The NBA’s Christmas Day schedule for the 2019-20 season has been set, as ESPN relays. Let’s examine each of the matchups:
Milwaukee Bucks at Philadelphia 76ers
Milwaukee made the Eastern Conference Finals last season and Philadelphia was a Kawhi Leonard miss and an overtime win away from meeting Giannis & Co. there. The two teams are expected to top contenders in the east and December 25 could be a preview of the 2020 edition of the conference finals.
Boston Celtics at Toronto Raptors
Fresh off a championship, the Raptors will play in their first Christmas Day game since 2001. Toronto no longer wields the same championship ceiling without Leonard, though the team should be competitive during the 2019-20 season. The matchup against Boston, led by new starting point guard Kemba Walker, should be a good one.
Los Angeles Clippers Vs. Los Angeles Lakers
Kawhi Leonard and Paul George vs. Anthony Davis and LeBron James. The Clippers supporting cast, whose strength and depth lies in the backcourt, against the talented, deep Lakers’ frontcourt that includes highflying Kyle Kuzma and former 2-time All-NBA recipient DeMarcus Cousins. Did we mention these teams are also competing for fandom within the City of Los Angeles? (Sorry, Lakers fans, it is a two-team town).
New Orleans Pelicans at Denver Nuggets
Imagine if a year ago, someone had told you that the Pelicans would trade Anthony Davis away during the offseason and still land a Christmas Day game. Unbelievable right? New Orleans’ quick turnaround fueled by hyped No. 1 overall pick Zion Williams and the team’s new young core brought in by new general manager David Griffin (not to mention “MVP Candidate” Jrue Holiday) has landed them a premier slot against the Nuggets, a team that flashed its potential last season before falling in seven games to the Blazers in the WC semifinals.
Houston Rockets at Golden State Warriors
This matchup was highly anticipated heading into the 2019 playoffs where the Warriors with KD were able to knock the Rockets out of the postseason. Much has changed since then. Durant headed east. Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston both left California and D’Angelo Russell found a new home in Golden State (for now). Houston was able to add Russell Westbrook, pairing him with James Harden to form arguably the most dangerous backcourt in the league. Get your popcorn (or Christmas cookies) ready, it’s going to be an entertaining day.