and Kessler Edwards remain in protocol. Plus Joe Harris is out with injury.
More important, the Lakers have lost three straight and are 5-5 in their past 10 games and not playing good basketball.
The Nets have the best record in the Eastern Conference and have managed injuries and player uncertainty well enough to forge a defensive identity. It’ll be tough sledding without MVP front-runner Durant.
Many thought this was an NBA Finals preview when the schedule was released. But LeBron, Russ and Harden have a lot of star power. Should still be a good one.
#1. Warriors vs. Suns
The top two teams in the league and a possible Western Conference Finals preview. The season series is 1-1. The Warriors lead the league in adjusted net rating at +9.7. The Suns are third at +7.1. Both teams defend like they are on a string and have contrasting offensive styles.
The Warriors’ Damion Lee, Jordan Poole, and Andrew Wiggins are in health and safety protocols. The Suns have all their players available, including Devin Booker, who was hurt early in the first matchup between these two teams and missed the second.
Steph Curry an MVP front-runner, Draymond Green, the Defensive Player of the Year front-runner, and all that institutional knowledge and their championship swagger will be on full display.
The Suns were NBA finalists lasts season and are desperate to go back after blowing a 2-0 lead in the Finals. Chris Paul, Deandre Ayton, Booker and Mikal Bridges want to prove last year was no fluke.
If you can only watch one of these five games, this is the one.
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