Christmas is an annual commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ and a widely celebrated holiday. It is also becoming an annual tradition for the NBA and its fans.
The late December holiday is a special day for all basketball fans. Since 1946, it has been the one day where, in sports, the primary focus is on the NBA. The Association shows five games that are featured throughout the day and night on a national program, such as ESPN or ABC.
In this year’s Christmas showcase, the 10 teams selected are no disappointment. All of them were playoff contenders last season. Let’s take a look at the storylines for each of the five games.
5. The Texas Showdown
In recent years, the San Antonio Spurs have consistently been the top team coming out of Texas. The new and improved Houston Rockets are on a mission to dethrone the kings of the Lone Star State. With the addition of Dwight Howard, the Rockets may have a chance of surpassing the Spurs.
However, the Spurs are never a team that should be taken lightly. Last season, they dominated the playoffs and cruised to the finals with ease by sweeping the Los Angeles Lakers and Memphis Grizzlies.
This game is filled with intriguing matchups across the board. We have the battle in the low post between Tim Duncan and Howard, and two rising stars competing against each other in James Harden and Kawhi Leonard.
4. The Return of Rose
Headlining the Chicago Bulls and Brooklyn Nets will be the return of Derrick Rose to a national platform. In the past season, Rose has been heavily criticized for sitting out a whole season to rehab his knee that he blew in the 2012 playoffs. Rose will be looking to come back strong and prove why he thinks he is the best player in the league.
Rose and the Bulls will have their hands full with the Nets, who are now considered to be a top favorite in the East. The Nets improved their roster in the offseason by adding Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry.
However with those stars being added to the team, the main story may not be on the players themselves. The media may focus their attention more on the Nets’ new head coach Jason Kidd. In his debut season, Kidd is granted a key game with a potential postseason opponent on the biggest day for the NBA.
3. New Rivalry Brewing in the Pacific
In the second time in three years, the Golden State Warriors will be hosting a Christmas game against the Los Angeles Clippers. The Warriors-Clippers matchup will cap off the night with exciting basketball from both teams.
With the highflying acrobatics of “Lob City” coming to the town of the rowdy Oracle fans, this matchup would be an electrifying one for all fans to watch. This game spotlights a duel between two of the top point guards in the league in Chris Paul and Stephen Curry. Curry is looking to outplay Paul and stamp himself as the best point guard in the league.
2. Who Can Score It Better?
In this inter-conference matchup between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the New York Knicks, Santa Claus was feeling extra generous to treat the NBA fans nice with this one.
Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony are arguably the two best scorers in the game right now. This game is promised with high-octane scoring and is bound to reach a cumulative score in the high 100s.
Many will be watching the newly acquired Knick Metta World Peace. Notorious for his crazy antics, MWP will be interesting to watch in his first Christmas homecoming game. Russell Westbrook is also returning to the court after suffering a torn meniscus.
1. Superstars Collide
An official passing of the torch may occur as the Miami Heat takes on the Los Angeles Lakers.
Kobe Bryant has been the face of the NBA for many years. However, coming off a season ending injury, his days as the star of the association may be numbered. Five championships, one MVP, and 15-time All-Star, Kobe is heading into the final years of his career. He owns this league, but it may time to hand the keys over to another player.
Winning two consecutive championships along with two consecutive MVPs, it is now time to crown LeBron James officially the King of the NBA. James will always be scrutinized for his decision to “take his talents to South Beach”, but people can no longer doubt his talents. To finally prove that he is worthy of taking the throne of the league, he must defeat Kobe and the Lakers on the grandest stage of them all.
In the past, there has been a series of commercials dedicated to hype up a possibility of LeBron and Kobe facing off for the Larry O’Brien Trophy. It is very unlikely that there will be any chance of that happening, but a Christmas day battle between the two is a nice consolation prize.