The 2020-21 NBA season begins on Dec. 22 and, after the shortest offseason on record, there is a frenzied feel to the proceedings. There is always majesty and hype surrounding the league’s slate of Christmas Day games and, on Tuesday evening, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski broke the news of the five matchups that basketball fans will be able to observe on Dec. 25.
ESPN Sources: Tentative Christmas Day Schedule pic.twitter.com/MId025HKvB
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) December 2, 2020
The headliner of the day may be the matchup between Luka Doncic and LeBron James in the 8:00 p.m. primetime window, as the reigning champion Lakers take on an up-and-coming Mavericks team. Elsewhere, Kyrie Irving will return to Boston as a headlining member of the Brooklyn Nets, and he will be joined by Kevin Durant, who projects to be healthy after missing the entire 2019-20 season.
To start the day, Zion Williamson leads the Pelicans against the reigning Eastern Conference champion Miami Heat and, as the NBA established in its pre-bubble hype, Williamson is a significant draw for the league. The league will be banking on the Warriors to bounce back from an ugly 2019-20 season, with Steph Curry and Draymond Green now joined by Kelly Oubre and others as they face Giannis Antetokounmpo and the new-look Bucks.
In the night cap, the Clippers and Nuggets do battle in a rematch of the already infamous 3-1 collapse from the 2020 NBA Playoffs. L.A. will undoubtedly have a measure of revenge on their minds, while Denver is a tremendous squad that should be ready to give the Clippers another fight behind Nikola Jokic.
As always, there will be fan bases decrying the absence of their team on the day of the league’s No. 1 regular season showcase, and a few of them may even have some legs to stand on. However, the NBA put together five highly intriguing matchups, and Christmas should be a smorgasbord for die-hards with plenty to appeal to casual observers.