The Xmas Day games highlight glamour markets, elite players, grudges, supposed May or June matchups, huge ratings, players that sell jerseys, shoes, sodas, cars, iconic shotmakers, experienced coaches. In other words, the small market young on the way up players and teams are at home on Xmas. That’s not a bad thing. They get to be with their families on a day off, chilling and eating and unwrapping clothes and testing out new toys with the kids. After eating, it’s a day of NBA basketball.
Just so you know, this is why they are playing on Xmas.
Bucks vs. Knicks
The Greek Freak in Madison Square Garden. The Knicks have no one worth watching but it gets pretty must see tv because of how Knicks nobody Mario Hezonja dunked and then had the nerve to do an Allen Iverson step over on Giannis. Giannis is vowing revenge. Let’s just say when Giannis said, “I’ll punch him in the nuts next time” he meant Christmas Day.
All-Star math: 1. Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Thunder vs. Rockets
No Chris Paul but hey Austin Rivers is in town. The Rockets need 60 points from The Beard to stay in the same stratosphere as Paul George, who is having a monster of a season. Russell Westbrook will do Russell Westbrook fastest guy in the NBA things. And the number one rated defense will smother the Rockets. Useless trivia about this game: it is Eric Gordon’s birthday.
All-Star math: 3. James Harden, Paul George, Russel Westbrook.
76ers vs. Celtics
This was supposed to be a marquee game before the season but the Celtics magic has gone in the tank and they mostly look like a second round playoff loser. Philly isn’t much better. They have to figure out their bench and the Jimmy Butler-Joel Embiid tandem. Oh and this, Markelle Futlz is AWOL.
All-Star math: 4. Kyrie Irving. Joel Embiid. Ben Simmons. Jimmy Butler.
Lakers vs. Warriors
A track meet in Oakland as LeBron, once again, will be humbled by the group from Oakland. The Lakers play fast and are interesting to watch (sort of) but they can’t compete with the skill level of the Warriors. The Lakers young guns are mediocre, inconsistent, passive or how about this, not good enough to compete with the Warriors.
All Star math: 5. LeBron James. Steph Curry, Kevin Durant. Klay Thompson. Draymond Green.
Trailblazers vs. Jazz
By the time this game comes on, the east coast will be in a coma after a full day of eating, drinking, playing with toys, fighting (some families forget it’s Xmas). But SLC will be rocking as Dame comes into town to ruin their day. It’s seems like a fair fight. The Jazz can’t stop Lillard. The Blazers can’t stop Gobert. But Lillard can drop 50 and Gobert can’t.
All-Star math: 2. Damian Lillard. Rudy Gobert.
Those who should be playing on Xmas because, well, they are good, or exciting, or have a player everyone wants to see.
Sacramento. They are must see tv. De’Aaron Fox is a blur and should win Most Improved. The Kings have straight up copied the D’Antoni offense of 7 Seconds or Less. The Kings defense is crappy but so what? It’s offense that stirs the drink. The Kings are 5th in scoring, 2nd in 3-Pt shooting, 6th in assists, 1st in fast break points, 6th in points in the paint. If they could learn how to defend, they’d be a monster. They are on track to do something they couldn’t with Boogie. Get in the playoffs.
Denver. Does anyone care that the Nuggets are consistently winning games and it’s not just their offense. They are playing defense. But for real, Nikola Jokic is a beast. He scores. He blocks shots. He passes. Jamal Murray is arrogant and full of himself and has zero humility but he can get to the rim or shoot the three and will be an All-Star soon. All the pieces in Denver fit.
Toronto: So much for missing the franchise leader in 8 different categories, DeMar DeRozan mid-range iso king. It’s not just Kawhi Leonard changing the Raptors, though Leonard is balling like we all knew he would do. (In San Antonio last year, he was in grudge mode.) But Kyle Lowry is having a career year running the show and Pascal Siakim is worth the price of admission as he slices and drives and murders the rim.
Dallas: The Great White Hype aka Luka Doncic is must see television. We need to see Luka on Xmas. We need to see Luka when it is not Xmas. He is not Larry Bird. But he’s the best not a person of color scorer since Larry Bird was singeing the nets. Sorry Kevin Love. Luka will have his turn on Xmas. This may be his last watching at home.
The Rejects And for Good Reason
Want to ruin Xmas ratings? Put them on Xmas day.
Washington Wizards. Their disaster of a soap opera needs to be far away from mass consumption.
Phoenix Suns. Because Robert Sarver owns them. Because Robert Sarver owns them. Because Robert Sarver owns them. The Lincoln saying, “it’s better to be thought a fool then to open your mouth and remove all doubt” should be tattooed on Sarver’s head. No reason on this earth to compliment him with a prized Xmas Day slot when he can’t find a way to get his team into the playoffs the past 8 years.
Los Angeles Clippers: They are having a good year and Doc Rivers is probably Coach of the Year but they are a defensive team that sends children crying out of boredom.
Memphis Grizzlies: They are like watching paint dry. Love Jaren Jackson Jr. but watching them is akin to taking a sedative. Thank you NBA for saving us.