NBA Christmas Day games: What kind of gifts will we receive?
Bulls vs. Nets, Thunder vs. Knicks, Heat vs. Lakers, Spurs vs. Rockets, and Clippers vs. Warriors. How do we know what kind of presents we'll get?
If you're celebrating Christmas, then you're probably getting to open some gifts on Wednesday. Part of the anticipation of opening gifts is the moment you realize what you've received. Sometimes, it can be an exciting new gadget, clothing item or toy that you've been waiting for. Knowing that a family member took the time to make sure you got something you've been dying to own is a special moment and one that can help build lifelong memories.
Sometimes, you have a family member that just doesn't put any effort into it. One of my grandmas once gave me soap on a rope and my dad a bag of kindling at the same Christmas because she didn't want to put effort into shopping. While the holidays are more about family than receiving gifts, it can still be deflating for a moment while you try to feign excitement over a bathing product or a bag of smaller pieces of wood that are used to help build a roaring fire. How are you supposed to be excited about a gift that you're literally meant to set on fire?
Even if you're not celebrating the holiday, NBA fans still will get five presents with the five games that will be played Wednesday. We don't know what kind of present we may find under the NBA tree, but it's fun to think about what it could be. Here's your gift guide to the NBA Christmas Day games.
|Chicago Bulls at Brooklyn Nets , Noon ET|
How this game will be like opening a next-generation console: I don't want to lie to you during the holidays; there is no way watching this game will be like unwrapping a PS4 or Xbox One. You'll be lucky if you get a Sega Game Gear with one working battery out of this game. The best we can hope for is the combination of Joakim Noah , Luol Deng , Carlos Boozer , and Jimmy Butler gets into an epic scoring battle with Deron Williams , Joe Johnson , Paul Pierce , and Kevin Garnett . Maybe Jason Terry will have a throwback fourth-quarter performance and break out that pretend jet celebration thing he loves. It's unlikely the Bulls allow this to be a pretty game but you can still hope for a sweet console being in that box.
How this game will be like opening soap on a rope: Unfortunately, two of the stars of this matchup, Brook Lopez and Derrick Rose aren't walking through those doors in a uniform. The Bulls have the league's second-worst offense. The Nets have the fourth-worst defense. What's funny is you'd assume this would mean something has to give. Either we get a throwback performance on defense from Garnett or we get a deluge of points from the Bulls. Sadly, neither is likely. It will be just competent enough in all respects to not be interesting.
|Oklahoma City Thunder at New York Knicks , 2:30 p.m. ET|
How this game will be like opening a subscription to NBA League Pass: Carmelo Anthony vs. Kevin Durant . I believe in this matchup; you almost have to. Assuming he plays, Anthony -- who tweaked an ankle Monday night -- loves this showdown with Durant too. He's 11-1 all-time against Durant with averages of 30.2 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 3.5 assists. He shoots 50.4 percent overall and 40 percent from downtown. He's a monster when he faces Durant's team. Durant is no slouch, putting up 26.8/6.5/3.3 on 42.2 percent from the field and 38.8 percent from 3-point range. If we get the duel from these two we usually get, this is going to be a nice little battle for "best pure scorer" that everybody loves to debate.
How this game will be like opening a bag of kindling: Since Melo turned his ankle Monday night against the Orlando Magic and there's a chance he won't play if it doesn't get any better by midday Wednesday. If that happens, then we have J.R. Smith and Andrea Bargnani trying to match Durant and Russell Westbrook shot for shot. While the potential for hilarity and Smith unveiling an "unwrapping the present you wanted" celebration after a made three (I made it up but please let this happen), the chance of a good game without Anthony is very low.
|Miami Heat at Los Angeles Lakers , 5 p.m. ET|
How this game will be like opening a brand new leather jacket: There's not a lot you can expect aside from individual performances. The Lakers could surprise some of us with an offensive barrage from the perimeter that the Miami Heat just can't counter -- giving us a competitive contest. This game will be special if we get lucky and LeBron James decides to make it special. We'll see a full-court alley-oop or a monster baptism at the hands of LeBron at the rim. Maybe we'll see a sequence that makes you want to quit watching basketball because it can't get better than that. Regardless, LeBron being LeBron is how this game becomes great. Either that or Greg Oden gets to step on the court in a regular-season game.
How this game will be like opening up a box with Russell Westbrook's Christmas outfit and no gift receipt: If we don't get enough shots from Nick Young or Pau Gasol leading a fast break or a video bomb from Dwyane Wade or Chris Bosh after the game, this could be a dud. Individual performances are what make this game potentially watchable, but the disparity between the talent levels of the two squads could make this be a lost cause by halftime. What if we get Chris Kaman to wrestle a bear as the halftime entertainment?
|Houston Rockets at San Antonio Spurs , 8 p.m. ET|
How this game will be like him going to Jared: Let them run. Let them be free. Let them move the ball. Honestly, the worst thing we can get in this game is a game in which the referees are too involved. We'll have some Dwight Howard hacking and we'll get James Harden and Manu Ginobili trying to flop their way to some extra free throws. But mostly these two teams playing their ideal games at relative health could make this one of the best Christmas Day games we've seen in years. The passes should be crisp, the legs should be in constant motion, and the 3-pointers should be flying. Not to mention a Christmas Day Gregg Popovich interview between quarters.
How this game will be like opening a Beanie Baby ... in 2013: Smite-a-Dwight and a lot of free throws could ruin this. If Harden isn't healthy or Pop is willing to grab a fine by sitting one or all of his big three players, we could be in for disappointment. There also could be a fine line between both teams playing a high-octane attack and both teams being sloppy with the way they execute their game plans. I'll be pretty disappointed if this doesn't get recreated:
|Los Angeles Clippers at Golden State Warriors , 10:30 p.m. ET|
How this game will be like finding a luxury car with a big bow in your driveway like in this holiday commercials: Let. It. Fly. The Warriors have one of the best offensive attacks when their starting lineup is clicking with Stephen Curry leading the perimeter charge, Klay Thompson spotting up with that deadly shooting motion, and Andre Iguodala playing facilitator. The Clippers have the best point guard in the world with Chris Paul and two guys that will go get lobs no matter where they're thrown. We could see more electricity than the Griswold family cat.
How this game will be like Knicks season tickets: Blake Griffin and Stephen Curry have been known to turn an ankle or two. We also could just get the weird thing of anticipation building up a game and eventually deflating it because it doesn't live up to the billing. Everybody in the NBA fan realm is looking forward to wrapping up the day with this game. Because of injuries around the league, this is the premiere matchup for Christmas Day. The hype is there with two electric point guards and a supporting staff worthy of YouTube time. Please don't let this turn into Knicks tickets, basketball gods. We pray to you and the birth of baby Jesus Shuttlesworth.
Happy holidays, everybody!
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