Luke Perrett ’24
Christmas is always a great time for NBA fans. This year, six matches will take place on Christmas Day with stars like LeBron, Curry, Dončić, and Antetokounmpo all suiting up for their respective teams. These games will not only be entertaining, but also important to each team’s position in the standings.
The first game of the day will take place at 11:00 a.m., at the Barclays Center as the Knicks host the 76ers. As of December 17, both teams share a very similar record, sitting just above the .500 mark in the Eastern conference.
PPG leader Julius Randle and Canadian RJ Barrett will look to lead New York to a victory over Joel Embid and James Harden. Due to the sheer struggle in point production from their stars, it is most likely the 76ers will fall short to the Knicks to open the day.
The second game of the day, at 1:30 p.m., sees a struggling Lakers team visit the mediocre Mavericks squad. Lebron has been doing what he’s always done, score, but Anthony Davis has been playing decently as well. Moreover, to Lakers’ fans surprise, Russel Westbrook has improved from last season.
If they can get some depth scoring going for them, it is quite uncontroversial to say that they can take down the one-man show of the Mavericks led by Luka Dončić.
The third game brings us back to the East, where Giannis and the Bucks visit the Celtics at 4:00 p.m. As of December 17, the teams sit in the top two spots in the conference.
Giannis averages 32 points per game, but others like Holiday and Portis have been helping with scoring as well. As for the Celtics, Tatum and Brown have looked great together, but calling Blake Griffin’s play awful would be an understatement. I think with help from Holiday, the Bucks can take down the Celtics.
The fourth game, at 7:00 p.m., will see Ja Morant and the Grizzlies battle with the star-studded Golden State Warriors, whose weakness is their short bench. The Grizzlies sit second in the West, with the Warriors far behind. Curry, Green, Poole, Wiggins, and Thompson will put on a show, and they do have a history of playing well on Christmas Day. So, for that reason, I am going to say that Golden State will take the underdog win.
At 9:30 p.m., to close out the night, the Suns will travel to the Rocky Mountains to take on the Nuggets, a possible Western Conference Final matchup this postseason.
Devin Booker leads the Suns averaging 27 PPG, but five other players including Chris Paul have contributed an average of 10 or more PPG, which has led the Suns to first in the Pacific division. Jokić is averaging 23.5 PPG, Jamal Murray, Aaron Gordon, and Michael Porter Jr. have all averaged over 15 PPG. With three other players who have averaged over ten per game, the strong offence could lead the Nuggets over the Suns.