NBA Opening Night is almost here, set for Dec. 23, but shortly thereafter we get the biggest stage of the regular season - NBA Christmas Day.
The five matchups feature a perfect mix of superstars, rivalries and revenge games to assure NBA fans will be glued to their television on the holiday.
The schedule is as follows:
All times are IST.
- New Orleans Pelicans at Miami Heat, 10:30 p.m. IST (Dec. 25)
- Golden State Warriors at Milwaukee Bucks, 1:00 a.m. IST (Dec. 26)
- Brooklyn Nets at Boston Celtics, 3:30 a.m. IST (Dec. 26)
- Dallas Mavericks at Los Angeles Lakers, 6:30 a.m. IST (Dec. 26)
- LA Clippers at Denver Nuggets, 9:00 a.m. IST (Dec. 26)
Zion Williamson versus the defending Eastern Conference champions, Stephen Curry versus Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kyrie Irving's return to Boston, Luka Doncic versus LeBron James and the Clippers chance at revenge for letting a 3-1 lead slip away to the Nuggets.
Our NBA.com staff discusses which game we're most excited about.
Kyle Irving (@KyleIrv_): Santa must be an avid NBA.com reader because he fulfilled the top of my wishlist when our staff discussed which teams we want to see play on Christmas last week.
I cannot wait for the Brooklyn Nets versus Boston Celtics in Boston.
Kyrie Irving missed all four meetings against the Celtics last season because of a shoulder injury but he's expected to be back for the start of the season and it'll be hard to duck the second game of the year, on Christmas, nonetheless. His highly anticipated return to Boston after leaving the Celtics last offseason will not disappoint and even without fans in the stands, I'm sure Irving will feel the pressure of the city weighing down on him.
It's also important to note that back in the summer of 2016, Boston was on Kevin Durant's final shortlist of teams before electing to sign with the Golden State Warriors, so that adds another layer to this matchup.
Durant and Irving versus Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown in a matchup that could be a 2021 Eastern Conference Finals preview - get your popcorn ready.
Gilbert McGregor (@GMcGregor21): The way I see it, it's the meeting between the Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas Mavericks.
It's kind of how Charles Dickens would have written it out.
In LeBron James, you've got the Star of NBA Christmas Past and Present, as he is set to play on the holiday for the 15th time in his 18-year career. He first played on Christmas at 18 years old and now, at 35, has yet to show any sign of slowing down.
21-year-old Luka Doncic is the youngest member of the All-NBA First Team since James and stands to make his Christmas debut in his third season. Luka, who is considered to be a favourite to win MVP this season, is one of two Stars of NBA Chrismas Present and Future taking place in this game, the other being Anthony Davis.
At 27, AD is set to take the floor on Christmas for the third time in his career and in many ways, has his best years lying ahead of him. Davis, Doncic and James represent three of the five First Team All-NBA selections in the 2019-20 NBA season, meaning there will be plenty of star power in action.
As for the matchup, the Luka-LeBron duels rarely disappoint - just last season, we saw an epic overtime duel between Dallas and LA in which both Doncic and James recorded monster triple-doubles.
In his Christmas debut, LeBron held his own against Tracy McGrady. Something tells me that in 17 year's time, we'll be looking back to how Luka held his own against LeBron as he debuts on the Christmas Day stage.
Carlan Gay (@TheCarlanGay): I'm excited to watch all five games on Christmas Day, but the opening game sticks out to me.
Christmas Day in the NBA is when the biggest and brightest stars show out and I was robbed three times of watching Zion Williamson play in person last year so I'm excited to get to see him on the biggest stage (even if it's not in person).
Zion electrified in his short time last season as a rookie and even though he didn't spend much time on the court he still had a year around the league to get familiar and accustomed to NBA life. Now it's time for him to showcase his skills on the court.
Plus what better defensive match for him than Bam Adebayo? Bam feels like a guy who should be able to stop the unstopped force that is Zion.
Also, let's not forget about watching the Brandon Ingram-Jimmy Butler matchup on the undercard.
Throw in a little Tyler Herro and how can you say no?
Like I said every one of these games on Christmas Day should live up to the hype, but Pelicans-Heat has my full attention.
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