NBA On Christmas Day Preview

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Koen Samuel, Assistant Editor

Many NBA fans around the league hold the assertion that “the season doesn’t start until Christmas Day.” By this point of the year, teams have played more than a quarter of their games. This is a large sample size and by now the league has taken shape and teams have been seen for what they are and could be. On Christmas Day this year, the league put together five mouthwatering games that are sure to have fans clamoring for something other than a great gift on December 25. 

The first game on the slate sees the Boston Celtics travel north to face the Toronto Raptors. The defending champions are only a game above the Celtics who sit in fifth place. Pascal Siakam is averaging career highs in points, rebounds, assists, and has emerged as the team’s best player this season. The Celtics meanwhile have four players averaging 18 points per game or better. Their balanced scoring attack between Kemba Walker, Jason Tatum, Jaylon Brown, and Gordon Hayward make them dangerous on offense. Expect Boston to have a real chance of stealing this game. 

The second game is the Milwaukee Bucks at the Philadelphia 76ers. These Eastern Conference heavyweights sit in first and second place and this could be a preview of the conference finals. This game comes down to Giannis Antetokounmpo and Joel Embiid. The ‘Greak Freak’ is averaging 31 points and 13 rebounds and once again finds himself in the MVP discussion. He will face a tough test against Embiid, who is averaging 23 points and 12 rebounds. In my opinion, on paper, the 76ers are deeper and playing at home will see them get the win.

The late afternoon game sees the Houston Rockets travel to the west coast to face the Golden State Warriors. Despite the Rockets being one of the only legitimate threats to the Golden State dynasty, the Warriors have seen off the Rockets many times over the last few years, notably in the playoffs. However, this year, James Harden and Russel Westbrook are sure to be the victors. The Warriors, without the ‘Splash Brothers,’ sit at the bottom of the Western Conference. With DeAngelo Russel being the only all star threat to Houston, expect the Rockets to win the game. 

The following game has been the most anticipated game since the wild summer free agency and the opening night of the season, where in the battle for Los Angeles, the Lakers lost to the Clippers. Both teams have had more of a chance to gel together and the big difference is since October 22 have been the returns of Paul George and Kyle Kuzma. These two will add a different dimension to what was an already exciting game. Since then the Lakers have jumped out to the best record in the league, and Anthony Davis and LeBron James have been terrorizing tandem. With the form the Lakers have been in, and the emergence of a great supporting cast, expect them to have a great chance. Combine these things with the return of Kuzma, and this will be the Lakers way of beating Kawhi Leonard and George at Staples Center. 

The final game sees the New Orleans Pelicans take on the Denver Nuggets. Despite a career year for Brandon Ingram, the Pelicans find themselves second to last in the Western Conference. Meanwhile, the Nuggets are fourth in the west but have had some mixed results. Despite this, expect Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray to win this game at home. 

The NBA has had many storylines over the first quarter of the season. But just wait, on Christmas Day, it’s about to get a whole lot more.