NBA: Please Christmas, don’t be late

December 16, 2022
What do you get when you combine five exciting games, historic rivalries, and 13 hours of consecutive basketball coverage? Nonstop NBA Christmas Day fun, that’s what!
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NBA: Please Christmas, don’t be late
Source: Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images

What do you get when you combine five exciting games, historic rivalries, and 13 hours of consecutive basketball coverage? Nonstop NBA Christmas Day fun, that’s what! So grab a mug of cocoa, hide the remote from your family and settle in for some top-notch action.

🤓 The history

Basketball and yuletide cheer have gone hand in hand since 1947, when the league first scheduled matches on December 25th, making this year the NBA’s 75th (!!!) edition of Christmas Day games.

  • In 1984, the NY Knicks’ Bernard King set the Christmas Day point record, scoring 60 against the then–New Jersey Nets.
  • Just last year, reigning Christmas King LeBron James became the all-time Christmas Day scoring leader with a combined 422 points over 16 Christmas Day games, and is set to make even more history this year.

👀 Game previews

Philadelphia 76ers vs. NY Knicks — 12 p.m. ET (Sportsnet): Christmas at the Garden? What could be better? This year marks New York’s league-leading 55th Christmas Day game. Back in November, the Knicks squeaked out a 106–104 win in their only matchup against the 76ers, but Philly superstar Joel Embiid (pronounced em-BEAD) was out sick that day. If he’s healthy for Round 2, the Knicks’ RJ Barrett (Canadian!) is going to have his hands full.

LA Lakers vs. Dallas Mavericks — 2:30 p.m. ET (TSN): Don’t touch that remote because LeBron could add yet another achievement to his name. Should the soon-to-be 38-year-old play in this year’s holiday battle, LeBron will break former LA Laker Kobe Bryant’s record for most Christmas Day games played, with a whopping 17 appearances. He’s definitely on the nice list.

  • But enough about the big guy (no, not Santa). The Lakers and Mavs haven’t faced off this season, so watch to see how Luka Dončić, one of the NBA’s leading scorers, and Canadian Dwight Powell square up to LeBron.

Milwaukee Bucks vs. Boston Celtics — 5 p.m. ET (Sportsnet): It’s giving déjà vu. In a rematch of last season’s electric seven-game Eastern Conference semifinal, Jayson Tatum and the Celtics will once again look to come out on top. That’ll be easier said than done, though; playing Giannis Antetokounmpo (pronounced YAH-niss ah-det-oh-KOON-boh) with a chip on his shoulder is no (dad) joke.

Memphis Grizzlies vs. Golden State Warriors — 8 p.m. ET (Sportsnet): Time for a post-dinner cappuccino because this jam-packed marathon isn’t slowing down any time soon. In what will be their first Christmas Day game in franchise history, the Grizz will visit San Fran in yet another 2022 playoff rematch.

  • With Steph Curry sidelined, get ready to watch the Grizzlies’ Ja Morant and GSW’s Klay Thompson battle it out in this budding rivalry. Let the trash talking commence.
  • Adding to the fun, three Candians (pending injury) could see the floor: Dillon Brooks and Brandon Clarke of the Grizzlies and Andrew Wiggins on GSW.

Denver Nuggets vs. Phoenix Suns — 10:30 p.m. ET (Sportsnet): While the night may be winding down, the action is set to level up as these Western Conference foes take the harwood. Two-time reigning MVP Nikola Jokic and Canadian Jamal Murray always fight hard for the Nugs, but Suns’ shooting guard Devin Booker has been on fire lately. Forget Santa’s reindeer, get ready to see sparks fly.

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