The NBA will have five games under the tree on Christmas Day for fans to unwrap and enjoy, featuring eight of the league’s top teams in action.
While the NFL and football have owned the Thanksgiving holiday, the NBA has marked Christmas as an annual showcase of the league’s marquee superstars and teams.
This year’s Christmas slate is highlighted by a must-see prime-time battle of L.A., when the top team in the Western Conference, the Lakers, take on two-time NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard and the Clippers. The Lakers’ superstar duo of LeBron James and Anthony Davis are battling injuries and listed as questionable for tonight’s game, but both are expected to play.
Of the ten teams that will take the floor on Wednesday, eight of them have at least 20 wins. The teams with the four best records in the West and four of the five top teams in the East will all be on display.
The 2019 NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks own the best record in the league at 27-4 and will match up with fellow Eastern Conference power, the Philadelphia 76ers at 2:30 p.m. ET.
|Celtics at Raptors||12 p.m.||ESPN|
|Bucks at Sixers||2:30 p.m.||ABC|
|Rockets at Warriors||5 p.m.||ABC|
|Clippers at Lakers||8 p.m.||ABC|
|Pelicans at Nuggets||10:30 p.m.||ESPN|
Here’s what you need to know about today’s schedule of Christmas Day games.
Boston Celtics at Toronto Raptors, 12 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Two of the top teams in the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference get things underway on Wednesday when the defending NBA champion Raptors (21-9) face the Celtics (20-7).
Kemba Walker, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown headline a Celtics squad who have won three in a row and have gone 7-2 in the month of December.
Kyle Lowry will lead a short-handed Raptors team, who will be without the services of their two big men, Pascal Siakam and Marc Gasol, who are out with injuries.
Milwaukee Bucks at Philadelphia 76ers, 2:30 p.m. ET (ABC)
The Milwaukee Bucks (27-4) have won 21 of their last 23 games and come into Christmas Day with the NBA’s best record for the second consecutive season.
The league’s reigning MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo, is off to a flying start this season, averaging 31 points, 12.9 rebounds and 5.6 assists per game.
Antetokounmpo will have his hands full on Wednesday afternoon, as he’ll go head-to-head with one of the league’s best big men – the Sixers’ (22-10) Joel Embiid, who is averaging 23 points and 12.6 rebounds per game.
Houston Rockets at Golden State Warriors, 5 p.m. ET (ABC)
On paper, a rematch of four hotly-contested playoff series between the Warriors and Rockets from the last five seasons was a top-notch matchup for Christmas Day coming into this season.
However, the five-time reigning Western Conference champion Warriors have been ravaged by injuries to begin this season and sit at the bottom of the conference with a record of 7-24.
Steph Curry will miss this Christmas Day game, as he continues to rehab a broken hand that he suffered at the beginning of this season.
The Rockets (21-9) have been on a tear as of late, winning four in a row and six of their last seven. James Harden is playing out-of-his-mind basketball, averaging 38.6 points per game through the season’s first couple of months.
Los Angeles Clippers at Los Angeles Lakers, 8 p.m. ET (ABC)
The STAPLES Center will be rocking on Christmas night when the Lakers take on the Clippers, in a rivalry that was reignited this offseason when Anthony Davis joined LeBron James and the Lakers and Kawhi Leonard and Paul George came aboard with the Clippers.
Both teams are off to phenomenal starts, although the Lakers (24-6) have dropped their last three and the Clippers (22-10) fell to the Thunder their last time out on Sunday.
Davis and James have been everything Lakers fans had hoped for to begin this season, averaging 27.9 and 25.8 points per game, respectively.
The Clippers took down the Lakers on an electric opening night, 112-102, and I’ve had my calendar circled for this date ever since. Buckle up folks, you are not going to want to miss this one!
New Orleans Pelicans at Denver Nuggets, 10:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)
To cap the day, the Denver Nuggets (21-8) will be hosting their first Christmas game since 1994, as they take on the New Orleans Pelicans (8-23).
The Nuggets have won seven straight and are off to their best 29-game start in franchise history.
Over the summer, this game looked like it could be a coming-out party on Christmas night for Pelicans’ rookie phenom Zion Williamson, but he is still recovering from knee surgery and will not be suiting up.