Welcome to the NBA Christmas Day live blog here at DraftKings Nation! I’ll be your host, Benjamin Zweiman. Along for the ride is DK Nation Staff Writer Ameer Tyree. On this most glorious holiday slate, we’ll be keeping you up to date on all the action, including our latest DFS and betting picks, as well as sweating out our lineups and bets live! We’ve got your normal five-game X-Mas Day classic slate on DraftKings, plus five separate Showdown contests, Tiers and lines on DraftKings Sportsbook. It should be a day filled with joy, presents (hopefully) and plenty of tilting! Come hang!
Ben’s picks against the spread
NOP-MIA: Pelicans +3.5 (-109)
GSW-MIL: Bucks -10.5 (-107)
BKN-BOS: Nets -3 (-112)
DAL-LAL: Lakers -6.5 (-110)
LAC-DEN: Clippers -3 (-112)
Ben’s player props
NOP-MIA: Tyler Herro O2.5 3-Pointers (+100) GSW-MIL: Kelly Oubre Jr. O22.5 Pts + Rebs + Asts (-103)
BKN-BOS: Kyrie Irving O4.5 Assists (-167)
DAL-LAL: LeBron James to Record Triple-Double (+445)
LAC-DEN: Jamal Murray O2.5 3-Pointers (+118)
Ameer’s picks against the spread
NOP-MIA: Pelicans +3.5 (-109)
GSW-MIL: Bucks -10.5 (-107)
BKN-BOS: Nets -3 (-112)
DAL-LAL: Mavericks +6.5
LAC-DEN: Clippers -3
Ameer’s player props
NOP-MIA: Lonzo Ball O11.5 Pts (-118) GSW-MIL: Donte DiVincenzo O2.5 assists(+115)
BKN-BOS: Tristan Thompson O7.5 rebounds (-129)
DAL-LAL: Luka Doncic to record Triple-Double (+275)
LAC-DEN: Paul George over 3.5 3-pointers (+125)
Dallas Mavericks vs. Los Angeles Lakers live updates
Final: LAL 138, DAL 115 — Well, this game was at least high scoring ... Too bad it wasn’t competitive! That makes 4 games that ended in a double-digit deficit on Christmas. TAKE US HOME CLIPPERS AND NUGGETS! Just kidding, if any game will be close, Clips-Nuggs has a chance. LeBron didn’t get us a triple-double like he said he would as a X-Mas present. I’m 3-0 on spreads the past three games though. We’ve got Clippers -3 in the late game, so naturally they’re going to blow out the Nuggets and cover easily.
Third Quarter update — Snoooooooooooze .... The Lakers are up 99-85 after three quarters and I’m just hoping LeBron fulfills his Triple-Double prop. He needs 4 boards and 1 assist in the fourth to do it. The thing is, he probably won’t play much longer unless the Mavs make it a game. The ankle injury lingering doesn’t help. AD has 20 points too and Luka Doncic has 23 points, 6 assists and 4 rebounds.
Ben, Halftime update — The Lakers are up 69-57 at halftime over the Mavericks. So we’re heading toward 4-for-4 on games that will be blow outs on Christmas Day. I don’t know if this is just bad luck or poor scheduling. LeBron and AD are looking more like LeBron and AD with a combined 32 points in the first half. The Lakers bench has 21 points. Doncic has 11 points, 3 boards and 3 assists, but hasn’t really been able to get into a rhythm. It’s not even like the Mavs had a bad half, they just can’t stop AD or LeBron right now.
Ben, 8:56 p.m. — The Lakers look more like the Lakers tonight. After an L in the season opener, the Lakers are playing much better on both sides of the ball. LeBron is working on a double-double with 10 points and 7 assists in the first half. Anthony Davis has 13 points and is much more active. Luka Doncic has been forced to give the ball up more than he’d like and Dallas really needs someone else to step up in order to stay in the game.
Brooklyn Nets vs. Boston Celtics recap
Final: BKN 123, BOS 95 — Irving stole the show with a game-high 37 points to go along with 6 rebounds, and 8 assists. He was 13-of-21 on the field and dominated in his revenge game. I can’t help but wonder if he burned his stage in TD Garden again before the matchup. Durant chipped in with 29 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists.
Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum scored 27 and 20 points, respectively. Brooklyn couldn’t keep up on offense though. On the bright side, the Nets covered while both Kyrie and Thompson hit the overs on their prop bets.
Ameer, 7:28 p.m. — Thompson hit the over with 8 rebounds before the Celtics got blown out and the Nets are gonna cover. Not a bad way for me roll into the last two games of the night.
Ben, Third Quarter update — I thought there would be more scoring in this game, so I had a few lineup stacks for BKN-BOS. The Celtics aren’t really coming through for us and most of the Nets usage is on Kyrie and KD. Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum have 18 a piece but that’s about it for Boston. There’s still time, but the later games may be the key to the DFS slate today. Nobody has really broken things open other than Zion earlier on. The Nets are up 86-77, so the spread is looking good heading into the fourth.
Ameer, 6:54 p.m. — I faded this game completely in DFS but every second I watch I regret not playing KD or Kyrie over Giannis. Tristan Thompson could still hit his rebound over despite racking up three fouls in the first quarter though, so maybe he’ll come through.
Ben, Halftime update — The Celtics carry a 54-51 lead over the Nets into halftime at TD Garden. Tatum has 12 points and 9 rebounds and really got it going at the end of the second. Kyrie Irving also came alive and had 17 points and 5 assists in the half. Both teams are playing very slow and very tight, so right now we may be staring down the under.
The live line is 218.5 after being around 230 before tip-off. My Kyrie Irving prop bet already hit at O4.5, though there wasn’t a ton of juice on it, pretty safe play. Thompson has 4 boards and is halfway to hitting for Ameer.
Ben, First Quarter update — The Nets have a 4-point lead after the first. The Celtics were awful on offense, shooting around 30 percent from the floor. Credit the Nets defense, which has been great through five quarters this season. Kevin Durant did a nice job guarding Jayson Tatum. KD leads Nets scorers with 6 points but behind him the scoring sort of evens out. We got a glimpse of the Brooklyn second unit briefly in the first. They should take over to start the second quarter.
Ben, 5:17 p.m. — Neither team wants to score early in this game. We’re going to see the O/U total start to go way down. A lot of missed shots. Plus, the Nets can’t clear the glass at all with Durant and Jordan down low. Tristan Thompson and Jaylen Brown are all over the place. The offense is starting to pick up so we’ll see if this becomes the competitive shootout we were hoping for.
Golden State Warriors vs. Milwaukee Bucks recap
Final: MIL 138, GSW 99 — The Bucks picked up their first win of the season and the Dubs drop to 0-2. Giannis doing next to nothing will tilt a lot of people on this slate. He was supposed to go off and really didn’t do much on offense. Milwaukee blew out the Dubs and Giannis wasn’t really needed. If you had some of the Bucks bench as value, that was the way to go. DJ Augustin, Bobby Portis, D.J. Wilson and even Pat Connaughton ended up being OK values.
Khris Middleton had the big game with 31 points for the Bucks. Jrue Holiday finished with 12 points, 6 assists and 4 rebounds. This game was a popular stacking option and it really didn’t pull through because of the blowout. Stephen Curry continued his string of bad games on X-Mas with 19 points and 6 assists. People are expecting Steph to be Steph but this team isn’t like anything he’s played with the past 5-6 seasons.
Our props have not been on point, I’m sorry. Some bad beats and expecting some players to step up (cough cough, Kelly Oubre). The spread for this game was an easy hit. Now we should have a competitive game for once in Nets-Celtics.
Ben, 4:54 p.m. ET — So the Bucks are maybe going to flirt with scoring 150 points on the Warriors. They’re singlehandedly carrying this game to the over! The Warriors are just awful and I don’t know if Draymond Green will make much of a difference. Andrew Wiggins and Kelly Oubre did very little again. Rookie C James Wiseman looked solid again but it was mostly in garbage minutes.
Ameer, 4:32 p.m. ET — Milwaukee is running away with this one and the Bucks should easily cover the spread. It’s not likely that DiVincenzo will get any assists, as there’s no reason for him to check back into this game. RIP to Ben’s over for Kelly Oubre’s points, assists, and rebounds.
Ameer, 4:19 p.m. ET — I guess Giannis wants to be a bad DFS option all season. He’s rostered at a high enough percentage (26.31) in the Milly Maker to not kill my chances but I was hoping he could be a stud capable of carrying me. Ar least I can bank on Brad Wanamaker and Pat Connaughton to get garbage points if the Bucks get a blowout. I still believe in the takedown though.
Halftime update — The biggest takeaway from the first half is that Khris Middleton has decided to be unstoppable. The swingman leads all scorers with 21 points on 7-of-11 shooting to go along with a pair of rebounds and an assist. Giannis has been quiet offensively with 6 points but also has 8 rebounds and a pair of assists. Curry has a team-high 15 points for the Warriors but James Wiseman is right behind him with 14 points of his own. The Warriors trail 66-56.
Ameer, 3:36 p.m. — DiVincenzo is off to a hot start shooting with 11 points on 4-of-7 shooting but has yet to drop a dime. The Warriors are looking a lot better on defenses today and have managed to play against one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference competitively. We’ll see how long that lasts.
First-quarter update — The Buck have amassed an 8-point lead and are up 33-25. Khris Middleton leads all scorers with 10 points and is trailed by Stephen Curry and James Wiseman. Giannis is doing a little bit of everything with 6 points, 4 boards, and an assist.
Ben, 2:52 p.m. — We missed a bit of the Bucks-Dubs start. Milwaukee is out to a five-point lead early on and Giannis Antetokounmpo is actually not that chalky on the slate. He’s only 26.3 percent owned in the Milly Maker on DraftKings.
New Orleans Pelicans vs. Miami Heat recap
Final: MIA 111, NOP 98 — Well, the Pelicans came within 4 points and then somehow lost by double digits. Ingram just disappeared, going scoreless in the fourth quarter. He finished with 28 points. Zion was the only one doing anything in the last frame and he finished with 32 points and 14 rebounds in his first X-Mas Day action.
The Heat lost Butler but were still able to get their first win of the season. Credit to Dragic and the bench, especially Precious Achiuwa. The trio of Dragic, Bradley and Achiuwa combined for 41 points. Ameer and I did not do so well in this game, haha. Both spread picks were off and both props just missed. Herro had a poor shooting game but still didn’t get many great looks from outside and came 1 trey short of hitting the prop. Let’s get back on track with Bucks-Dubs.
Ameer, 3:01 p.m. — I never imaged that the Pelicans’ starting backcourt would combine for 11 points. At least I can be happy about Leonard scoring 9 points to my DFS lineups. We’re not off to a good start on the betting side of things.
Ben, 2:34 p.m. — The Pelicans trail by 4 points so we’re getting very close to a crazy 3.5-point cover if they can keep this close. Remember, NOLA trailed by as many as 23 points in this game. Nice that we get some competition and a decent sweat. It’s still too early to tell with DFS lineups but I’ve got a few with Zion and Ingram that are in decent shape.
Ben, 2:22 p.m. — The Pelicans have it down to a 6-point game, the smallest margin since the second quarter. JJ Redick just became the player with the most treys on Christmas Day in NBA history. As for the tilt fest, it’s still early, but Eric Bledsoe and Jimmy Butler might be the most tilting plays of the day. Butler gets hurt after playing and Bledsoe was one of the chalkier plays on the slate, for some reason.
Ameer, 2:07 p.m. — New Orleans is battling back and only trail by 11 points heading into the final frame. Robinson tied a Christmas Day record by making his seventh three and I regret not playing him every second. Here’s to hoping Lonzo finds his shot and Leonard doesn’t foul out three seconds into the fourth quarter.
Ben, 2:07 p.m. — Don’t look now, but we’re getting closer to covering the 3.5 point spread! The Pelicans have cut the lead down to 9 points thanks to Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson. Ingram banged a 3-pointer before the quarter ended and he leads all scorers with 28 points. The Duncan Robinson 3 count is up to 7 and he’s got 21 points. Miami is sort of staying afloat but for how much longer? Tyler Herro needs to hit 2 more outside shots for my prop to hit. Ameer needs 6 points out of Lonzo Ball in the fourth.
Ben, 1:49 p.m. — So a lot has happened in the second half. Jimmy Butler’s ankle injury flared back up and he won’t return to the game. The Heat are still maintaining a pretty big lead over the Pels. So Butler is going to sink a ton of lineups in all contests. He was only 13.1 percent owned in the Milly Maker, lineups maybe scared off because of that ankle. Miami holding Butler out may have something to do with the score as well.
Butler finishes with 20.5 DKFP, which isn’t what you want. The Pelicans are also on a big run and the lead is down to 11 points. Zion is crushing it with 24 points and 10 rebounds. Ingram is up to 20 points as well. Butler finished with 4 points, 5 assists and 6 rebounds in 16 minutes.
Halftime update — The Pelicans have cut the Heat lead down to 13 and Miami is only up 66-53 at halftime. Zion and Ingram are up to 16 points each and are carrying the Pelicans back into this game. Duncan Robinson is up to 18 points and 6 made 3-pointers.
Ameer, 1:10 p.m. — Hey guys, I’m here! So it seems like the Heat want to run away with this game and the Pelicans will have to pick things up considerably in the second half to cover the spread. On the bright side, Lonzo Ball has scored 6 points on three shots and is halfway to 11.5. Meyers Leonard is coming through for me in DFS and has tallied 9 points with a board and an assist in 13 minutes. He does have three fouls sp I’m hoping he can avoid hacking Zion to stay in the game.
Ben, 1:08 p.m. — Don’t look now but Zion is sort of taking over. He’s got 12 points in the second and the Pels are kind of going on a mini-run to cut into this lead. It’s now 61-46 Heat and Zion has 16 points and 7 rebounds for 25.75 DKFP. I liked Zion a lot today and have a decent amount of expo in Tiers.
Ben, 1:03 p.m. — Ayyyy Herro is on the board! The Heat are running away with this one. Looking like it’ll be over early. If that’s the case, we could see some garbage minutes for guys off both benches. Precious Achiuwa has looked good for the Heat. Moe Harkless and Kelly Olynyk haven’t entered the game. The Dragic-Avery Bradley-Iggy combo off the bench has been an issue for NOLA.
Ben, 12:52 p.m. — Robinson banged another 3-pointer and is up to 15 points. Goran Dragic has been a spark plug off the bench for the Heat, who are now up by double digits in the second quarter. Dragic is up to 19.5 DKFP and was actually at around 20 percent ownership in the Milly Maker. We should have known after Charles Barkley slandered the Heat that they’d show up in this spot. Miami is picking apart the Pelicans are NOLA doesn’t know what to do to stop it. Heat lead 46-32.
Pelicans +3.5 ..... do we just forget about this Game 1 and move onto Dubs-Bucks?
Ben, 12:42 p.m. — Duncan Robinson is heating up. He’s got 4 3-pointers so far and is leading all scorers with 12 points. The Heat lead 29-26 after the first quarter. Both Ameer and I had Pelicans +3.5, so this could be worse. This looks like a game that will likely go down to the wire unless one team pulls ahead. Herro maybe should think about attempting a shot to help my player prop hit in this game ...
The live line is Heat -4.5 and the total has dropped down to 219.5 after being up around 230. The pace sort of picked up with the second unit, but you can see Miami likes things to stay in the half court set. Plus, the Pelicans do have a much better defensive team than last season.
Ben, 12:33 p.m. — Steven Adams is getting it going with a couple easy buckets and he’s up to 6 points for the Pels. Meyers Leonard could become one of the better tournament plays on the slate. He’s at 4.3 percent ownership in the Milly Maker and is closing in on 3x value with 9.25 DKFP. Jimmy also looking like a good leverage play after the injury news. He’s up to 13.75 early on. The Eric Bledsoe chalk is going to bust really hard though, which you love to see!
Ben, 12:24 p.m. — The Pelicans are out to an early 15-9 lead thanks to a lot of turnovers for the Heat. Tyler Herro hasn’t looked good so far either and isn’t being aggressive at all. Zion and Brandon Ingram have 12 of the Pels 15 points so far. Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo are a combined 0-for-5 from the floor.
Ben, 12:16 p.m. — I know we’re supposed to be talking about betting and DFS but these Pelicans jerseys, what do we think? They look like Kansas Jayhawks jerseys or something! Let’s see if we can get a pic.
Those city edition warm-ups though pic.twitter.com/Du18bis4JJ— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) December 25, 2020
Ben, 11:47 a.m. — So I don’t know about Ameer, but I’m playing a decent amount of lineup volume today. A lot of Classic lineups (around 40 or so) and then another 20 lineups into the five-game Tiers contest on DraftKings.
Not sure if I want to overreact to the Meyers Leonard ($3,400) starting news for the Heat. I think Kelly Olynyk makes a bit more sense off the bench. Leonard might get into foul trouble. Moe Harkless wasn’t really a play to me to begin with.