The Christmas holiday has become synonymous with the NBA, and the 2017 holiday is no different with five games on national television. NBA Countdown will also air two episodes today, an hour episode at 11 a.m. Eastern on ESPN and the second show at 2:30 p.m. on ABC.
The 76ers and Knicks tip off the day at 12 p.m. Eastern on ESPN. The game has plenty of star power as Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons headline a loaded Sixers roster. For the Knicks, Kristaps Porzingis has continued to emerge as one of the best players in the NBA. The marquee matchup of the day features an NBA Finals rematch between the Cavaliers and Warriors at 3 p.m. on ABC. Cleveland traded Kyrie Irving to the Celtics this past season for Isaiah Thomas, but Thomas is not expected to play on Christmas as he continues to recover from an injury.
The two teams have met in the finals for three straight seasons, but the Cavs have a bit of a new look this time around. While neither team is leading their respective conference, both are contenders to make a fourth straight finals appearance.
Irving and the Celtics take on the Wizards on ABC at 5:30 p.m. Irving’s arrival in Boston has helped make the Celtics one of the top teams in the league, despite Gordon Hayward being sidelined for the season. The Rockets square off with the Thunder at 8 p.m. on ABC in a matchup featuring two teams that received makeovers this off-season. Oklahoma City acquired Paul George and Carmelo Anthony to pair with Russell Westbrook. So far, the results have been mixed, but the Thunder’s roster gives them a chance in the playoffs no matter their seed. Houston’s trade for Chris Paul has helped make the Rockets the best team in the NBA for most of the season.
TNT gets the late night matchup featuring the Lakers and Timberwolves. The game tips off at 10:30 p.m. as Minnesota continues to stay in contention in the Western Conference with the addition of Jimmy Butler. For the Lakers, all eyes are on rookie point guard Lonzo Ball who is starting to hit his stride after a slow start to the season.
Fans looking for the NBA’s signature Christmas Day jerseys may be disappointed. Nike expanded the number of alternate jerseys, and teams are likely to wear one of their alternate uniforms rather than jerseys designed specifically for Christmas.
While Thanksgiving has a long history of being associated with football, the NBA has taken over the Christmas holiday by annually featuring nationally televised games from early in the afternoon to late at night. Given the holiday is on a Monday this year, the NBA does have some NFL competition with two football games. The Steelers take on the Texans at 4:30 p.m. Eastern while the Raiders-Eagles matchup kicks off at 8:30 p.m.
Here’s a look at the full 2017 Christmas Day NBA schedule.
NBA Christmas Schedule 2017
|TIME/TV CHANNEL (ET)
|Philadelphia 76ers vs. New York Knicks
|Cleveland Cavs vs. Golden State Warriors
|Washington Wizards vs. Boston Celtics
|Houston Rockets vs. OKC Thunder
|Minnesota Timberwolves vs. L.A. Lakers