Despite many postponed matches due to Covid-19 protocols, we must see ten franchises playing in the Christmas Games on Saturday, December 25th.
As we already know, we won’t see one NBA star. Nikola Jokic is the first reigning MVP not to get a Christmas Day game since the NBA went to five games on Christmas in 2008.
Take a look at the five games below and a resume from the strongness and weaknesses of each franchise:
- Atlanta @ New York
- Boston @ Milwaukee
- Golden State @ Phoenix
- Brooklyn @ LA Lakers
- Dallas @ Utah
Atlanta @ New York
The first game of the day is also the challenge between the worst teams that will play on Christmas. Considering the other eight teams, they are in the worst positions. The Knicks has 14 wins, coming from a 3 – 7 streak, in the 12th place. And with the last result, Atlanta climbed one position and is in 10th, on the play-in zone, coming from 4 – 6.
Playing at Madison Square Garden, NY will count with Julius Randle, who leads the franchise in the three main stats. On the other side, three players are standing out. Trae Young has the second-better record from the league and leads the franchise in points, with 27.3, and is the third in assists: 9.3.
The center Capela also has good numbers, averaging a double-double: 11,5 PPG and 12.8 RPG. John Collins is the other one that can change a game, with 17.6 points and eight boards. But from the three players ahead, only Collins has chances to play. The others are out.
Boston @ Milwaukee
The greatest NBA Champion and the current Champion will play at Fiserv Forum. In a better situation on Eastern Conference, the Buccs will have the advantage of playing at home, where they are 11 – 5 this season. On the other hand, the Celtics have a 7 – 10 record on the road.
Milwaukee has Antetokounmpo averaging 27 PPG, 11.6 RPG, and 5.8 APG, and other five players averaging more than 10 points per game. But the Greek is questionable for the challenge. Boston has Jayson and Jaylen in a good moment, with 25.6 and 22.4 points, respectively.
Golden State @ Phoenix
By far, the most awaited game of the day. Warriors and Suns are the best franchise of the regular season, with 26 victories. Better for Phoenix, which will play at Footprint Center, Arizona, has the best record, with only five losses, while the rival has six.
The two times they played this season, each team won one game at home. Curry is in an incredible moment after being injured. Last challenge, on Thursday 23, he made 46 points and eight 3P. It’s his 67th career game with 8+ threes, almost three times the next player, Dame, with 23.
But on the other side, Devin Booker is on a personal 20-game win streak. He hasn’t lost a game since October and tied the record of 1970-71 Buccs and 1947-48 Capitols. Let’s see if he will keep with the streak.
Brooklyn @ LA Lakers
Also, an exciting challenge between Lakers’ and Brooklyn’s stars. But while the Nets led the Conference, with 21 victories, Los Angeles is on 6th, with 16 wins and 17 losses. LeBron has 30 PPG, 10 RPG, 5 APG, and 56 FG% in the last four matches, but the Lakers are 0-4 in that span.
The game will be on Staples Center and led by Kevin Durant (still questionable) and James Harden, they’ll try another win to open a bigger advantage from the second-placed and to show they do want to bring a ring for Brooklyn.
Dallas @ Utah
Closing the Christmas games, Mavs and Jazz will play at Vivint Arena. Utah is trying to get closer to Golden State and Phoenix with eight victories on the last challenges and has a good roster for that.
On the past 12 challenges, the Jazz made more than 110 points in 10 opportunities. They are first in the offense this season. The gap between them and second place is bigger than 2nd and 15th. They are also first in rebounds in the league, averaging 47.4.
But Dallas has Luka, who leads the franchise in points, rebounds, assists, and Porzing and Hardaway, which can also make the difference in a game. The problem for the Mavs is that only Porzings has chances to play.