The NBA Christmas Day lineup has been leaked and it wouldn’t be hyperbole to suggest that the NBA will be the center of the sports universe with the onslaught of high-interest clashes on tap. Sorry NFL, but the NBA will be intruding upon your Christmas ratings this year. 

1. LA Lakers vs. Golden State Warriors

Stephen A. Smith of ESPN’s First Take said, “I sense an annihilation in the making,” in favor of Golden State, being that the game will be played at The Oracle. But I think it will be a close game, the game of the day and the most watched. 

The Lakers may not look like a championship caliber squad on paper,  but the team LA-Bron has assembled possesses rare and specific talents and extreme grit. They won’t be taking too many ass whippings regardless of who they’re playing and I'm actually picking them for the Christmas Day upset. 

2. Philadelphia 76ers vs. Boston Celtics  

The two beasts of the East will be squaring off in a classic Eastern Conference matchup. It will be a physical and fast-paced contest. The floor's loaded with talent on both sides and the world will get its first major look at a Celtics squad that has the array of swords to slice its way to an NBA championship. Everyone was hype off Philly last season, but they proved to be a few years away. Will the learning curve continue upward for Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons? Or will Philly take a step back as Boston steamrolls the comp? 

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ICYMI: The NBA's Christmas Day schedule is here, and it's stacked. 🎄 https://t.co/4YwwZrlSKp

3. OKC Thunder vs. Houston Rockets

The combination of Russell Westbrook and Paul George is always going to bring eyeballs to the screen. Minus Melo, the tandem should develop even better chemistry and if the supporting cast can step up, OKC will win its share of games. If Russ and George are rolling at the same time on Christmas, then this will be a competitive and highly intense game. 

Melo gets a chance to play his former team. Does Melo totally try and go H.A.M. and abandon Houston’s offense? Or does he blend with Harden, CP3, and Capela to bomb OKC off the court.? That’s really what everyone will be tuning in to see. 

4. Trail Blazers vs.  Utah Jazz

In a matchup of solid squads who aren’t championship contenders, the main attraction will be Donovan Mitchell in his second year as the established Jazz franchise player going up against Dame D.O.L.L.A.  It should be a high-scoring affair. 

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5. Bucks vs. Knicks

This will be a Bucks blowout. Giannis Antetokounmpo will probably drop 40, maybe 50. I apologize to Knicks fans that I can’t offer anything more positive. Porzingis still won’t be playing. Maybe, the rookie, Kevin Knox will provide some highlights. Announcers will pontificate extensively about the Knicks’ chances of getting Kyrie and Jimmy Butler or Kawhi Leonard to play there in 2019.