These Are The 5 Games The NBA Should Be Playing On Christmas Day
By:
Gradelo Staff
3 weeks ago
0
Follow
( 0 Followers )
X

Follow

E-mail :

Joel Embiid will play in his first Christmas Day game, but we’ve got a better matchup for the Sixers’ talented big man than taking on the Knicks in New York. Photo: Mitchell Leff/Getty Images.

The NBA celebrates Christmas with five games, starting with the 76ers taking on the Knicks in Madison Square Garden. If he’s over his current back problems, Philly’s talented Joel Embiid will make his MSG debut.

We’ve got no problem with the Sixers playing on Christmas. They’re the young, rising team with the brightest future. It’s just that we have a better matchup for Embiid. In fact, we believe we have five better matchups than what the league has scheduled, based on what’s unfolded since the start of the season in mid-October. Here they are:

New Orleans at Philadelphia (replacing Philadelphia at New York)

You never know who you’ll see in the crowd in the Garden on Christmas Day. When Kevin McHale was a rookie in 1980, he took the floor, started warming up and heard at courtside someone yelling, “Hey, Hibbing, hey, Hibbing!’’ McHale, a native of Hibbing, Minn., turned to see another native from his hometown, Bob Dylan, giving him a wave. Yeah, that Bob Dylan.

The Knicks are a Christmas tradition, but in this case we’ll give Kristaps Porzingis and his teammates the day off. Instead, we’d put the Sixers at home, where they’re not just a game, but an event with Embiid. They’re No. 1 in the NBA in attendance, at 20,610 per game, and their highly-skilled center, oozing with personality, provides the entertainment when he plays to the Philly fans. He didn’t play against the Pels earlier in New Orleans– the result was a predictable loss, one of six the Sixers have in the seven games they’ve had to play without him. But here he would battle DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis, two of the NBA’s premier big men, making for some potentially memorable moments. Even better, afterward, Embiid will take to social media to tell everyone what he thinks. Win or lose. He’s got over 1 million followers on Twitter.

Cleveland at Boston (replacing Cleveland at Golden State)

The NBA always loves to pair the two teams that played the previous June in the Finals on Christmas. So this will be the third consecutive Christmas LeBron James will be matched against the Warriors. Steph Curry won’t play because of an ankle injury, taking some of the luster off the game.

The better matchup would have the Cavs going into Boston to take on the Celtics in a showdown of the East’s top two teams. The rivalry turned into one of the best when the Cavs traded Kyrie Irving to Boston in the off-season. Isaiah Thomas was part of the package going back to Cleveland, but he still hasn’t played this season following a hip injury from last spring. Still, any time we can see LeBron versus Kyrie, it’s hard to top. LeBron got the early edge when the Cavs won the season-opener by three points. Boston’s Jayson Tatum is among the NBA’s top rookies and a future offensive star, while James is having an MVP caliber season. Turning 33 on Dec. 30, he shows no signs of slowing down as he tries to make his eighth straight Finals.

Houston at Golden State (replacing Washington at Boston)

Even with Curry sidelined by an ankle injury for the foreseeable future, this still shapes up as the No. 1 matchup on Christmas, surpassing even another Golden State-Cleveland game. The Warriors haven’t missed a beat without their two-time MVP, as their other MVP winner, Kevin Durant, has picked up the slack. Nobody knew how the Rockets’ new backcourt of James Harden and Chris Paul would blend after Paul forced his way off the Clippers and to the Rockets  June. They’ve been nearly perfect, with Harden leading the league in scoring, emerging as the leader for the MVP award, and going 14-1 when Paul has played. The Rockets have been nearly unbeatable, winning 25 of their first 30 games while averaging an NBA all-time best 117 points per 100 possessions. Houston is No. 2 in the NBA in average margin of victory (10.7 pg), trailing only the Warriors (10.9 pg). They haven’t had Curry for the last six games and another key starter, Draymond Green, has been sidelined by a shoulder injury for most of the last two weeks. But they still rank at the top in most key offensive and defensive categories, and have lost only six times in their first 31 games. They could have a 12-game winning streak when they take the court on Christmas.

Milwaukee at Minnesota (replacing Houston at Oklahoma City)

The Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo has been one of the NBA’s top players and deserves to be playing on the league’s marquee day. He’s second in scoring and first in fantasy points per game. Milwaukee also has improved since acquiring point guard Eric Bledsoe in early November. Pushing the pace while upgrading the position, they’ve gone 12-7 since his arrival, highlighted by a signature home win over Cleveland this week. In a win-now mode. they’re among the favorites to make a deal for the Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan before the trade deadline. Minnesota has had to deal with some chemistry issues involving their young stars, Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins, as Jimmy Butler has emerged as the go-to man since coming over from the Chicago Bulls last summer. Defensively, they’re still a long way from being the kind of team you’d expect under coach Tom Thibodeau. Despite having one of the worst defenses in fourth quarters (allowing a league-worst 115 points per 100 possessions), they’ve moved up to fourth in the West.

Oklahoma City at Los Angeles Lakers (replacing Minnesota at Lakers)

Only slightly better than .500 for the first time since Halloween, the Thunder has been the big disappointment of the 2016-17 season. The additions of perennial All-Stars Paul George and Carmelo Anthony to reigning MVP Russell Westbrook hasn’t worked at the offensive end, where the Thunder relies too much on one-on-one play and is fairly easy to guard because the ball doesn’t move around enough. That largely accounts for their .500 record. But we’d keep them on Christmas and have them play in L.A. They’ve got all kinds of connections there: Westbrook played at UCLA and it’s still looking as if George, from the area, could wind up with the Lakers in July as a free agent. Like a lot of young teams, the Lakers play their best when they’ve got the support of the home crowd. They’ve been a respectable 6-8 in Staples Center, twice taking the Warriors into overtime in two close losses. Celebrated rookie Lonzo Ball leads the break and the surprise of the 2017 rookie class, sharp-shooter Kyle Kuzma, is averaging  17 ppg on 50% shooting, including his 38-point explosion in the Lakers’ win in Houston, snapping the Rockets’ 14-game winning streak. Back in L.A. for Christmas, the Lakers could give their fans something to cheer about in the holiday finale.

Listen to Mitch Lawrence on SiriusXM NBA Radio on The Starting Lineup, Above The Rim, NBA Today and NBA Weekend. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Lawrence.

“>

Joel Embiid will play in his first Christmas Day game, but we’ve got a better matchup for the Sixers’ talented big man than taking on the Knicks in New York. Photo: Mitchell Leff/Getty Images.

The NBA celebrates Christmas with five games, starting with the 76ers taking on the Knicks in Madison Square Garden. If he’s over his current back problems, Philly’s talented Joel Embiid will make his MSG debut.

We’ve got no problem with the Sixers playing on Christmas. They’re the young, rising team with the brightest future. It’s just that we have a better matchup for Embiid. In fact, we believe we have five better matchups than what the league has scheduled, based on what’s unfolded since the start of the season in mid-October. Here they are:

New Orleans at Philadelphia (replacing Philadelphia at New York)

You never know who you’ll see in the crowd in the Garden on Christmas Day. When Kevin McHale was a rookie in 1980, he took the floor, started warming up and heard at courtside someone yelling, “Hey, Hibbing, hey, Hibbing!’’ McHale, a native of Hibbing, Minn., turned to see another native from his hometown, Bob Dylan, giving him a wave. Yeah, that Bob Dylan.

The Knicks are a Christmas tradition, but in this case we’ll give Kristaps Porzingis and his teammates the day off. Instead, we’d put the Sixers at home, where they’re not just a game, but an event with Embiid. They’re No. 1 in the NBA in attendance, at 20,610 per game, and their highly-skilled center, oozing with personality, provides the entertainment when he plays to the Philly fans. He didn’t play against the Pels earlier in New Orleans– the result was a predictable loss, one of six the Sixers have in the seven games they’ve had to play without him. But here he would battle DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis, two of the NBA’s premier big men, making for some potentially memorable moments. Even better, afterward, Embiid will take to social media to tell everyone what he thinks. Win or lose. He’s got over 1 million followers on Twitter.

Cleveland at Boston (replacing Cleveland at Golden State)

The NBA always loves to pair the two teams that played the previous June in the Finals on Christmas. So this will be the third consecutive Christmas LeBron James will be matched against the Warriors. Steph Curry won’t play because of an ankle injury, taking some of the luster off the game.

The better matchup would have the Cavs going into Boston to take on the Celtics in a showdown of the East’s top two teams. The rivalry turned into one of the best when the Cavs traded Kyrie Irving to Boston in the off-season. Isaiah Thomas was part of the package going back to Cleveland, but he still hasn’t played this season following a hip injury from last spring. Still, any time we can see LeBron versus Kyrie, it’s hard to top. LeBron got the early edge when the Cavs won the season-opener by three points. Boston’s Jayson Tatum is among the NBA’s top rookies and a future offensive star, while James is having an MVP caliber season. Turning 33 on Dec. 30, he shows no signs of slowing down as he tries to make his eighth straight Finals.

Houston at Golden State (replacing Washington at Boston)

Even with Curry sidelined by an ankle injury for the foreseeable future, this still shapes up as the No. 1 matchup on Christmas, surpassing even another Golden State-Cleveland game. The Warriors haven’t missed a beat without their two-time MVP, as their other MVP winner, Kevin Durant, has picked up the slack. Nobody knew how the Rockets’ new backcourt of James Harden and Chris Paul would blend after Paul forced his way off the Clippers and to the Rockets  June. They’ve been nearly perfect, with Harden leading the league in scoring, emerging as the leader for the MVP award, and going 14-1 when Paul has played. The Rockets have been nearly unbeatable, winning 25 of their first 30 games while averaging an NBA all-time best 117 points per 100 possessions. Houston is No. 2 in the NBA in average margin of victory (10.7 pg), trailing only the Warriors (10.9 pg). They haven’t had Curry for the last six games and another key starter, Draymond Green, has been sidelined by a shoulder injury for most of the last two weeks. But they still rank at the top in most key offensive and defensive categories, and have lost only six times in their first 31 games. They could have a 12-game winning streak when they take the court on Christmas.

Milwaukee at Minnesota (replacing Houston at Oklahoma City)

The Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo has been one of the NBA’s top players and deserves to be playing on the league’s marquee day. He’s second in scoring and first in fantasy points per game. Milwaukee also has improved since acquiring point guard Eric Bledsoe in early November. Pushing the pace while upgrading the position, they’ve gone 12-7 since his arrival, highlighted by a signature home win over Cleveland this week. In a win-now mode. they’re among the favorites to make a deal for the Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan before the trade deadline. Minnesota has had to deal with some chemistry issues involving their young stars, Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins, as Jimmy Butler has emerged as the go-to man since coming over from the Chicago Bulls last summer. Defensively, they’re still a long way from being the kind of team you’d expect under coach Tom Thibodeau. Despite having one of the worst defenses in fourth quarters (allowing a league-worst 115 points per 100 possessions), they’ve moved up to fourth in the West.

Oklahoma City at Los Angeles Lakers (replacing Minnesota at Lakers)

Only slightly better than .500 for the first time since Halloween, the Thunder has been the big disappointment of the 2016-17 season. The additions of perennial All-Stars Paul George and Carmelo Anthony to reigning MVP Russell Westbrook hasn’t worked at the offensive end, where the Thunder relies too much on one-on-one play and is fairly easy to guard because the ball doesn’t move around enough. That largely accounts for their .500 record. But we’d keep them on Christmas and have them play in L.A. They’ve got all kinds of connections there: Westbrook played at UCLA and it’s still looking as if George, from the area, could wind up with the Lakers in July as a free agent. Like a lot of young teams, the Lakers play their best when they’ve got the support of the home crowd. They’ve been a respectable 6-8 in Staples Center, twice taking the Warriors into overtime in two close losses. Celebrated rookie Lonzo Ball leads the break and the surprise of the 2017 rookie class, sharp-shooter Kyle Kuzma, is averaging  17 ppg on 50% shooting, including his 38-point explosion in the Lakers’ win in Houston, snapping the Rockets’ 14-game winning streak. Back in L.A. for Christmas, the Lakers could give their fans something to cheer about in the holiday finale.

Listen to Mitch Lawrence on SiriusXM NBA Radio on The Starting Lineup, Above The Rim, NBA Today and NBA Weekend. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Lawrence.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Powered by WPeMatico

Join the Conversation
All content provided on courtsideaccess.com, including content posted by users, is for general information, discussion and entertainment purposes only. Courtsideaccess.com, and all of its affiliated entities, make no representations or guarantees about any aspect of the content on courtsideaccess.com and do not endorse any opinions expressed by any users.

@

Not recently active