NBA During the Holiday Season

Aidan Lohmeyer, Staff Reporter

As the holiday season is just around the corner, many fun sports traditions always come with it. There is one, however, that has been going on for 75 years and is only becoming more popular. The National Basketball Association (NBA) is known for having its famous Christmas Day games, playing anywhere from one to five events throughout the course of the holiday.

Although the games during the holiday count no more than usual games, there is a different atmosphere in the air. Everyone is in a good mood and the more lighthearted feel for both the players and those watching at home is one of the main reasons these games have become such a positive and memorable yearly pastime.

“I think Christmas games are way more fun to watch because I have always watched them with my family and it has become a fun tradition every year,” Junior Keegan Westhoff said. 

There have definitely been some memorable moments over the 75 years of holiday games, with arguably one the best NBA Christmas showdowns of all time coming between the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers in 2011. The Bulls rallied from an 11 point deficit in the final four minutes with the win being sealed by a go ahead jumper from star Derrick Rose. 

An honorable mention for another great Christmas game goes to the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers in 2013. A blocked shot by the Warriors Klay Thompson and a contested Clippers three pointer in the final second that ultimately ended up short led the Warriors to a victory that is still remembered today. 

The NBA has a record high five games on slate for the 2022 Christmas schedule:

The first game will be played with the Philadelphia 76ers and New York Knicks facing off at 12 p.m. ET. It will be available to watch from home on ESPN. This matchup should be entertaining with both teams’ records within one game of each other. The 76ers will look to rely on stars James Harden and Joel Embiid to take down the Knicks on Christmas Day. 

Second on the holiday schedule will be the Los Angeles Lakers taking on the Dallas Mavericks at 2:30 p.m. ET. The Lakers have been off to a disappointing start sitting at third in their division at 10-14. The Mavericks, also in the middle of the pack at 13-11. This game will put some of basketball’s biggest names on the big screen with Dallas’ Luka Doncic facing off against the Lakers’ LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Look for some highlight reel plays in this big showdown available to watch on ABC. 

Late in the afternoon the Milwaukee Bucks meet the Boston Celtics at 5 p.m. ET. This game will be the first holiday game between two elite teams sitting at 18-6 and 21-5, respectively. Two- time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo will look to take down Jason Tatum’s Celtics in what is expected to be a high scoring affair, also available on ABC. 

On the evening slate, the Memphis Grizzlies will go against the Golden State Warriors at 8 p.m. ET available on both ESPN and ABC. This is making out to be a pretty balanced matchup, with the Warriors sitting at 13-13 and the Grizzlies at 16-9. Big names will again be on display with Steph Curry and Ja Morant both looking for a Christmas Day win. Expect some big time plays in this game. 

Finally, the Phoenix Suns and the Denver Nuggets will meet at 10:30 p.m. ET on ESPN. Two above average teams led by the Suns’ Chris Paul and Nuggets’ Nikola Jokić will clash to finish off the holiday meetings. With both the Suns and Nuggets more than 5 games over .500, the final matchup of the day should be an interesting one.