Lakers vs. Warriors. Rockets vs. Thunder. Celtics vs. 76ers. Bucks vs. Knicks. Jazz vs. Trail Blazers.
Five games chock full of top NBA players will highlight the Association’s 2018 Christmas Day slate of games. The NBA has become as synonymous with Christmas as the NHL has become with the January 1st Winter Classic, and as recognizable as Sundays have become with the NFL. The 2018 NBA Christmas games look to carry on this tradition in full force. Here’s a look at what implications these games have on the rest of the season, as well as our basketball picks.
Current Standings and Storylines
The best two games of Christmas Day are unquestionably the Lakers vs. Warriors and Celtics vs. 76ers – four playoff teams. While the Thunder are good, the Rockets are not. The Bucks are also decent, but the Knicks…not so much. And the Jazz vs. Trail Blazers matchup is a contest between two fringe playoff teams. Here are the players to look for while watching these Christmas Day games:
- Kevin Durant vs. LeBron James: With Durant’s time in a Warrior uniform seemingly limited, there’s increasing talk of him joining LeBron in Los Angeles next season. This may be one of the last times we get to watch two of the game’s current greats go head-to-head.
- At the time of this writing, the Celtics and 76ers were fourth and fifth in the east, respectively, and it’s never too early to talk about playoff seeding. It’ll be fun watching Jimmy Butler go up against Kyrie Irving.
- What’s up with the Rockets? The Rockets had the best record in the NBA last year and are abysmal this season. Can they get things turned around to make a playoff push?
Our Christmas NBA Picks
Who do we like on Christmas this year? Here are our NBA picks:
- Golden State over Los Angeles: Oracle Arena is still a tough place to play, and we expect the Warriors to come out on top. Fun fact: LeBron James is a regular opponent of Golden State on Christmas day, but this year he’ll be in a Lakers – not a Cavaliers – uniform.
- Oklahoma City over Houston: James Harden and the Rockets are no match for the sharp shooting Thunder.
- 76ers over Celtics: We like the way Philadelphia is playing right now, simple as that.
- Bucks over Knicks: This might be a blowout.
- Trail Blazers over Jazz: Though the game is in Utah, we like Portland.
The NBA Beyond Christmas
Though we’ll all be locked in this Christmas to NBA games, soon we’ll turn our focus to the playoff race and how both the Eastern and Western Conference shake out. While Golden State’s season thus far has been a bit pedestrian, we still think they’re the team to beat in the West. In the East, however, the top seed looks like it’ll be a battle between Toronto and Milwaukee. However, Indianapolis, Philadelphia, and Boston are all right there within striking distance as well. When it’s all said and done, will the Warriors be able to keep all their egos in check and win another title? That’s our bet, though we’d suspect this will be the last year in the Warriors’ dynasty as we know it.
For now, however, enjoy the Christmas Day games and be sure to check out our basketball picks sports package.
Image Source: NBC Sports