Christmas Day and the NBA: The two go together like mistletoe and wine. It’s a sporting holiday to rival Thanksgiving and the NFL.
The season is long, but Christmas is a great time for more casual fans. You already have an idea of who has been nice so far this season (and who has been mean). There are five games in a row and they are played at friendly times in the UK. The only problem you face is balancing all of that with family, food, and at some point, sleep.
Full NBA Christmas Day Schedule
- Atlanta Hawks vs New York Knicks – Sky Sports Main Event & Sky Sports Mix at 5 p.m.
- Boston Celtics vs Milwaukee Bucks – Sky Sports Main Event & Sky Sports Mix at 7:30 p.m.
- Golden State Warriors vs Phoenix Suns – Sky Sports Mix at 10 p.m.
- Brooklyn Nets vs LA Lakers – Sky Sports Mix at 1 a.m.
- Dallas Mavericks vs Utah Jazz – Sky Sports Mix at 3:30
This is why a ranking of the least important games to the most important of Christmas Day is necessary. You might not be able to watch them all, but knowing which games to tune in for can help you plan the rest of your party fun. There are, of course, caveats – you might be a fan of the specific teams that play – but in terms of significance for the rest of the season, playoff positioning and momentum building, the standings works like this:
5. Celtics vs Bucks, Sky Sports Main Event & Sky Sports Mix – 7:30 p.m.
Despite a slow start, defending champions Milwaukee Bucks are back to fight for a top spot in the Eastern Conference standings, thanks to a return to decent health. No one expected the Bucks to come out of the gates after a final victory anyway, and even after losing eight of their first 14 games of the season, few worried about where they would be by the time. end of the season.
In the opposite position are the Boston Celtics. They need this victory. A lot of people had high hopes for the Celtics at the start of the season, but new coach Ime Udoka has his work cut out for him. They have also faced injuries and issues related to Covid, and Jayson Tatum is one of them, now having to use inhalers during some matches. This means he has irregular periods or passive play on the perimeter – despite being one of the game’s top scorers in the fourth quarter – and teammate Jaylen Brown has been in and out of the roster with hamstring injuries.
It feels like a lost season for Boston. There is still time to turn the tide, but they were below .500 and came out of the playoff race more than they were. The Eastern Conference is better than it has been in previous years, and the Celtics just haven’t improved to keep pace.
For this reason, the Celtics-Bucks match is a game that can take place in the background of all the festive fun. It’s the second game on Christmas Day, so if someone wants to watch a movie or if you’re in the kitchen mopping up some gravy, you can second screen or keep tabs on the score on Twitter.
4. Hawks vs Knicks, Sky Sports Main Event & Sky Sports Mix – 5pm
Following last year’s respective playoffs, the 2021-22 season was a disappointment for the New York Knicks – who missed out on the off-season acquisitions of Kemba Walker and, to a lesser extent, Evan Fournier – while that the appearance of the Atlanta Hawks Conference Finals looks a bit like fluke.
What keeps this game from being at the bottom of the Christmas game standings is the rivalry these teams built up last season. That alone should make it an entertaining game, even if it isn’t as important as it might have been had they kept the 2020-21 momentum going.
Right now, the two teams are competing for a spot in the play-in playoff game at the end of the regular season. Hopefully health will be on their side, but the truth is, the Hawks have rotation issues – too many good players can be a tough thing to deal with – and the Knicks are just worse off than last year.
If you watch this one you’re going to have some feast and hopefully fireworks, although the game can be a bit meaningless in the grand scheme of things.
3. Mavericks vs Jazz, Sky Sports Mix – 3h30
The Utah Jazz may be the best team in the NBA, but we’ve heard it all before. It was about time they showed it on a big stage.
For several seasons now, the Jazz have been one of the best contenders, or the team with the best track record, or the group ready to take the next step … it’s getting boring. So a big win on a milestone date in the calendar could help generate the buzz their record deserves.
To be fair, people were saying similar things about the Milwaukee Bucks before they won a championship. That’s just how people talk about teams that are contenders for multiple seasons in a row – we just want more.
But Utah has allowed one of the fewest points per game this year, so they do it on defense – thanks to Rudy Gobert and a good system built around his strengths and weaknesses. And they are scoring some of the most points in the league thanks to Donovan Mitchell becoming a superstar, backed by a strong and diverse roster backing him.
They will face a team that is arguably underperforming. Much has been written about Luka Doncic’s lack of fitness heading into the season, but the Dallas Mavericks just don’t have a team around him to win 50 games.
They’re floating down the playoff hunt and it’s probably time to make some sort of move if they want to move up the standings – they’ll need this win to help them stay close to the playoffs. The second half of the season should be better, just for health and hopefully improvement under new coach Jason Kidd – which has had virtually no impact so far. But if they can bring in a player who can help relieve Doncic, it could help the Mavericks have a playoff run.
Both teams have something to play here, and if you’re a fan of either team, this could be the second most important game on Christmas Day.
2. Nets vs Lakers, Sky Sports Mix – 1 a.m.
Remember when we thought seeing Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James finally join forces as a team would be a dream come true after 19 seasons? Well, it’s more like the time James teamed up with his other Banana Boat friend, Dwyane Wade – the second time in Cleveland: The dream was better than the reality.
Part of this is because Anthony was also joined by other alumni Dwight Howard, Rajon Rondo, Trevor Ariza, DeAndre Jordan and traded all of their youth and perimeter defense for a Russell Westbrook. , rapidly aging and declining. They look old and without much structure, so the trade deadline and redemption period will be interesting now that the Lakers have no more assets to trade.
After a slow start, there was a general acceptance that no one should really judge how good the LA Lakers are until 2022, so a game on Christmas Day would be a good time to make a statement.
The only problem is that the Lakers face the Brooklyn Nets. They were also slow at the start, but they still spent much of the season at the top of the Eastern Conference – top talent being at the peak of their careers, rather than at the end, making the difference. . Even without Kyrie Irving and not 100% James Harden – along with the poor performance of an old Blake Griffin and injuries to Joe Harris – the Nets still show an ability to flip the switch, thanks to Kevin Durant and, strangely enough, LaMarcus Aldridge – who has had a drink at the Fountain of Youth since retiring for health reasons last year.
Brooklyn needs those wins to maintain momentum and stay ahead of the rising Milwaukee Bucks if they are to secure a field advantage throughout the playoffs. And a partial return Irving could help them maintain that buffer, but for now – for both teams – every game counts.
1. Warriors vs Suns, Sky Sports Mix – 10pm
The two games the Golden State Warriors and Phoenix Suns have played so far this season have been worth every penny, even with Suns shooting guard Devin Booker sitting on one.
These teams are vying for a seed in the Western Conference, and each having won a game each, the winner of the Christmas Day game could therefore benefit from a much-needed tie-breaker at the end of the season.
Stephen Curry and Chris Paul will be on many people’s MVP ballots so far, and they have led their teams to long winning streaks and elite records.
They have contrasting styles: the Warriors lead shooters across screens and still play relatively small with Draymond Green in the middle when it counts; the Suns have two midrange assassins and a traditional big one that can roll to the edge and play back to the basket in DeAndre Ayton. This will help make it one of the most entertaining Christmas games.
For UK-based NBA fans this will start around 10 p.m. which is pretty much manageable, but after a long day of eating and socializing you might want to take a nap at the in advance in case the overtime is exceeded, as this will be a must. TV.
Enjoy a Christmas Day deal of five live NBA games on Sky Sports – click here for a full list of games and start times.