The 2023 NBA Christmas Day schedule will be highlighted by the latest edition of the rivalry between the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers, and a meeting between the last two champions, the Denver Nuggets and Golden State Warriors, according to Shams Charania.
As per usual, there will be five marquee games running all day long. In other action, the Milwaukee Bucks will travel to Madison Square Garden to take on the New York Knicks, the Philadelphia 76ers will take on the Miami Heat and the Dallas Mavericks will meet the Phoenix Suns.
This will be the seventh consecutive season that the Celtics have played on Christmas, and the fifth time overall that they’ve played the Lakers on the day. The most recent Christmas matchup between the longtime rivals came in 2008, when the Lakers secured a 92-83 win behind 27 points, nine rebounds and five assists from the late Kobe Bryant. Of course, the Celtics ended up getting the last laugh that season, when they went on to win the Finals over the Lakers in six games; they’ll hope a repeat of that history is in store.
As for the Nuggets and Warriors, they have both been staples on the Christmas schedule in recent years — this will be the 11th consecutive appearance for the Warriors — but they have never played each other on the day. They’ve had plenty of exciting matchups since their respective cores have been together, however, and this has a good chance to be the most exciting game of the day.
As for the Bucks’ trip to New York to play the Knicks, that will be a rematch of the 2018 Christmas game, which Giannis Antetokounmpo and Co. won easily. Madison Square Garden has been good to Antetokounmpo throughout his career; he made his NBA debut there, jumped over Tim Hardaway Jr. for a dunk and hit a game-winner in 2017.
It’s interesting that the 76ers and Heat have been scheduled to play on Christmas given that both teams are currently in limbo regarding a few star players. The 76ers are trying to figure out what to do with James Harden, who has requested a trade and wants to play for the Los Angeles Clippers, while the Heat are hoping to eventually figure out a deal with the Portland Trail Blazers to acquire Damian Lillard. These two squads could look radically different come December.
You know it’s a great day of basketball when the Mavericks and Suns get mentioned last. This, of course, is a rematch of the teams’ dramatic 2022 second-round series, which the Mavericks won in seven games. It will also be the first time that they’ve ever played each other on Christmas. With Luka Doncic, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, Devin Booker and Bradley Beal set to be in action, this should be a high-scoring affair.