For the third straight Christmas, hoops fans can spend their afternoons observing the NBA’s two best teams. Predictably, the league will place one of the two regular-season encounters between the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers on its Christmas Day itinerary.
This matchup will occur at Oracle Arena, giving this rivalry a rotating Christmas location. The 2015 matchup came at Oracle, and the 2016 December tilt was in Cleveland. This 3 p.m. ET showdown is part of a quintupleheader.
The Philadelphia 76ers will make a rare foray onto national television. They will travel to face the New York Knicks at noon ET at Madison Square Garden. The Boston Celtics will then host the Washington Wizards in a rematch of the sides’ Eastern Conference semifinals duel, a meeting scheduled to commence at 5:30 p.m. ET.
The league shifts to the Central and Pacific time zones after Celts-Wiz, with a pair of teams that met recently but will feature new-look lineups come Christmas. The Houston Rockets will travel to face the Oklahoma City Thunder for an 8 p.m. ET game.
More teams with adjusted starting fives will round out the holiday action, with the Minnesota Timberwolves set to face the Los Angeles Lakers at 10:30 p.m. ET at Staples Center.
Most of these matchups will have new key players competing. Fans will see some nationally televised matchups featuring Paul George, Chris Paul, Jimmy Butler, Gordon Hayward, Markelle Fultz and Lonzo Ball (health-permitting) on Christmas. And they could well see a Cavs team that looks different given the fluid status of Kyrie Irving.