According to reports, the games for the biggest day of the NBA's regular season schedule have been decided.
The defending champion Golden State Warriors will host the Memphis Grizzlies on Christmas Day. Likewise, the Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics will square off in Boston, and LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers will travel to Texas to take on Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks.
Sources: NBA’s 2022 Christmas Day schedule:
Bucks at Celtics
76ers at Knicks
Suns at Nuggets
Lakers at Mavericks
Grizzlies at Warriors
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) August 14, 2022
Additionally, the Phoenix Suns will visit the Denver Nuggets, led by two-time reigning MVP Nikola Jokic. Meanwhile, the Philadelphia 76ers will take on the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden.
Rematches from this year's postseason will take place in two of the Christmas Day games. Here's how the NBA 2022 Christmas Day games stack according to how exciting they will likely be.
NBA 2022 Christmas Day games, ranked
5. Philadelphia 76ers at New York Knicks
Joel Embiid and James Harden will play in their first Christmas game with the Sixers against the Knicks. Meanwhile, the Knicks will play in their 55th Christmas Day game overall. That's an NBA record. For their part, the Sixers will play their first Christmas Day game since 2019. On Twitter, Harden showed his enthusiasm for the rumored match.
Christmas in the garden!
— James Harden (@JHarden13) August 14, 2022
To be blunt, this Knicks vs. Sixers game may not be the most thrilling one on this list. Still, Embiid and Harden are two of the league's top players. It will be a good test for a New York club that thinks its significant offseason signing of Jalen Brunson will make this group a playoff contender. Even if the Knicks don't have the brightest stars on their roster to go up against Embiid and Harden, this should still provide high-quality action.
4. Phoenix Suns at Denver Nuggets
The Suns' Devin Booker and Chris Paul will go to Denver to face two-time NBA MVP Nikola Jokic. Recall that the Suns swept the Nuggets in the second round of the 2021 playoffs.
Denver returns to the Christmas Day slate after they missed out last year. Remember that the Nuggets hosted Christmas Day contests in 2019 and 2020.
This is quite exciting since it might be a preview of the Western Conference finals. With Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. anticipated to return to the starting lineup after both players missed the entirety of the previous season due to injury, the Nuggets should be totally healthy.
Then there is Nikola Jokic, arguably the league's most dominant center. He will receive some assistance once more as the Nuggets look to stake their claim as bona fide title contenders. They will get to show the Suns what it's like playing against a full-strength Denver squad because they were without Murray during their 2021 playoff loss.
3. Milwaukee Bucks at Boston Celtics
This Bucks-Celtics matchup is a repeat of the seven-game 2022 NBA Eastern Conference semifinal series that Boston won.
The Bucks fell to the Celtics in what was one of the finest playoff series earlier this year. One caveat is they lost without Khris Middleton, who is their second-best player thanks to a sprained MCL. Middleton just had wrist surgery in July, but he should be ready to play by the time this rematch is scheduled to take place. He is anticipated to return close to the start of the season.
This is a veritable matchup of heavyweights from the Eastern Conference. The Bucks will certainly seek retribution now that Khris Middleton has returned. The game doubles as a Christmas rematch from 2021, when the Bucks defeated the Celtics, 117-113.
Bucks vs. Celtics on Christmas. Run it back. pic.twitter.com/IwHf7M6eh8 https://t.co/TxFi4QPjG8
— ً (@superichkidsss) August 14, 2022
Here's one thing to look out for — if the Celtics can complete a trade to acquire Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant, this clash may look quite different. Fans will just have to wait and see what happens with the Durant sweepstakes. Whatever happens, however, there will be plenty of excitement on Christmas Day for this game.
2. Los Angeles Lakers at Dallas Mavericks
It will be the second time in the previous three seasons that the Lakers and Mavericks have faced off on Christmas. In 2020, the Lakers came out with the W; however, a lot has changed since that forgettable game in 2020.
All eyes, of course, should be on the LeBron James-Luka Doncic matchup. On one end, we have an undisputed all-time great. On the other end, we have the European kid who could inherit LBJ's throne as the face of the NBA pretty soon.
Due to Doncic's MVP-caliber performances during the playoffs, the Mavericks are coming off a run to the Western Conference finals. The Lakers, meanwhile, will attempt to return to the playoffs after missing the cut last year. Given that both clubs might still make roster changes before this game, it's hard to predict how it will go. Still, it should be more intriguing than the clash we got two seasons ago.
Notable also is that after hosting games in 2019, 2020, and 2021, the Lakers will be on the road this Christmas. The Mavs, on the other hand, will be playing at home after seeing action on the road for Christmas games the previous two years.
1. Memphis Grizzlies at Golden State Warriors
This season's Warriors vs. Grizzlies game will be a repeat of the 2022 Western Conference semifinals. On one side, we have the defending champion Warriors out to sustain their dynastic hold on the NBA. On the other side, we have an up-and-coming team led by an explosive young star eager to prove their 2021-2022 campaign was not just a flash in the pan. That alone makes this an extremely exciting matchup.
Adding fuel to the fire, however, is that both teams weren't afraid to use foul language even after the Warriors easily defeated the Grizzlies in the 2022 playoffs.
After the Warriors finally won the title, a number of Golden State players even made sure to poke fun at the Grizzlies in less-than-subtle ways. This included Draymond Green and Ja Morant, who expressed a desire for a matchup between their two teams on Christmas Day 2022. Well, Green and Morant got what they wanted, and that game will undoubtedly be the most highly anticipated.
we got what we wanted dray. 😤 @Money23Green https://t.co/fsJPffUBii pic.twitter.com/ti8PAdtMyC
— Ja Morant (@JaMorant) August 13, 2022
This game will be fire on the court and on social media. The writing (and tweets) are already all over the proverbial wall.