For NBA fans, the magic number this Christmas is five. That’s right; there are five games on the docket this year. Here’s a perfunctory look at each game.
Philadelphia 76ers at New York Knicks
Philadelphia and New York are both bubble teams in the Eastern Conference. The Knicks hold the eighth seed, and the 76ers possess the 10th seed. Both teams have the same issue- their star player can’t stay healthy. Joel Embiid missed three games in a row with a back injury. Likewise, Porzingis has been battling a sore knee all season. The game should be competitive.
Cleveland Cavaliers at Golden State Warriors
This much anticipated game is a rematch of the last three NBA Finals. NBA critics say they’d like to see a new set of teams in the NBA finals, and these pundits may get their wish. Neither team is leading their conference, which is rather surprising (even though Cleveland finished number 2 last year). One key story line is that (compared to the last NBA Finals), the Point Guard position will look different for both teams. Steph Curry is hurt, and Kyrie Irving is in Boston.
Washington Wizards at Boston Celtics
The Celtics have a lot of things going for them in this one. They are the number 1 seed in the East. Also, they are playing at home. Lastly, John Wall hasn’t been healthy lately. He played against the New Jersey Nets on Friday, and only recorded 10 points and 16 minutes. The Wizards are clearly keeping an eye on his minutes as he recovers from a knee procedure. Wall should be healthy for Christmas, but he’ll have his hands full.
Houston Rockets at Oklahoma City Thunder
The key storyline in this game is James Harden facing off against his former teammate Russell Westbrook. Yet, Oklahoma City has a middling 16 wins so far, and Paul George and Carmelo Anthony haven’t formed the potent triumvirate fans hoped for. Look for the 1st place Rockets to do well on Christmas.
Minnesota Timberwolves at Los Angeles Lakers
The Timberwolves have impressed this year, commanding the 4th place seed in the West. Lonzo Ball has had flashes of brilliance, but he hasn’t put it all together. Look for the 11th place Lakers to admirably defend their home court, but struggle with the explosive Karl-Anthony Towns.
Christmas Day has five exciting NBA games. Which ones are you watching?