Christmas Day marks the unofficial start of the NBA season. Although the season typically begins at the end of October, basketball gets swallowed by the NFL in terms of ratings and attention.
Christmas is such a huge day for the NBA because basketball is usually the only major sport played on December 25. (This year, the Saints and Vikings are scheduled to play on Christmas at 4:30 PM ET.) Christmas and the NBA are similar to Thanksgiving and the NFL. Plus, the season will start on December 22 so Christmas might as well be the official start of the season.
All eyes are on the NBA come December 25, which means it’s a chance for the league to schedule high-profile matchups with their top stars. Below is the tentative schedule for Christmas.
Upon first glance, the biggest story is not that the Lakers are playing, but who they’re playing. LeBron’s played on Christmas Day for over the past decade and the league typically chooses a Finals’ rematch or rivalry. This year, LeBron and the Lakers will take on Luka Dončic and the Dallas Mavericks, which is a huge deal. The NBA is saying that Luka is going to be the guy to carry the torch in a few years so let’s put him up against the guy who owns the title of “Best in the World” for the last 15 years. It’s a bold statement and frankly, I tend to agree with their assessment of Luka.
The other games are good for NBA fans, but average for the casual fan. The first game’s goal is to showcase Zion on national television. The Warriors vs. Bucks is intriguing because of Steph Curry and Giannis Antetokounmpo, but not Klay Thompson hurts this game. The Nets are going to be a must-see thanks to Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. The late game is a rematch between the Clippers and the team that came back from a 3-1 deficit to defeat them in the second round, the Denver Nuggets.
All in all, the Christmas schedule is solid. However, it can be better. Specifically, I can make it better. If I was creating the schedule for Christmas, I’d stick to these three criteria:
- Knicks Must Play
Without further ado, here’s my updated 2020 Christmas Schedule
12:00 PM – Nets vs. Knicks at MSG
The Knicks should play on Christmas Day at Madison Square Garden every year. They can be basketball’s version of the Lions and Cowboys on Thanksgiving. The Knicks have played more Christmas Day games (53) than any other team in the NBA. Pitting the Knicks against the Nets is what’s best for business. Durant and Irving infiltrate Manhattan, which will piss off many Knicks fans like myself since we stupidly believed the duo would team up at MSG. It’s a great matchup for the NBA.
2:30 PM PM – Warriors vs. Bucks
I wouldn’t change this matchup. Curry is the second biggest name in the NBA behind LeBron so it makes sense to put him against Giannis, a guy the NBA hopes becomes an international sensation.
5:00 PM – Sixers vs. Celtics
When the Sixers and Celtics face each other, throw the records out the window. The Celtics have embarrassed the Sixers in two of the last three playoffs. With budding stars like Jayson Tatum, Jalen Brown, Joel Embiid, and Ben Simmons, this game could be a preview of a rivalry that could last the next decade.
8:00 PM – Clippers vs. Lakers
With all due respect to Luka, who I love dearly, the Lakers should play the Clippers. It’s the best rivalry in the NBA because these two teams legitimately hate each other. There so many storylines to dissect. Can little brother ever surpass big brother? The Clippers will be out to prove that Kawhi Leonard and Paul George can coexist after a disastrous ending to their 2020 campaign. The Lakers upgraded significantly and will want to establish dominance in the Western Conference. Montrezl Harrell trading in his black and red jersey for the gold and purple makes this appointment television. The ratings in this game will be the highest of the day. Let the Mavericks play the Lakers on opening night, instead.
10:30 PM – Mavericks vs. Nuggets
Don’t worry, Luka. You can play on Christmas against the Nuggets in the nightcap. The Mavericks and Nuggets are going to be contenders in the West over the course of the next five years. Luka and KP vs. Murray and Joker is a top five duo battle.
What is your ideal Christmas schedule? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us, @unafraidshow.