NBA Christmas Day 2020 Schedule: Game-by-Game Preview and Analysis

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistDecember 2, 2020

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) drives to the basket as Dallas Mavericks' Luka Doncic (77) and Kristaps Porzingis (6) defend during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Dallas, Friday, Nov. 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

The NBA is reportedly set to celebrate Christmas with a star-studded slate that includes the Los Angeles Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Clippers and Brooklyn Nets on Dec. 25.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski shared the tentative schedule for Christmas Day on Tuesday. The action will begin with the Miami Heat hosting the New Orleans Pelicans at 12 p.m. ET:

Adrian Wojnarowski @wojespn

ESPN Sources: Tentative Christmas Day Schedule https://t.co/MId025HKvB

When reporting on the NBA's planned start date for the upcoming season, Wojnarowski and Brian Windhorst emphasized how a quick turnaround wasn't ideal, but it allowed the league to capitalize on its biggest single day of the regular season.

This year's Christmas lineup features a great mixture of title contenders and individual stars.

The Miami Heat unexpectedly reached the NBA Finals thanks in large part to Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo. The Heat didn't go into rebuilding mode after LeBron James returned to the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2014, but they couldn't mount a serious championship challenge over the next few seasons. That changed after Butler arrived, and it might have serious implications for the 2021 offseason, which features a deep free-agent class.

The New Orleans Pelicans are at least a year or two away from being in a position to make a deep playoff run, but Zion Williamson alone makes them must-see television. Watching Williamson battle inside against Adebayo should be a lot of fun.

The Golden State Warriors are still reeling from Klay Thompson's torn Achilles tendon, and his absence will make it tough for them to keep pace with the Western Conference's elite. Perhaps Kelly Oubre Jr. will exceed expectations or Andrew Wiggins will finally break through to supplement Stephen Curry and Draymond Green.

This will be a good test for the Bucks, who added Jrue Holiday this offseason. The abandoned sign-and-trade for Bogdan Bogdanovic still looms large, but Milwaukee still has a stronger supporting cast around Giannis Antetokounmpo as it looks to reach the Finals.

By pitting the Nets against the Boston Celtics, Kyrie Irving should make his long-awaited return to Boston. Irving missed both of Brooklyn's road games against the Celtics last season, but he might relish the opportunity to face his old team, particularly if Celtics fans are unable to welcome him to TD Garden.

Luka Doncic played the Lakers four times in 2019-20, averaging 25.5 points, 9.8 assists and 9.0 rebounds. The first of those four meetings was the best, as Doncic and LeBron James combined to score 70 points and dish out 31 assists in a 119-110 Los Angeles Lakers victory.

This might be the one game NBA fans should make sure to watch on Christmas.

A playoff rematch will serve as the capper.

The Clippers will be looking for revenge after throwing away a 3-1 series lead over the Denver Nuggets in the second round. Nobody will be hitting the panic button four days into the regular season, but L.A. losing to the Nuggets again might raise some eyebrows.

This is also an opportunity for the Nuggets to show their run to the Western Conference Finals wasn't a fluke.


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