The NBA on Christmas Day

Eva Smith, Staff Reporter

The National Basketball Association (NBA) has been hosting Christmas Day games ever since it was first established in 1947. Millions of people each year tune in to watch arguably some of the most anticipated matchups of the regular season. 

In order to secure the honor of a Christmas Day game, teams must produce a successful season the prior year. The Los Angeles Lakers have played on Christmas 22 consecutive times, with this year being their 23rd. For the Atlanta Hawks, this is their first Christmas Day game since 1989. However many games a team has played on the 25th, these matchups tend to bring out a team’s competitive spirit. 

Games are played all day, giving fans countless viewing options with the first contest starting at 12:00 p.m., and the last at 8:00 p.m. These matchups have had consistent ratings in the past few years. In 2019 and 2020, the most watched games were the Los Angeles Lakers against the Los Angeles Clippers and the Dallas Mavericks with around 8.8 million viewers both years. 

This year, the number one team in the Eastern Conference, the Brooklyn Nets, are taking on the number six team in the Western Conference, the Lakers, in Los Angeles. This powerhouse matchup is the only cross-conference game this year on Christmas. 

The Golden State Warriors are facing the Phoenix Suns at 5:00 p.m. After the Warriors recently broke the Suns’ impressive 17-game win streak, Golden State came out on top of the Western Conference, while Phoenix dropped down to number two. This potential Western Conference championship matchup is one of the most anticipated games of the day. 

Another big Western Conference contest this Christmas is the number seven Dallas Mavericks against the number three Utah Jazz. The Mavericks are looking for a win this year after an upsetting loss to the Lakers last season. 

The Atlanta Hawks are up against the New York Knicks at the renowned Madison Square Garden. Atlanta is ranked eleventh in the East right now, coming off a successful season last year with a run to the Eastern Conference championship. where they made it to the Eastern Conference championship. The Knicks are not far behind them, holding the number twelve spot in the East. 

Last but certainly not least, the number nine Boston Celtics will face the reigning NBA champions, Milwaukee Bucks who currently sit third in the East. The Bucks look to take another win this year after blowing out the Warriors last Christmas. Similarly, the Celtics are ready for a win, after losing to the Nets last year on the 25th. 

With Christmas Day only a little over a week away, teams are gearing up for some big matchups, and NBA fans are excited to tune in to treat themself to a day full of exciting matchups this holiday season.