The NBA and Christmas Day are virtually one and the same to sports fans as the holiday marks the unofficial “start” to the basketball season. After a little over a month into the schedule, the Christmas Day slate represents a point in the schedule where fans are rewarded with a number of must-watch matchups featuring bitter rivals or projected championship contenders.
This year’s holiday slate is no different, and now that the NBA released the 2022-23 schedule, we preview which games are on the Christmas Day slate and which ones you can’t miss out on.
NBA Christmas Day schedule 2022-23
- Philadelphia 76ers at New York Knicks, 12 p.m. ET, ESPN
- Los Angeles Lakers at Dallas Mavericks, 2:30 p.m. ET, ABC, ESPN
- Milwaukee Bucks at Boston Celtics, 5 p.m. ET, ABC, ESPN
- Memphis Grizzlies at Golden State Warriors, 8 p.m. ET, ABC, ESPN
- Phoenix Suns at Denver Nuggets, 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
The Bucks, Celtics, Knicks, Suns, Lakers, Mavericks, and Warriors will all make their return to the Christmas slate after playing on December 25 last season. The Bucks facing the Celtics sets up a must-watch rematch of their Eastern Conference Semifinals series that went to seven games this past postseason. Elsewhere, after being snubbed of a Christmas Day game last year following his MVP season, back-to-back award winner Nikola Jokic gets to play on the holiday slate this season as the Nuggets welcome Devin Booker and the Suns. Perhaps back-to-back MVP awards shifted the basketball gods in Jokic’s favor.
Continuing the tradition of watching the veteran face the up-and-coming future of the league, LeBron James and the Lakers will travel to face Luka Doncic and the Mavericks. James will look for the Lakers to be on much better footing by the Christmas holiday compared to a season ago, while Doncic aims to carry the momentum following the Mavericks’ trip to the Western Conference Finals last season. With similar playstyles that mirror each other, this game should be entertaining if anything for the star power featured here.
The must-watch game on the Christmas Day slate is arguably in the Bay Area with the Grizzlies facing the Warriors, setting up a rematch of their Western Conference semifinals series. Memphis and Golden State has become a budding rivalry both on and off the court in the past few seasons. The Warriors eliminating the Grizzlies in six games in the playoffs only adds fuel to the fire, as Ja Morant and Draymond Green both quarreled over social media in the ensuing offseason.
Morant and Green each publicly advocated for a rematch on Christmas, and it’s safe to say that the NBA obliged, much to the benefit of NBA fans. Given the trajectory of both teams, the Grizzlies-Warriors matchup may not only be a rematch of the past, but potentially a preview of the future Western Conference Finals to come.