NBA Xmas Day Preview
One of the best days of the NBA calendar is upon us, and we are gifted with 5 games on Boxing Day.
If you can’t sleep after a few too many Christmas puddings, Toronto kick off festivities against the Celtics in Toronto.
The NBA Champs finally get to host a Christmas Day game in Toronto, but will be short on troops, with their main strike weapon Pascal Siakam out in definitely.
It’s a huge blow for Toronto, as well as Siakam, who was playing terrific basketball this season in a lead role with Kawhi now gone.
Boston are playing at an extremely high level, and seem to be all in with Kemba Walker leading a young core of Tatum and Brown around. Boston may also be shorthanded on Christmas Day, with Gordon Hayward and Marcus Smart nursing a couple of injuries themselves.
Philly and Milwaukee are up next at 6.30am AEDT, in what could be a preview of the Eastern Conference Finals. Philly have only dropped 2 games at home this season (both recent in the last week against Miami and Dallas), so they’ll be an extremely tough beat for a streaking Bucks outfit.
Giannis has been nothing short of brilliant this season, and is a short priced favourite to win back to back MVP trophies. He’s had his fair share of help this season with Khris Middleton continuing to play at an all-star level, and some great role players like George Hill, Wes Matthews and Brook Lopez knocking down many from the land of plenty.
Outside of the LA Derby, this game is must see TV.
Going into the start of the season, the next matchup probably would’ve been the marquee game. Unfortunately, the injury bug has hit Golden State hard.
No Curry as well as no Klay for the season, the writing was on the wall from the word go. Draymond Green has been limited this year, as has Dangelo Russell. Definitely not the start this team wanted to the opening of their new stadium this season.
Don’t expect Houston to feel sorry for them on Christmas Day. They’re motoring right now, especially coming off beating the Clippers on the road. Harden and Westbrook seem to have it worked out, and it’s fair to say these two are the most dynamic back court in the league this season.
As you’re about to dig into some leftovers from Christmas Day, don’t go leaving the couch for this next battle, as there is no doubt this is the match of the day!
The Lakers and the Clippers battled on opening night, and the world got to see just how good Kawhi Leonard was, leading his team to an opening night victory without Paul George. Now he gets his best mate back for this one on Christmas Day.
LeBron has got a great deal of help this season too from superstar Anthony Davis, and the two seem extremely motivated to get this Lakers unit a 1 seed, and controlling their own destiny throughout the entire playoffs.
This Lakers unit doesn’t seem all that high on load management (LeBron has been fairly vocal on that), whereas the Clippers have been more than happy playing it safe with Kawhi and PG. The Clippers know well enough that if those 2 are fit and firing going into the playoffs, they’ll be the team to beat.
Here’s hoping you’re still up for one more game, as the Denver Nuggets host the young New Orleans Pelicans, the final game on the Christmas Day bonanza.
This was another game which would have featured two superstars of the game at the beginning of the season, Zion and Nikola Jokic. We are still at the very least gifted with the latter, as the crafty Serbian continues to show how good he can be for this Denver team.
Denver are going about their business under the radar, and will look to lock up a top 4 seed out West when it’s all said and done, and all of that will rely on the play of Jokic and sharp shooting Jamal Murray.
New Orleans are in a rebuild phase after trading away Anthony Davis to the Lakers, but there are some positive signs to work with once Zion comes back.
Brandon Ingram has been outstanding this season (a big chance at winning Most Improved), Jrue Holiday continues to go about his business, and Lonzo Ball’s jump shot is improving game by game.
Hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas and enjoys some Boxing Day hoops!