NBA

Who should play on Christmas Day 2021? Debating feature matchups on the NBA's big day

There's nothing quite like Christmas Day in the NBA.

A marquee date on the NBA's schedule, Christmas Day has recently consisted of a five-game slate of must-see matchups. From the league's best teams to its biggest stars and the best rivalries, you can count on the Christmas Day schedule to have it all.

The 2021-22 NBA season is no different, as an offseason of intriguing moves makes for an interesting landscape around the league.

Ahead of the official release of the NBA schedule, our NBA.com staff shares a few matchups they'd like to see take place on Christmas Day.

Gilbert McGregor (@GMcGregor21): In the spirit of big stars and rivalries, I think Christmas Day is the perfect time for our first look at a meeting between the Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets, centre stage at the Staples Center.

The trio of LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook can go toe-to-toe with Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving, making this the marquee matchup of the day.

As we learned last season, no Finals matchup is ever guaranteed, and with that in mind, this is the next best thing. If these two teams make it through the collision course and ultimately meet again in June, nice. If not, we at least saw them face off on the next biggest stage.

Factor in Brooklyn's Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, plus Los Angeles' Dwight Howard and Carmelo Anthony, and the two teams have over 85 combined All-Star appearances. The NBA's history of the past, present and future would all be represented on the Christmas stage.

Lock it in.

Scott Rafferty (@crabdribbles): Christmas Day feels like the right time for a Finals rematch between the Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns, no?

We're not that far removed from it, but it's easy to forget how much fun the 2021 NBA Finals were. The Suns took a 2-0 lead and seemed to be in complete control of the series, then Giannis Antetokounmpo and company rattled off four straight victories to break a 50-year title drought for the Bucks.

We had the block in Game 4.

We had the steal and alley-oop in Game 5.

And we had one of the greatest individual performances in Finals history in Game 6, with Antetokounmpo exploding for 50 points and 14 rebounds.

Sign me up for more of all that.

Plus, Christmas Day is all about star power, and there's no shortage of talent on the Bucks and Suns. The icing on the cake: Devin Booker has yet to play on Christmas Day in his career. Based on everything we know of him, I'm going to go ahead and assume that he would embrace the moment.

Kyle Irving (@KyleIrv_): I want to see the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Lakers go head-to-head on Christmas Day.

With the Warriors back at full strength, Klay Thompson deserves the spotlight after two years off, and who wouldn't want to watch another iteration of Stephen Curry versus LeBron James?

When you add to it that the new-look Lakers also have Russell Westbrook along with the duo of James and Anthony Davis, they have a roster built for the marquee day on the NBA calendar. And that's not even including veterans like Carmelo Anthony and Dwight Howard, who also have a draw to them.

MORE: How Lakers' new additions complement LeBron, AD?

Draymond Green, Andrew Wiggins and the Warriors' trio of promising young players like Jonathan Kuminga, James Wiseman and Moses Moody brings in another level of intrigue.

Golden State will be looking to get back to being one of the top teams in the Western Conference and this is a matchup that could eventually become a playoff series down the line. Plus, we haven't seen the full-strength Warriors versus LeBron and AD yet, so that's another reason to give this matchup the green light.

The NBA can't go wrong with Lakers-Warriors on Christmas.

Benyam Kidane (@BenyamKidane): I want to see two of the East's younger teams collide on Christmas Day, so give me the Atlanta Hawks and New York Knicks for the early game.

The Knicks, have played the most Christmas Day games ever with 53, but haven't been on the schedule since 2018 and even that team of Mudiay, Hardaway Jr., Knox, Kanter, Vonleh didn't quite fit the bill for a marquee appearance. But things have changed at Madison Square Garden and coming off a 41-win season and their first playoff appearance in seven years, the Knicks are once again must-watch.

Factor in the homecoming of Kemba Walker and the continued growth of Julius Randle and RJ Barrett, it's time for Christmas Day to return to MSG.

MORE: The Knicks plan is beginning to take shape

Christmas Day is all about star power and Trae Young has shown he is well on the way/already there and after his villainous performances at MSG in the playoffs last season, the script writes itself for Young to play the role of the Grinch against the Knicks.

The last time the Atlanta Hawks played on Christmas Day was 1989, one of the longest droughts in the league. After making it to the Eastern Conference Finals last season, they've earned their shot on the big stage.

Yash Matange (@yashmatange2694): My wishlist for the Christmas Day slate is actually headlined by the games Gilbert (Lakers vs. Nets) and Scott (Suns vs. Bucks) mentioned. I wouldn't mind a Knicks vs. Hawks at MSG or in Atlanta to tip things off.

To add to this list, I think two can't-miss superstars that absolutely must play on the marquee day are Stephen Curry and Luka Doncic. They had an entertaining duel last season in Dallas.

Now, imagine that with possibly Klay Thompson back and the Warriors' two lottery picks in Kuminga and Moody.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA or its clubs.

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