The NBA reportedly released its schedule for Christmas Day this upcoming season. That holiday has been synonymous with basketball over the past several years.
The Association has also done a tremendous job providing fans with marquee matchups. It’s no different this season.
Back east, the Boston Celtics will head to Toronto to take on the defending NBA champion Raptors. Meanwhile, two of the conference’s top title contenders in that of the Bucks and Sixers will do battle in Philadelphia.
Out west, Zion Williamson and his New Orleans Pelicans will take on the Nuggets in Denver. The five-time defending conference champion Warriors will host Russell Westbrook, James Harden and the Houston Rockets in San Francisco.
And to likely close out the evening, the Lakers and Clippers will do battle in Southern California.
Here, we rank these five NBA Christmas Day matchups by appeal.
5. Boston Celtics at Toronto Raptors
This matchup would have been tremendous a season ago. But now that Kyrie Irving is in Brooklyn and Kawhi Leonard is hooping it up in Southern California, it has lost some of its luster. Even then, the NBA had to schedule the defending champs on Christmas.
It’s still going to be a highly entertaining affair. We’re interested to see how Boston’s new face of the franchise, Kemba Walker, performs. Meanwhile, Pascal Siakam now takes over as the top dog in Canada.
4. New Orleans Pelicans at Denver Nuggets
The NBA was not going to ignore Zion Williamson’s impact as a rookie. Add in the likes of Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram in New Orleans, and these Pelicans should be an absolute blast to watch during the 2019-20 campaign.
After finishing last season with the second-best record in the Western Conference, Denver is hoping to take that next step to title contention. It will do so with the newly-extended Jamal Murray and an MVP candidate in Nikola Jokic leading the charge. This one should be a fun, high-scoring affair.
3. Houston Rockets at Golden State Warriors
For the first time in what seems like eons, Golden State will not be doing battle with LeBron James on Christmas. That has to be considered good news for the average NBA fan. Even then, the Association was not going to avoid the five-time defending conference champs on this holiday.
Golden State will host the MVP backcourt of Russell Westbrook and James Harden in San Francisco’s new Chase Center. It will do so with the starting backcourt of D’Angelo Russell and Stephen Curry with Klay Thompson likely out through the new year.
2. Milwaukee Bucks at Philadelphia 76ers
With Kevin Durant likely out for the entire 2019-20 season after signing in Brooklyn and Kawhi Leonard now on the Clippers, there’s a strong argument that can be made. It includes the Bucks and Sixers being the Eastern Conference’s top-two title contenders this coming season.
So it makes perfect sense that that NBA would pit these two together in Philadelphia on Christmas Day. Giannis Antetokounmpo taking on Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. What a blast this one is going to be in the City of Brotherly Love.
1. Los Angeles Clippers at Los Angeles Lakers
Why the heck not? This is going to be the marquee matchup throughout the 2019-20 season. Anthony Davis joins LeBron James on the Lakers to form a potential super team. Meanwhile, the Clippers shocked the basketball world by adding both Paul George and reigning NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard to the mix.
Not only is this going to be a battle for supremacy on the NBA’s grandest of stages, it could have an impact on who receives the better playoff seeding come spring time. Get your popcorn ready.