The NBA Christmas day fixtures for 2021 have been released and as expected, the schedule contains five mouth-watering games.
100s of NBA players are going to train and play hard on the biggest holiday of the year for our viewing pleasure while we snuggle in bed with our families.
— NBA (@NBA) August 17, 2021
But it’s fine, great basketball trumps the guilt, so let’s rank the NBA Christmas day games in ascending order of watch-ability.
5. Dallas Mavericks at Utah Jazz
The Utah Jazz welcomes the Dallas Mavericks to the Vivint Arena in what will inevitably be promoted as a Donovan Mitchell versus Luka Doncic matchup. Other than that, I’m afraid there’s not much else to get excited about unless Kristaps Porzingis can suddenly play basketball again.
In all fairness, we saw what a healthy Jazz team was capable of last season, securing the first seed in a competitive Western Conference. This will be fun to watch, especially if Luka Doncic is in the mood and Mitchell lives up to his reputation as a walking bucket.
The Christmas Day nightcap, per @espn_macmahon: Luka and the Mavs vs. Spida and the Jazz 🍿
The full NBA national TV schedule for opening week and Christmas Day will be unveiled on The Jump at 3 PM ET on ESPN. pic.twitter.com/UYcbsqMSw5
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) August 17, 2021
4. Boston Celtics at Milwaukee Bucks
The defending champions are hosting Ime Udoka‘s (if he doesn’t get fired before then) Celtics on Christmas day.
CHRISTMAS SHOWDOWN: The Milwaukee Bucks will host the Boston Celtics on Christmas Day and will be broadcasted on WKOW. https://t.co/0fBtSN5SiA
— WKOW 27 News (@WKOW) August 17, 2021
The champions haven’t changed much, they don’t have a reason to. Giannis still leads and is supported by Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday. Boston on the other hand has made major modifications like a new head coach, brought back Al Horford and Enes Kanter as well as Dennis Schroder.
Recent encounters between the Bucks and the Celtics have been high-scoring and a Christmas day fixture will only further play into that narrative.
3. Golden State Warriors at Phoenix Suns
Stephen Curry and the Warriors are going to be in the home of last season’s finalists, the Phoenix Suns, and from a basketball standpoint, this is the one.
If everyone plays at the level expected of them, this will feel like an All-star game, fans at the Valley are in for a treat. Imagine Steph and Klay Thompson (if he doesn’t suffer another injury setback), shooting like we know they can, against Devin Booker and Chris Paul as we saw them last season, very watchable.
"We can help get him over the hump and get him back out on the court.”
— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) August 13, 2021
The Suns will be aiming for another crack at the Finals while the Warriors are hoping to once again become a force to reckon with after failing to even make the playoffs last season.
2. Atlanta Hawks at New York Knicks
I admit this matchup isn’t the strongest in terms of star power but this ranking is based on watch-ability and based on what happened last season, Atlanta vs New York is quite watchable.
It’s a repeat of the feisty Eastern Conference first-round matchup from last season which the Hawks won in five games. Trae Young infuriated Madison Square Garden by simply being good at basketball and the Knicks didn’t have the talent to match him.
Trae Young THRIVED against the Knicks as the villain of New York 😈
– Averaged 29.2 PTS and 9.8 ASTS
– Scored 30+ in every game in the Garden
– Game winner in Game 1
– Ended the show with an iconic bow
DIFFERENT 🤫 pic.twitter.com/8CmwblT4Cx
— Overtime (@overtime) June 3, 2021
But having added Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier to their backcourt, they now do. This has become a much more balanced fixture. The Atlanta Hawks haven’t played on Christmas day since 1989 which is a big reminder of how good they were last season.
1. Brooklyn Nets at Los Angeles Lakers
The Brooklyn Nets will be spending Christmas day in LA as they play against the Lakers in what is most likely a rehearsal for the NBA finals. This matchup ranks number one because it offers the most star power, a large number of All-stars, and future Hall of Famers will be on display.
It will be interesting to see which ‘big three’ prevails, is it LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and recent addition, Russell Westbrook of the Lakers. Or will it be Brooklyn’s ensemble of Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving who should have better chemistry after a year together?
This will be the Lakers’ 23rd consecutive Christmas day fixture, and the 15th straight for LeBron James who has scored 383 total points on December 25th.
LeBron James will play his 16th Christmas Day game, tying him with Kobe Bryant for the most in NBA history.
— Micah Adams (@MicahAdams13) August 17, 2021
He will surpass Kobe Bryant as the all-time highest Christmas day scorer if he scores at least 13 points against the Nets, call him LeSanta because he always delivers on Christmas day.