NBA Christmas Preview: NBA Finals Rematch and Other Festivities
Celtics @ Knicks at 12pm EST on ESPN
Knicks and Celtics have a very long and ugly history. This is a refreshing season to see both teams being fairly competitive. The Celtics are an inch higher than the Knicks in the Atlantic division (Celtics: 17-13 // Knicks 16-13), so this should prove to be an exciting noon game.
Isaiah Thomas is one of the best rim penetrators at his position at only 5'9". He can also finish with both hands around the rim with crazy pressure around him. Think of him like a mini-Kyrie Irving.
Derrick Rose and Brandon Jennings have had trouble all season containing guys like Thomas, so that's a matchup to look out for.
The Knicks can win this game if they can limit turnovers, because the Celtics thrive off their aggressive defense and transition buckets. The Celtics are 11-7 on the road, and coach Brad Stevens relies on deep rotations, which is reminiscent to Jeff Hornacek. Fatigue is rarely an issue for the Celtics.
It's situations like these where J.R. Smith would come in handy and convince the Celtics to "get lit" on Christmas Eve, so they could play hung over at noon.
Warriors @ Cavaliers at 2:30pm EST on ABC
LeBron James is 7-3 during Christmas games for his career. He loves this.
It is obvious that since these two teams have owned their respective conferences for the past two years, this game will probably break records as far as TV ratings are concerned.
Durant's addition to the Warriors is huge, because it gives LeBron yet another burden that he has to carry on his back. There is no one on the Cavs who can even contain Durant besides LeBron. This means that the switches LeBron took advantage of to abuse Curry in the finals is not going to happen as often.
Bulls @ Spurs at 5:00pm EST on ABC
Kawhi Leonard vs. Jimmy Butler is always a fun matchup. Two of the top two-way players going at it is always a good time. The downside for this matchup is that the Spurs are infinitely better and more consistent than the Bulls.
If Dwyane Wade has a vintage game and Rajon Rondo outruns Parker and Mills, then this might be a game, but don't count on it.
Timberwolves @ Thunder at 8:00pm on ESPN
Two young and disgustingly athletic teams going at it will definitely be fun basketball, but I can almost guarantee a tremendous amount sloppy play and turnovers.
The Timberwolves have underachieved this season at only 9-20, but you can't underestimate their explosiveness in the open floor. We will see some insane highlight dunks between Wiggins, Towns, Lavine and of course, Russell Westbrook.
If you like watching the Spurs and the Warriors spreading the ball, then don't tune in. If you like watching freaks of nature jumping over and through each other, then this will be the best game of Christmas, regardless of the score.
Clippers vs Lakers at 10:30pm on ESPN
The Lakers are actually kind of fun this year, but this game will be a blowout and I advise you watch the Broncos vs. the Chiefs instead because it will be more fun. The Clippers are legitimate contenders and Chris Paul is too smart for D'Angelo Russell to handle.