Five NBA Christmas Day games we’d love to see

Caption: Nov 16, 2016; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0) and Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) react after a play against the Houston Rockets during the fourth quarter at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Christmas Day isn’t just a holiday celebrated by billions across the world. It has become the unofficial NBA holiday.

Recent years have seen five games played on this holiday. The NBA has done extremely well to pit rivals against one another.

There’s a much larger opportunity this coming season given the absurd amount of player movement we’ve seen during the summer.

How about Kyrie Irving returning to Boston and Russell Westbrook taking on his former Thunder team in Oklahoma City?

These are among the five NBA Christmas Day matchups we’d love to see this December.

Brooklyn Nets at Boston Celtics

It’s going to be incredibly interesting to see what type of reaction Irving gets from Celtics fans when his Nets team makes that treck to Boston at some point this season. We already know the backstory here.

Last season saw drama between Irving and the Celtics. It came after he pretty much guaranteed a return on opening day. But conflicts of ego and personality led to Irving’s departure from Boston after just two seasons. The NBA would be smart to make this his initial return to TD Garden.

Houston Rockets at Oklahoma City Thunder

Oh boy. On the other end of the spectrum, we’re pretty darn sure that Russell Westbrook will get a video tribute and a resounding ovation one he returns to OKC. The former MVP’s farewell video was something. He’s adored by the community in OKC.

What a tremendous thing it would be to see Westbrook and fellow former Thunder star James Harden return to Chesapeake Energy Arena Christmas afternoon. It would also be needed after an earlier-day game in which Celtics fans give Irving the Boston treatment.

Los Angeles Clippers at San Antonio Spurs

We sure would love to see reigning NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard and his Clippers head to Toronto for Christmas. But logistically, that might not be in the cards. The NBA would have to plan Los Angeles’ entire schedule around one game. That’s unlikely to happen.

Instead, let’s hope for Leonard returning to his roots in San Antonio for just the second time after his ugly divorce from the Spurs. Just imagine the scene in Texas. Remember the Alamo? This could be the NBA’s version of that warfare.

New Orleans Pelicans at Dallas Mavericks

We could have gone in another direction and had Anthony Davis return to New Orleans for the first time on Christmas Day. Though, that would seem especially cruel for Pelicans fans given the way that their relationship ended. Why add more drama to the mix when you can feature a game with some of the Association’s best young stars?

Zion Williamson taking on Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis would be a very nice dessert for those with food hangovers after dinner. Three of the biggest future stars in the NBA taking on one another Christmas evening. Why not?

Los Angeles Lakers at Golden State Warriors

Some will say that this matchup is overplayed. LeBron James going up against Stephen Curry. We’ve seen that four times in the Finals over the past five years. That’s all fine and dandy. But it’s still the preimminent matchup in today’s NBA.

Now that the Lakers are right there with the five-time Western Conference champs, the California rivalry has been renewed. Add in this game taking place at the brand new Chase Center in San Franciso, and’s that’s magnified further. It will be electric as Christmas draws to a conclusion.

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