ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Malika Andrews and Tim MacMahon reported the five Christmas Day games for next season.
According to Wojnarowski, the Clippers and Lakers collide, the Pelicans travel to Denver and the Celtics take on the Raptors. Per Andrews, the Bucks will play the 76ers and McMahon said that the Warriors host the Rockets at the brand-new Chase Center in San Francisco.
This year’s Christmas Day schedule may be the most hotly anticipated slate in a long time. The Clippers and Lakers are favored to win the Western Conference at most sportsbooks. The Lakers paired Anthony Davis with LeBron James and added shooters and defenders around them while the Clippers signed two-time NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard and traded for six-time All-Star Paul George.
This will be LeBron James’ 14th Christmas Day appearance, breaking a tie with Shaquille O’Neal, Dwyane Wade, Earl Monroe and Dolph Schayes for the second-most all-time. Only Kobe Bryant (16) has played more games on December 25.
No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson faces a Nuggets team that finished with the second-best record in the Western Conference last season and Williamson’s matchup with Nikola Jokic will be fun-to-watch. Over the last 40 years only four rookies have scored 30 points in their Christmas Day debut: Bill Cartwright (1979), Patrick Ewing (1985), LeBron James (2003) and Kyle Kuzma (2017). Can Williamson join them?
The Rockets try to get payback against the Warriors after losing to them in the playoffs for two straight years, although both teams will look very different next season. The Rockets replaced Chris Paul with Russell Westbrook while the Warriors now have D’Angelo Russell and Willie Cauley-Stein but they lost Kevin Durant to the Nets and traded Andre Iguodala to the Grizzlies. Also, Klay Thompson will miss this game due to a torn ACL suffered in Game 6 of the NBA Finals.
The Bucks and 76ers are expected to reach the Eastern Conference Finals and reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo loves playing against Joel Embiid. As for the Celtics and Raptors, both teams lost some star power but they can still make a deep playoff run and offer an exciting game on Christmas Day.
The NBA schedule has not been released officially but Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium shared some intriguing games:
“Sources: Notable superstar return games on 2019-20 NBA schedule:
Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard at Toronto: Dec. 11
Lakers’ Anthony Davis at New Orleans: Nov. 27
Nets’ Kyrie Irving at Boston: Nov. 27
Rockets’ Russell Westbrook at Oklahoma City: Jan. 9.”
The official release date for this year’s NBA schedule is unknown but last year’s slate was announced on August 10.