The NBA's Christmas Day showcase typically crescendoes with, on paper, the biggest matchup of the regular season: a rematch of the previous season's NBA Finals. As such, the expectation coming into the 2022-23 season was that the defending championship Golden State Warriors would host the Boston Celtics on Christmas after defeating them in the NBA Finals. However, according to Marc Stein, the NBA has decided to go in a different direction.
Rather than having their Finals rematch on Christmas, the Warriors will host their second-round opponent, the Memphis Grizzlies, according to Stein. The Warriors and Grizzlies played each other in a tense, six-game series in the second round last season, and the two formed a quick rivalry in the process.
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In Game 1 of the series in Memphis, Draymond Green was ejected and waved to the Grizzlies fans in the building as he left. In Game 2, then-Warriors guard Gary Payton II suffered a serious elbow injury after being fouled by Dillon Brooks. Grizzlies star Ja Morant got hurt in Game 3 and missed the remainder of the series, but he and the Warriors have battled on Twitter since the series ended.
Morant is quickly becoming one of the NBA's biggest draws. He is perfectly suited for highlights with his absurd athleticism and crazy dunks. Now he'll have a chance to show them off on the NBA's biggest regular season stage. The Warriors may not be getting the opponent they expected, but they're getting one that will be eager to challenge them on their home floor.