The NBA has become a Christmas Day staple.
When basketball fans have had their fill of presents, yuletide and family, they can rely on a marquee NBA game to keep their spirits bright.
This season won’t be any different, according to ESPN. Blending a mix of natural rivals, young superstars and battles of new dynamic duos created by one of the most entertaining offseasons in recent memory, there is sure to be a game for every NBA fan.
Here are five reported Christmas Day games:
- Los Angeles Clippers vs. Los Angeles Lakers
This Staples Center showdown will highlight the NBA’s biggest surprise duo when Southern California natives Kawhi Leonard and Paul George take on LeBron James and Anthony Davis. If James participates, he will pass Shaquille O’Neal, Dwyane Wade, Earl Monroe and Dolph Schayes for the second-most Christmas games played with 14, per ESPN.
- New Orleans Pelicans at Denver Nuggets
No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson will put his talents on display on the road against one of the NBA’s up-and-coming franchises . The defending Northwest Division champions reached the 50-win mark for the first time since 2013 and only have one player over the age of 30 (Paul Millsap). Williamson became the new face of the Pelicans after the team traded Davis to the Lakers for Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and a bounty of draft picks.
- Boston Celtics at Toronto Raptors
The perennial Eastern Conference contender Celtics will hit the road to take on the defending NBA champion Raptors, who finally shed their playoff woes to win the first title in the franchise’s 24-year history. Both teams underwent significant roster changes in the offseason. Boston lost Kyrie Irving and Al Horford but added Kemba Walker. The Raptors, well, they lost Leonard but didn’t add anyone near his caliber.
- Milwaukee Bucks at Philadelphia 76ers
Led by reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Bucks powered their way to the top of the Eastern Conference last season, reaching the 60-win mark for the first time since 1981. They’ll travel to Philly to take on the team with the Eastern Conference’s third-best record last season. Still in the relatively early stages of their “process,” the 76ers made significant moves this offseason, trading Jimmy Butler to the Miami Heat and signing Horford.
- Houston Rockets at Golden State Warriors
The re-branded Rockets, who reunited former Oklahoma City Thunder teammates Russell Westbrook and James Harden, will travel to the brand new Chase Arena in San Francisco to take on the reigning Western Conference champions, who lost Kevin Durant (Brooklyn Nets), Andre Iguodala (trade with the Memphis Grizzlies) and DeMarcus Cousins (Lakers). The acquisition of D’Angelo Russell will help the Warriors as Klay Thompson recovers from a torn ACL suffered in the NBA Finals.