Tha Sports Junkies 101

Magic in the NBA on Christmas Day: Match-ups and Predictions

Christmas Day Luis Sanchez via Flickr


NBA 2017 Christmas Day Games

Christmas Day is two days away, get your popcorn ready. Fans around the world look forward to watching NBA Christmas games while opening presents, playing spades or giving up on their NFL teams.

Let’s look at the NBA Christmas Day match-ups.

Philadelphia 76ers at New York Knicks 12:00 pm ET (ESPN)

Both teams are going through a rebuilding process and have exciting young talent. Currently, the Knicks are 9th in the Eastern Conference with a record of 17-15. New York head coach Jeff Hornacek, has been trying to get his young team to focus on defense first. Kristaps Porzingis has been nothing short of amazing. The Knicks are averaging 104.2 points, and 7.13 steals per game while shooting .470 percent from the field. The absence of Hardaway Jr. will hurt the team, but from the performance of Beasley and the MVP chants, everything should be okay. Philadelphia has lost their last four games. It’s safe to say that the absence of Joel Embiid has something to do with it. Embiid has missed the last three games due to a sore back. Last week the 76ers lost in overtime against the Oklahoma City Thunder. You may remember Russell Westbrook telling Embiid to go home. Ben Simmons has been trying his best to lift the team by himself. However, it may be too much to ask. The 76ers are in 10th place with a 14-17 record. Last week the team was above .500, which shows you how valuable Embiid is. Sources have indicated that the former Kansas Jayhawk could be back for Christmas Day. Philadelphia is averaging 108.6 points, 28.4 assist and 48.6 rebounds per game.

Prediction: This game will be fun and exciting. However, the Knicks will take this game at the end. Despite losing a nail-biter against the Detroit Pistons last night, New York seems to be clicking on all cylinders.

Cleveland Cavaliers at Golden State Warriors 3:00 pm ET (ABC)

Cleveland and Golden State have played in the last three NBA Finals. This year will be the third time the two teams have faced off on Christmas Day. However, this year may be a little bit different considering the departure of Kyrie Irving. Both teams are battling the Injury bug. Stephen Curry is recovering from a sprained ankle and will not be suiting up for Christmas. Draymond Green has been in and out of the lineup due to a sore shoulder. Cleveland is slowly coming around, but are playing without Derrick Rose, Isaiah Thomas and Iman Shumpert due to injury. Both teams are above .500. Last year Irving sealed the fate of the Warriors on Christmas Day with a Kobe Bryant like dagger.

Predictions: Expect a close game, but without Curry, the Cavaliers will be able to contain the sharpshooting of Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant. The absence of Curry will allow Cavalier defenders to stay home on other shooters.

Washington Wizards at Boston Celtics 5:30 pm ET (ABC)

The Wizards will be looking to avenge their loss in last year’s Eastern Conference semifinals. Washington is currently holding on to 8th place in the east with a 17-15 record. Washington is averaging 105.6 points, 43.4 rebounds and 22.2 assists per game. The Wizards are currently jelling as a team, but have struggled on the road. Maybe the team will play better after they all received Rolex’s from their guard John Wall. Boston finds themselves number one in the east with a 26-9 record. The Celtics have a 5-5 record from their last 10 games. However, their fearless leader in Irving has emphasized that there is no need to hit the panic button. The team is likely to play without Marcus Morris who is nursing a sore knee and Jaylen Brown who suffered an Achilles injury.

Prediction: It’s always been about buckets young blood. Uncle Drew is going to lead his team past the Wizards and continue to prove to the world that now is his time. The former Duke guard will score more than 30 points leading his team to a Christmas Day win.

Houston Rockets at Oklahoma City Thunder 8:00 pm ET (ABC)

The Houston Rockets will go into Monday’s game with a 5-4 Christmas record. The most recent appearance that the team made on Christmas Day was in 2015, where they defeated the San Antonio Spurs 88-84. James Harden has been sensational this season and has the Rockets playing at a high level. However, the beard will be without guard Chris Paul due to a leg injury. Entering Monday’s game the Oklahoma City Thunder have a 5-13 Christmas record. The Thunder are still trying to figure out their identity. It’s been interesting, to say the least. Carmelo Anthony, Paul George, and Russell Westbrook have been playing hot potato for the most part. Sometimes the team starts off with a pass-first mentality and other nights they take turns shooting. Although OKC can beat any team they often struggle to close out close games. OKC has made a constant effort on the defensive side, but they haven’t figured out how to trust each other on offense.

Prediction: The Thunder will weather the storm (no pun intended) and defeat the Rockets. OKC will cause too many matchup problems and Steven Adams will have a huge night. Adams will dominate the possible matchups against Clint Capela and Nene.

Minnesota Timberwolves at Los Angeles Lakers:

This Christmas Day will be the second time that the Minnesota Timberwolves have played on Christmas. Last year the team lost 112-100 to the Oklahoma City. However, this year’s team is completely different from the 2016-17 team. This offseason the Timberwolves added Jimmy Butler, Jeff Teague, Taj Gibson, and Jamal Crawford (who doesn’t age). The organization is above .500 with a 19-13 record. Now the Los Angeles Lakers are no strangers to Christmas Day. The Lakers have a 22-21 Christmas record. Laker head coach Luke Walton has his young team playing better despite their record. Walton has had to deal with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope’s legal situation and the engagement level of Julius Randle. O yeah, let’s not forget Lonzo Ball hasn’t had the best start to the season. However, he running the team as a pass-first guard.

Prediction: This will be a close game for the first three quarters, but the Timberwolves will win this in regulation by five points. Kyle Kuzma will score more than 20 points while Brandon Ingram struggles to get by the tenacious defense of Butler.

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