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NBA Rumors: Suns vs. Nuggets Slated for Christmas Day in Initial Schedule Draft

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVAugust 14, 2022

Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

The Denver Nuggets and Phoenix Suns are expected to join the NBA's loaded slate of games on Christmas Day for the 2022-23 season, according to the Denver Post's Mike Singer and NBA insider Marc Stein.

This is the third game that has been pegged for Dec. 25. Per Stein, the Dallas Mavericks will host the Los Angeles Lakers, and the Memphis Grizzlies and Golden State Warriors will renew hostilities at Chase Center.

Christmas is one of the biggest days on the regular-season NBA calendar, an occasion when the league typically wants to showcase the brightest talents. Therefore, it was somewhat notable when the Nuggets and reigning MVP Nikola Jokic weren't afforded a spot on the card last December.

StatMuse @statmuse

Nikola Jokic is the first reigning MVP to not get a Christmas Day game since the NBA went to 5 games on Christmas in 2008. <a href="https://t.co/C05FQVkZax">pic.twitter.com/C05FQVkZax</a>

History won't repeat itself, and Denver's inclusion is a testament to how Jokic's profile has only grown following his second MVP win. The 6'11" center may not play in a marquee market, but it's impossible to ignore a player who averages 27.1 points, 13.8 rebounds and 7.9 assists while shooting 58.3 percent from the field.

This matchup will also feature two teams that are credible threats to the Golden State Warriors for Western Conference supremacy.

In addition to Jokic, the Nuggets will have Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. back healthy. Denver added some depth by bringing Bruce Brown and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope into the fold as well.

Losing to the Dallas Mavericks in the conference semifinals put a damper on Phoenix's season and exposed the fissure between the team and young center Deandre Ayton. Still, Ayton is back, as are the bulk of the Suns' key players. There's no reason to think the squad will suffer a precipitous decline.

The Nuggets and Suns will both look to establish their contender credentials when they take the court on Christmas in Denver.

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