Christmas is an extremely important day on the NBA calendar, as the holidays are a major showcase for the league. This year there will be 12 consecutive hours of action spread over five different games, and some of the league’s most popular players and teams will be featured. As a result, tantalizing clashes and intriguing storylines are sure to add joy to your day.

The NBA is pushing its way through a spike in COVID cases, but Christmas Day games should still be played. Here’s a look at the main storyline for each of the five games scheduled for Christmas Day.

Hawks vs Knicks (12 p.m. ET): A compelling rematch

The NBA’s Christmas Day slate kicks off with a rematch of one of last season’s most intriguing first-round playoffs, as the New York Knicks host the Atlanta Hawks. The Hawks have won this series in five games, with some additional staging from Trae Young.

Considering how things turned out last season, it’s safe to say the Knicks will be looking for some revenge on Christmas Day. Neither team has got off to a good start in their current campaign – both teams are currently positioned on the outskirts of the crowded Eastern Conference playoff picture. Absences and injuries played a role in both teams’ slow starts, but both will look to bounce back for the remainder of the season, and a big win at Christmas would represent a good start.

Celtics vs. Bucks (2:30 p.m. ET): Celtics chasing third straight win over Champions

Two Eastern Conference opponents will face off when the Bucks host the Celtics in the second of five games on Christmas Day. The Bucks may be the defending NBA champions, but the Celtics have had the best of them so far this season. Christmas morning will be the third time the two teams have met already this season, and the Celtics have won both previous meetings.

They knocked down the 122-113 Bucks in overtime in November, then beat them again earlier this month thanks to a monster 42-point performance from Jayson Tatum. The Celtics have had an eventful season so far, but the two wins over the Bucks are highlights, and a third straight win over the defending champions certainly wouldn’t hurt the team’s collective confidence.

Warriors at Suns (5 p.m. ET): A battle of the NBA’s top two teams

The teams with the league’s two best records are the Phoenix Suns and Golden State Warriors, and those teams will face off for the third time this season in Game 3 on Christmas Day. The Suns won the first meeting in late November, while the Warriors tied the season a few days later. So this game will serve as a de facto tiebreaker for now, until the teams meet for a fourth and final time at the end of March.

Each of these teams are excellent on both ends of the ball, which usually leads to some pretty convincing play. The Warriors and Suns have the best and second best defense in the league, respectively, and they both also have top 10 offense. They are both also very deep and are led by established veterans. This could easily be a preview of the 2022 Western Conference Finals, and as such, it could turn out to be the most exciting contest of the day.

Nets vs Lakers (8 p.m. ET): LeBron aims for Christmas record

LeBron James will have the chance to make a little (more) NBA history on Saturday. James enters the LA game with the Nets just 12 points behind Kobe Bryant on the NBA’s all-time Christmas scorecard. Here’s a look at the current status of the roster, via NBA.com:

  1. Kobe Bryant – 395 points in 16 games (24.6 points per game out of 40.8% FG)
  2. LeBron James – 383 points in 15 games (25.5 points per game out of 48.4 FG%)
  3. Oscar Roberson – 377 points in 12 games (31.4 points per game out of 47.0 FG%)
  4. Dwyane Wade – 314 points in 13 games (24.1 points per game out of 45.7 FG%)
  5. Kevin Durant – 299 in 10 games (29.9 ppg out of 51.7 FG%)
  6. Shaquille O’Neal – 272 points in 13 games (20.9 points per game out of 53.3 FG%)
  7. Russell Westbrook –241 points in 10 games (24.1 points per game out of 38.7% FG)
  8. Dolph Schayes – 239 points in 13 games (18.3 points per game out of 48.0 FG%)
  9. Walt Bellamy – 237 points in 9 games (26.3 points per game out of 76.8 FG%)
  10. Richie Guerin – 232 in 9 games (25.7 points per game out of 53.6% FG)

Considering that James is averaging over 26 points per performance this season, it is very likely that he will score the 13 points needed to pass Bryant and become the NBA’s all-time leading scorer on December 25. Additionally, by appearing in the game, James tied with Bryant for most Christmas Day appearances with 16.

Mavericks vs Jazz (10:30 p.m. ET): A Well-Deserved Exposure for Utah

The fifth and final Christmas Day game will be between two teams battling for playoff positioning in the West – the Dallas Mavericks and the Utah Jazz. The Jazz, who finished with the league’s best regular-season record last season, appear to be a legitimate contender again this season, but they’ve garnered far less attention than some of their Western Conference contemporaries. It looks like Jazz has gone a bit under the radar at the national level so far this season, so this Christmas Day appearance will be a good opportunity for a wider audience to see one of the best teams in the entire league. .

The Jazz have the highest-rated offense in the NBA and the second-best net score, behind the Golden State Warriors. They do it from both sides of the floor and as a result they are really rewarding to watch. The Christmas appearance will only be the third for the Jazz since 1997. Overall, it will be the team’s eighth Christmas appearance, and they are 5-2 over the holidays.


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