The NBA is known for its amazing slate of Christmas Day games. While the marquee matchups leave something to be desired this year, the most popular teams are still being featured, and a ton of stars are involved in the action.
With 36 former All-Stars, six MVPs and five of the six current top-scoring players in the league involved, it is sure to be an exciting day for casual fans and hardcore hoops junkies alike.
Keep reading to find out where you can catch all the action and some things to watch for in each Christmas Day contest.
|Christmas Day Schedule, TV and Live Stream Info|
|Chicago at Brooklyn||12:00 PM||ESPN||WatchESPN|
|Oklahoma City at New York||2:30 PM||ABC||WatchABC|
|Miami at LA Lakers||5:00 PM||ABC||WatchABC|
|Houston at San Antonio||8:00 PM||ESPN||WatchESPN|
|LA Clippers at Golden State||10:30 PM||ESPN||WatchESPN|
What to Watch For
Chicago Bulls at Brooklyn Nets: Who Isn’t On the Court
These two teams were supposed to be competing for the Eastern Conference crown. Instead, injury and chemistry issues have ravaged each and this game is a shadow of what most had envisioned in the offseason.
The Bulls are absent superstar point guard Derrick Rose, who lasted a mere 10 games after missing more than a year-and-a-half of basketball. The Nets just lost premier center Brook Lopez, who went down with a broken right foot on Dec. 20.
While neither team was performing particularly well before these respective injuries, it has doomed each of their respective chances at making a serious run at a championship.
Expect a low-scoring slugfest that features a lot of ugly basketball and chippy plays. It’s definitely not a game that the NBA should want to lead the Christmas Day marathon with anymore, but it has no other choice at this juncture.
Oklahoma City Thunder at New York Knicks: Can New York Hang?
The Knickerbockers have been one of the most dysfunctional teams of the 2013-14 campaign, and much of the general public will finally see why on Wednesday, especially if Carmelo Anthony can’t go.
The superstar swingman injured his ankle on Tuesday and spoke to the media about his status after the game:
I am walking. I think I caught it before it rolled all the way, but it rolled pretty bad. So we will evaluate everything (Tuesday). The good thing is I am able to walk with a little bit of pain. We will figure it out tomorrow. The pain was just too much. I was actually trying to walk it off to see if I could come back into the game.
If ‘Melo is out, there is almost no chance that the Knicks can hang with the Thunder.
Oklahoma City had won nine-straight before losing to the Toronto Raptors on Dec. 22, and is 18-2 over the last 20 contests. New York hasn’t won two games in a row since back on Dec. 5 and Dec. 6 against the Nets and Orlando Magic, respectively.
With ‘Melo averaging 26.3 points for the home team, he is their only chance to hang with a squad that features Kevin Durant (28.1 points per game) and Russell Westbrook (21.6 points per game) playing at the top of their games.
Don’t be surprised if this is a blowout either way, but things are going to get out of hand if Anthony doesn’t suit up on Christmas.
Miami Heat at Los Angeles Lakers: How Many Points Will Miami Win By?
This game features the Heat at the apex of their current dynasty and the Lakers in the midst of a collapse.
What was once supposed to be Kobe Bryant and his supporting cast going up against LeBron James and his roster of back-to-back champions is now looking like a lopsided affair from the opening tip.
The Black Mamba is out of the lineup with a knee injury that will keep him sidelined for at least six weeks. He was already struggling to adjust upon his return to the court and averaging just 13.8 points, 6.3 assists and 4.3 rebounds in his six appearances.
While Kobe wasn’t expected to be an immediate All-Star after rehabilitating from a devastating Achilles tear suffered the waning days of the 2012-13 regular season, it was definitely painful for Lakers fans to watch the longtime superstar struggle to perform.
It’s also going to be painful to watch this team try to put up a fight without him in the lineup against a Miami team that is set on three-peating and putting its stamp on NBA history.
Expect a blowout battle in which the Heat nab an early lead and never relinquish it as they cruise to a big victory.
Houston Rockets at San Antonio Spurs: San Antonio Looking to Beat an Elite Opponent
The Rockets and Spurs are going to put on what should be the basketball game of the day. These two teams are relatively evenly matched, have the chops to win the Western Conference and are chock-full of star players.
However, unless the Spurs prove that they can win against the league’s best opponents, people will remain skeptical about their chances of getting back to the Finals.
They have lost six times in 2013-14, each coming to a likely playoff team (the Clippers, Pacers, Thunder (twice), Rockets and Trail Blazers all beat San Antonio this year) and have exactly zero big wins under their belt.
If James Harden can’t get back on the court in time for this battle, the Spurs will be heavily favored to win. However, that win won’t be as meaningful or revealing as it could be if it were against a healthy Rockets team featuring its best player in the lineup.
Hopefully Harden gets healthy and ready to play for this one, as it should be the best showdown of the holiday season.
Los Angeles Clippers at Golden State Warriors: Point Guard Showdown
The Clips and Dubs showdown is highlighted by two of the league’s best point guards.
Both players are atop the position in player efficiency rating, with Paul having a slight edge over Curry at this point in the season. That won’t mean much if he can’t help his Clippers beat one of their newfound rivals come Christmas.
There is no love lost between these two opponents, and it should make for some entertaining basketball on Wednesday. Make sure you tune in to this final game, as it will undoubtedly be one of the best of the day.