The greatest day in the NBA regular season has been finalized for the upcoming season and the slate of matchups on deck for this special day is as intriguing as the NBA can get, especially for what could be a season for the ages. I am going to give my thoughts on the games in the order that I think they will take place from early morning to evening as the times have not been made official yet. Let’s get into it!
Bucks vs. 76ers
This was one of the games that I predicted would happen a few weeks ago after Kawhi and Paul George joined the Clippers. These squads should be the top two in the Eastern Conference at this time, thus having this game set the bar for who the better team will be for the remainder of the season. The matchup I am looking most forward to is the battle in the trenches between Al Horford and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Clippers vs. Lakers
The matchup that the sports world throughout the regular season will have one of their four meetings on Christmas Day as expected. The game should take place in the premiere time slot in the afternoon on the East Coast and around noon-ish on the West Coast. Kawhi, Paul George, and Pat Beverley versus LeBron, Anthony Davis, and DeMarcus Cousins. All eyes will be glued to the television and should be their first meeting of the season to up the ante.
Celtics vs. Raptors
The Raptors were the one team that I did not expect could land on Christmas Day after the loss of Kawhi. However, I am intrigued to see where they fit in the Eastern Conference layout. Are they still a conference title contender or will they be a mid-tier, non-contender? Pascal Siakam will be the man to watch as he is now THE guy in Toronto. I would have preferred to see Kyrie Irving, now on the Brooklyn Nets, take on his former team that he left with quite bitterly. Having the game in Boston would have been peak entertainment and Kyrie versus Kemba would have been an epic, 48-minute war.
Pelicans vs. Nuggets
Zion Williamson versus Nikola Jokic? SIGN ME UP. Aside from Zion, the New Orleans Pelicans are still a team that I have on my radar to surprise the NBA and reach the postseason. With the additions of the young trio in Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and Josh Hart, plus veteran leadership in Jrue Holiday and JJ Redick, the Pelicans should be an entertaining team to watch. Denver is the only team, at the moment, that could steal a top-two spot from the Lakers or Clippers. Jamal Murray should breakout into an elite player in the league by then to give us a very exciting late afternoon game.
Rockets vs. Warriors
The Russell Westbrook-James Harden handicap match versus Steph Curry should be quite the show to close out our Christmas celebrations. With the addition of D’Angelo Russell, who currently replaces a recovering Klay Thompson, this game will play out as the three-point shootout we expect(with a lot of misses). It will also give sense into what kind of season Golden State will have and it will be cool to see the Chase Center on the national stage, even though we probably will see it on national TV multiple times prior to Christmas.
So those were my thoughts on the 2019 Christmas Day Games for the NBA. Are you intrigued by these matchups and if you could swap out a matchup or two, which would you insert?