Just like Thanksgiving Day is synonymous with NFL games, the NBA on Christmas Day is one of the biggest days of basketball every year. The league tends to feature its top teams and players on this day as there will be many eyes on the product, as such the Los Angeles Lakers tend to be on the slate every year.
This season will be no different as the Lakers will reportedly be heading to Dallas to take on Luka Doncic and the Mavericks in a rematch of a 2020 Christmas matchup which the Lakers won handily. Now, the rest of the NBA’s Christmas slate has been revealed as well.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the burgeoning rivalry between the Golden State Warriors and Memphis Grizzlies will cap off the night, while the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks will kick things off:
Sources: NBA’s 2022 Christmas Day schedule:
Bucks at Celtics
76ers at Knicks
Suns at Nuggets
Lakers at Mavericks
Grizzlies at Warriors
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) August 14, 2022
As tends to be the case, the league has decided to make matchups between either team rivalries or the league’s stars. Bucks-Celtics and Warriors-Grizzlies both went through epic playoff series last season so matching them up on the NBA’s premier day is perfect. Likewise, the 76ers and Knicks have been long-term rivals for decades.
The Lakers-Mavericks is a meeting of the NBA’s premier franchises and biggest stars in LeBron James against Doncic. The two teams have also had some extremely entertaining matchups the last couple of seasons, including last season when an Austin Reaves buzzer-beater gave the Lakers one of their most exciting victories of the year.
The Suns-Nuggets is the most random of the matchups but is likely the league wanting to get reigning two-time MVP Nikola Jokic on the slate while the Suns had the best record in the NBA last season, made the Finals the year before and boast a pair of stars in Chris Paul and Devin Booker.
The NBA has once again done a great job at getting its biggest stars, both older and young, on the screen on Christmas Day. LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Luka Doncic, Ja Morant, Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid and Jayson Tatum will all be seen by a lot of eyes and with premier franchises like the Lakers, Celtics and Warriors playing as well, it should be a fun day of basketball for all fans.
It’s also noteworthy that the Brooklyn Nets are not a part of the slate, which likely means the league believes Kevin Durant and/or Kyrie Irving will be traded between now and then.
Lakers expected to face Clippers on Oct. 20
Many major dates have already been leaked for the Lakers as they are heading to the Bay Area on Opening Night to face the Golden State Warriors on ring night. But their second contest will be one to watch as well.
The Lakers will head back to L.A. to take on their crosstown rival Clippers in the second game of the season, meaning Darvin Ham will get no easy start to his first season as a head coach.
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