Christmas Day is usually stuffed with vacation cheer, presents and, most significantly, basketball.
The NBA will host 5 video games all through the day airing on ABC, ESPN and the ESPN app, and this yr’s matchups are definitely worth the watch.
Joel Embiid and James Harden will tip issues off and are certain to convey vitality into Madison Sq. Backyard when the Philadelphia 76ers tackle the New York Knicks at midday ET.
Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks will face LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers (2:30 p.m. ET) earlier than a rematch of the 2022 Japanese Convention semifinals ensues that includes Jayson Tatum and the Boston Celtics vs. Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks (5 p.m. ET).
Taking on the night time shift, the Golden State Warriors will battle Ja Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies with out Stephen Curry (8 p.m. ET), and reigning two-time MVP Nikola Jokic will end off the night when his Denver Nuggets go head-to-head with Devin Booker and the Phoenix Suns (10:30 p.m. ET).
This yr, the 76ers-Knicks recreation additionally will air on ESPN2 as a part of analyst Stephen A. Smith’s NBA-centric “alterna-cast” presentation, “NBA in Stephen A’s World.”
Here is what you could know concerning the 2022 Christmas Day slate:
Do not have ESPN? Get prompt entry now
Philadelphia 76ers at New York Knicks, midday ET (ABC/ESPN/ESPN2)
A few weeks in the past, nobody would’ve anticipated the 76ers and Knicks to be among the many NBA’s hottest groups heading into the Christmas Day showcase. And but, right here we’re.
The Knicks have received eight in a row, surging into the highest six within the East and solidifying themselves as a reputable playoff workforce — notably amid the struggles of the Toronto Raptors, Washington Wizards and Chicago Bulls. The 76ers, in the meantime, have bounced again from their 1-4 begin to transfer into the highest half of the East playoff image behind one other scintillating stretch from Embiid, who continues to make it a spirited case because the NBA’s most dominant heart.
— Tim Bontemps
Los Angeles Lakers at Dallas Mavericks, 2:30 p.m. ET (ABC/ESPN)
The most effective participant of this technology will face his potential successor as their groups scrap for a spot within the play-in situation! That final phrase wasn’t a part of the plan for James and Doncic, however that is the truth for the Lakers and Mavericks because the season nears the halfway level.
Nonetheless, it is a marquee viewing expertise when two of the league’s premier abilities match up, one in his twentieth season and the opposite 23 years previous. Doncic has matched up with James, considered one of his idols whereas rising up in Europe, eight occasions, with the Mavs successful solely two of these conferences.
— Tim MacMahon
Milwaukee Bucks at Boston Celtics 5 p.m. ET (ABC/ESPN)
The Bucks and Celtics will meet for the primary time since their seven-game collection within the second spherical of final season’s playoffs, throughout which Boston prevailed en path to an look within the NBA Finals.
Milwaukee and Boston seem on a collision course as soon as once more. The groups personal the 2 finest data within the league, and each could have a key participant accessible on this recreation who was absent throughout that playoff collection.
The Bucks could have considered one of their finest perimeter gamers again on the court docket for this matchup after Khris Middleton missed all of final yr’s playoff collection, and the Celtics could have large man Robert Williams III anchoring their protection after a left knee harm in Sport 3 compelled him to overlook the ultimate 4 video games of the collection.
— Jamal Collier
Memphis Grizzlies at Golden State Warriors 8 p.m. ET (ABC/ESPN)
It was just some months in the past that Morant took to Twitter to voice his want for the Grizzlies to face the Warriors on Christmas Day in a rematch of the Western Convention semifinals. Now, his Christmas want is being granted.
The battle misplaced some pizazz when Curry suffered a left shoulder subluxation towards the Indiana Pacers, which is inflicting Curry to overlook “a few weeks,” in keeping with reporting from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
“[It pisses me off] a little bit,” Memphis’ Dillon Brooks instructed reporters final week when requested about Curry lacking the sport. “But I got Klay [Thompson]. I like that matchup a little better, because he was talking a little smack before when we lost.”
However even with out Curry, the vacation fireworks between the Grizzlies’ Morant, Brooks and Desmond Bane and Golden State’s Thompson, Draymond Inexperienced and Jordan Poole ought to result in a worthy subsequent chapter on this budding rivalry.
— Kendra Andrews
Phoenix Suns at Denver Nuggets 10:30 p.m. ET (ABC/ESPN)
Final Christmas, the NBA did not provide the MVP.
This Christmas, we get to see the back-to-back award winner, as Jokic returns to the Christmas Day stage when the Nuggets face the Suns.
Jokic is taking part in a few of his finest basketball, exploding for 40 factors, 27 rebounds and 10 assists on Sunday, becoming a member of Wilt Chamberlain as the one gamers to document such eye-popping numbers.
There’s at all times an opportunity for some Christmas-night drama between the Nuggets and Suns. Phoenix swept the Nuggets in a 2021 second-round playoff collection that ended with Jokic being ejected from Sport 4 after a tough foul on Cameron Payne. Booker and Jokic needed to be separated whereas Jokic’s brothers yelled at Booker from the stands in the course of the mini scuffle.
— Ohm Youngmisuk
NBA on Christmas Day by the numbers
13: Philadelphia and New York will meet on Christmas Day for a document thirteenth time. The 76ers received the newest Christmas assembly, in 2017.
17: LeBron James (the all-time main scorer on Christmas) is ready to play in his seventeenth Christmas Day recreation, which can break a tie with Kobe Bryant for essentially the most in NBA historical past.
24: The Lakers have essentially the most wins on Christmas Day with 24 and will likely be taking part in on the vacation for the twenty fourth straight season.
19: On Christmas Day final yr, the Bucks overcame a 19-point deficit to defeat the Celtics 117-113.
38.3: Ja Morant averaged 38.3 factors towards the Warriors within the first three video games of the 2022 Western Convention semifinals earlier than lacking the ultimate three video games with a knee harm.
1994: The Nuggets’ one victory in seven earlier video games on Christmas Day got here towards the Seattle Supersonics in 1994, when Denver’s roster included ESPN NBA analyst Jalen Rose.