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The NBA’s Christmas Day schedule is a bit like gift-giving in general, hit or miss. To be fair, deciding in August what teams will be sparkling, what stars will be dazzling and what matchups will actually matter is a tough ask. Plus, there’s the need to toss in traditional yuletide teams like the Knicks — they’ve played 54 times since the Xmas tipoffs started in 1947. With variables as different as snowflake crystals, it’s impressive what a good list the NBA put under the tree for our viewing pleasure.
Here’s a look at the five-game holiday feast.
76ers at Knicks, Noon ET
Unless you live in Philly or New York City, there’s a good chance you’ll schedule Christmas dinner during this matchup, considered the weakest game of the day. However, the Sixers’ Joel Embiid is a point-scoring machine and will, along with teammate James Harden, look to light it up like a Christmas Tree. The Knicks may not score many points, but they’ve become Scrooge-like stingy on defence, setting up an excellent physical contest.
Lakers at Mavericks, 2:30 p.m. ET
Christmas has always been led by the stars. He may not have travelled with his fellow Magi to the manger, but King James regularly shows up on Christmas Day to put on a dazzling show. This year’s galaxy includes Luka Doncic, a brightly shining beacon in his own right. This game is worth it for the drives to the paint alone. LeBron is orbited by Anthony Davis, who is averaging 28.1 ppg.
Bucks at Celtics, 5:00 p.m. ET
The NBA schedulers picked right when they put this matchup on their Christmas list. Boston (+310) is currently the odds favourite to lift the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy this spring with Milwaukee (+500) right behind them. Last year’s playoff bout in Eastern Conference Semi-Finals is considered the best of the 2022 playoffs by many. Add superstars Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jayson Tatum (being fed by Marcus Smart) going head to head with fully healthy supporting casts and it’s easy to see why this is the most anticipated game yet of the 2022-2023 NBA season.
Grizzlies at Warriors, 8 p.m. ET
This duel offers the rare combination of a fiercely fought rivalry, superstar players and two teams that know very well they’ll likely face each other during the playoffs. Fuel this fire with the Christmas Day prime-time spotlight and let the sparks fly. Griz Ja Morant with his adlib style of play is arguably the most dynamic player in the league unless, that is, Steph Curry has the ball. Add in defensive stalwart Jaren Jackson Jr. and a resurgent Klay Thompson and this game promises to glow brightly well into the holiday night.
Suns at Nuggets, 10:30 p.m. ET
This nightcap was the lucky bounce of the lineup, given the Suns and Nuggets are currently locked in a battle for Western Conference positioning. In other words, Christmas Night’s success will add a key win to the present standings. With two Top 3 offences and the potentially explosive Devin Booker – Jamal Murray clash, you should have no problem staying up to watch these fireworks.
*All odds from Bet99 Sportsbook at time of writing & are subject to change.
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