The NBA has something great in store for basketball fans this holiday season: a star-studded, five-game Christmas Day slate. What better gift to receive than a day of hard-fought holiday hoops drama between the most popular teams in the league.
All that's left is to crack open a cold one and get the popcorn ready for the ultimate sports viewing session. To make things more interesting, why not engage in a little guessing game. Indulge our predictions for a second as we predict who will sink the shots and who will leave the hardwood in tears.
Philadelphia 76ers vs New York Knicks
Joel Embiid versus Kristaps Porzingis is just a mouth-watering matchup. New York may be overachieving (16-14) at this point of the season, but not as much as Ben Simmons (17.4 ppg 9 rpg 7.9 apg 2 spg). No Knick can stop the inevitable Rookie of the Year, while Embiid and Simmons will relish the chance to play in the Garden.
Outcome: Michael Beasley explodes for 30 points, but the Sixers win using a balanced attack
Cleveland Cavaliers vs Golden State Warriors
Suddenly, the top guards from last year's NBA Finals will miss the highly anticipated holiday rematch—Kyrie Irving (trade) and Stephen Curry (injury). Good thing a LeBron James-Kevin Durant game is always a classic duel. What could be the perfect plot twist is the recovering Isaiah Thomas surprising everyone with his season debut.
Outcome: The Cavs outshoot the Dubs from deep, but that won't mean anything in June
Washington Wizards vs Boston Celtics
The conference semifinalists have some bad blood between them, which makes their meeting must-see TV. Boston is hardly the same team that defeated Washington in the 2017 playoffs, but it doesn't mean the rivalry is dead, starting with the Morris twins. Kyrie Irving against fellow point virtuoso John Wall is a different matter altogether.
Outcome: Mike Scott sustains his hot streak (53-of-72 shooting), but Kyrie delivers in the clutch
Houston Rockets vs Oklahoma City Thunder
AKA the James Harden and Russell Westbrook stat stuffer mano a mano. If their records were to tell a story, then the West's best (25-4) would easily take care of the Not OK3 (15-15). Notably, the Thunder had beaten four of the Top 8 teams in their conference—Warriors, Spurs, Timberwolves, Nuggets—so nothing is certain.
Outcome: The Beard and Brodie put up triple-doubles, but Melo-PG3 proves too much for CP3
Minnesota Timberwolves vs Los Angeles Lakers
Lonzo Ball has to bring his A game in front of Inside The NBA's Ernie, Kenny, Chuck, and Shaq, who will call the Los Angeles-Minnesota match. Doing so isn't as simple as it sounds, with Jimmy Butler, Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins, and Jeff Teague also wanting to impress (especially if Coach Thibs plays those guys for 40 minutes).
Outcome: Lonzo balls out of his mind and drains the game-winning three-point shot