Once the presents are open, it will be possible to avoid/ignore family for the remainder of Christmas by watching basketball.
The NBA’s Christmas schedule was leaked to ESPN (Woj bomb No. 3,492) with some of the usual suspects and newcomers on a five-game schedule that will begin at noon in the East and end after midnight.
Christmas is usually the day that most basketball fans start paying closer attention to the NBA after nearly two months of play. But with the schedule pushed back and condensed this year, the season will barely have begun Dec. 22. No bad matchup choices can be exposed yet.
Several young stars will be featured, starting with New Orleans’ Zion Williamson in the first game of the day against Eastern Conference champion Miami. Williamson was injured for the first attempt to showcase him last Christmas.
MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and Milwaukee, which added Jrue Holiday, follows as the second game with Golden State, which features the return of former two-time MVP Stephen Curry. The Warriors are missing his backcourt mate, Klay Thompson, who suffered a season-ending Achilles tear.
Curiosity puts Brooklyn in the mix for the third game against Boston. Another former two-time MVP, Steve Nash, is making his coaching debut for the Nets and has his hands full with the talent and egos of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
The Los Angeles Lakers are a given any year, but especially after a championship. LeBron James had less than two months’ rest before training camp. His Lakers will be in the fourth game against Dallas, which gives rising star Luka Doncic his first Christmas spotlight.
And if you make it to a 10:30 p.m. EST tip-off, the night will end with the Los Angeles Clippers under new coach Tyronn Lue, looking for revenge on Denver for the Nuggets’ playoff upset led by Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray.
No Houston? It seems like someone thinks James Harden and/or Russell Westbrook could be traded.