Dustin takes a look at the lineup of games the NBA is offering this year on Christmas Day.
Last year, fans of the NBA were ecstatic for Christmas Day because it signaled the tipoff of a lockout-shortened season. No one knew what to expect or how the players would look after so much time off, likely spent partying more than relaxing. This year, the season is in full swing and still, Christmas Day represents a wealth of NBA action that will have fans paying close attention the the TV long after the last present has been opened.
Game 1: Boston Celtics @ Brooklyn Nets- The Nets are still struggling to prove they belong in the talks of the elite teams in the East as they face a Celtics team looking to stay in the conversation and dispose of the discussion that they’re over the hill and too hold. Of course, the matchup to watch here is Rajon “Triple Double” Rondo and Deron Williams, two fantastic point guards that couldn’t differ more in how they play the position.
Game 2: New York Knicks @ LA Lakers- Two teams that couldn’t be on more different paths. The Lakers have just finally started to slightly resemble the team they were advertised to be as they welcomed Steve Nash back last Saturday for the first time since Halloween. The Knicks on the other hand have largely looked like the team to beat in the East, yes, even better than the Heat. Carmelo Anthony has flourished at the PF position with A’mare Stoudemire out and the hot handed shooting of the team has buried countless opponents. Though the matchup looks more enticing now due to the Lakers’ recent success, New York still seems to be too much.
Game 3: Oklahoma City Thunder @ Miami Heat- A rematch from last years’ NBA finals that saw the Heat rough up the Thunder. So far this season, the Heat have largely looked like the force of destruction they were in the playoffs last season but they face a Thunder team that’s had quite a makeover. Before the season, the Thunder sent 6th Man of the Year and fan-favorite James Harden to Houston in exchange for Jeremy Lamb, Kevin Martin and draft picks. Martin has aptly stepped into the role of 6th Man while also bringing more playmaking out of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. In short; they’re playing more like a team as opposed to a team of spectators watching Durant and Westbrook dazzle and put up points at a video game pace. The Heat should definitely be on upset alert.
Game 4: Houston Rockets @ Chicago Bulls- It’s hard to look at this game and not imagine how it’d be with Derrick Rose on the court. The Bulls have done an amicable job of staying competitive and playing hard but it’s unlikely they make much noise without Rose. They host a Houston team that is seeing incredible production from James Harden and are finally getting some dividends from Jeremy Lin, who’s nowhere near the Lin-Sanity of last year but with Harden playing like he has been, Rockets fans surely haven’t noticed yet.
Game 5: Denver Nuggets @ LA Clippers- Speaking of playing like a video game; the Clippers are on a 13-game win streak (their longest ever as a franchise) and have put not only their Staples Center companion Lakers, but the entire league on notice that they are not to be taken lightly. Convincing wins against the Heat, Spurs, Lakers and Grizzlies have the Clippers somewhere they aren’t accustomed to; the top. How they respond will be the ultimate answer to whether they’re ready to compete for a title or if they’re still a-ways away from the Finals. Look for Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and that explosive bench to silence more doubters Christmas night.
Happy Holidays from all of us at HefferBrew!