Christmas Day calls for presents, eggnog, and basketball. As much as the NFL has tried to hijack Christmas Day in recent years, Santa Claus belongs to the NBA. December 25 is the most important day of the regular season.
Yesterday, the NBA revealed its Christmas Day slate. It will feature 5 games that include the faces of the league.
- Hawks vs. Knicks
- Celtics vs. Bucks
- Warrios vs. Suns
- Nets vs. Lakers
- Mavs vs. Jazz
Some of these games feature blockbuster matchups and budding rivalries. Others leave me with more questions than answers. Here are my biggest takeaways.
The NBA Believes In Trae Young
Trae Young is a budding superstar. Yes, I said superstar. Before this season, Young was considered a “good stats, bad teams” player who elected to shoot 35-foot contested jumpers instead of getting his teammates more involved. An in-season fight with John Collins, the firing of Lloyd Pierce, and the addition of Bogdan Bogdanović made Young a completely different player in the second half of the season, catapulting the Hawks to the Eastern Conference Finals. Young averaged 28 ppg and 9 apg in his first three playoff series. Pretty good for a “chucker.”
Putting Young against the New York Knicks in MSG to kick off the Christmas Day slate is a strong statement from the NBA. The league (and I) believe Young can take his game to further heights and become one of the fifteen best players in the NBA. Young is now eleventh in jersey sales as of July, which is his highest ranking since he’s been in the league. Young became a true heel in the first round against the Knicks. I went to Games 1 and 2 against the Hawks, and Young was the most hated man in the Garden. The Mecca hasn’t generated heat like that since the days of Reggie Miller in the 90s. Don’t expect Knicks’ fans to show Young some Christmas compassion.
Nets vs. Lakers Is The Biggest Matchup Since 2016
As Stephen A. Smith likes to say, “This game is box office.” The Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers were supposed to be on a collision course to meet in the Finals last season. Injuries and Giannis got in the way from those two juggernauts facing off. The Nets and Lakers are the heavy favorites to win the championship so their showdown is the most anticipated matchup of the season. For Christmas, I’m wishing for good health so KD, Harden, Kyrie, LeBron, AD, and Russ can play in the game.
The Mavericks Vs. Jazz Is A Head-Scratcher
Luka Doncic playing on Christmas makes sense. He’s a future MVP and arguably one of the five best players in the game today. So why is Luka playing the Jazz? This doesn’t make sense. Christmas should be reserved for star power and rivalries. The Mavs bring the star power, and the Jazz bring the… what do they bring? I really like Donovan Mitchell. I respect Rudy Gobert more than most fans. However, the Jazz do not move the needle. The Mavs should be playing the Clippers because of their recent playoff history or the Nuggets because of Nikola Jokić. There’s still time to change the schedule, Mr. Silver!
Fantasy Booking Christmas Day
It’s time for me to be Vince McMahon and become a matchmaker. If I’m being honest, most of these games are solid matchups. I would make a few minor tweaks.
- 12:00 PM – Hawks at Knicks – Keep this game. It’s a rilvary with a villain. That’s great television.
- 2:30 PM – Mavs at Celtics – Luka has to play on Christmas. Luka vs. Tatum is a battle for the future face of the league.
- 5:00 PM – Suns at Bucks -The two teams who meet in the Finals should run it back on Christmas.
- 8:00 PM – Nets at Lakers – Box Office. Enough Said.
- 10:30 PM – Clippers at Nuggets – This has some history with the Nuggets coming back from a 3-1 defecit to defeat the Clippers in the Bubble. Kawhi and PG vs. Joker is a fun, enjoyable matchup.
See you all on Christmas.
Do you like the Christmas Day matchups? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us, @unafraidshow.