While the 2022-23 NBA schedule hasn’t officially been released, the Christmas Day matchups have been trickling out one by one. There are five games scheduled for the holiday, with the Boston Celtics hosting the Milwaukee Bucks reportedly being one of them.
That would be the second straight Christmas meeting between the two teams. The Celtics and Bucks also battled it out in a grueling seven-game series in the Eastern Conference Semifinals last season. Celtics. vs. Bucks has become a rivalry over the last few years and should highlight the NBA’s holiday slate.
The Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks should be the favorites in the Eastern Conference
For now, the Celtics and Bucks have to be considered the top two teams in the Eastern Conference. The Celtics carried the momentum from their strong second half of the regular season into the playoffs. They faced a brutal lineup in the Brooklyn Nets, Bucks, and the top-seeded Miami Heat before making their way to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2010.
The Bucks knocked off the Chicago Bulls in the opening round but suffered a tough loss in the process. Khris Middleton went down with a knee injury and never returned in the postseason. The Celtics defeated the short-handed Bucks in seven games.
With Middleton back at full strength, the Bucks are easily a top team in the conference. The Celtics addressed a significant flaw from a year ago — depth.
Boston played eight throughout the postseason. Brad Stevens wasted no time in the offseason taking care of that problem. Stevens traded for veteran guard Malcolm Brogdon without surrendering any core pieces. He also signed veteran sharpshooter Danilo Gallinari, giving the Celtics some instant offense off the bench.
The Miami Heat will be there, and so will the Philadelphia 76ers. If the Brooklyn Nets keep Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, they will certainly be in the mix. For now, the Eastern Conference has some star power, but it’s the Celtics and the Bucks at the top of the list.
The Celtics came up short to the Bucks last Christmas
Last Christmas, the Celtics fell 117-113 to the Bucks in Milwaukee. Giannis Antetokounmpo scored a game-high 36 points, while Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown led the Celtics with 25 apiece.
It’s tough to get a read on that one since Boston became a completely different team by mid-January. The loss to the Bucks began a three-game losing streak that saw the Celtics fall to 16-19. After 50 games, the Celtics were 25-25 but kicked things up a few notches in the final 32 games, finishing 26-6 and vaulting over the Bucks in playoff seeding by grabbing the second seed.
The other four games on the Christmas schedule are the 76ers at the New York Knicks, the Phoenix Suns at the Denver Nuggets, the Los Angeles Lakers at the Dallas Mavericks, and the Memphis Grizzlies at the Golden State Warriors.
Notably absent are the Nets. With Durant requesting a trade and Irving’s status with the team up in the air, the NBA seemingly didn’t want to take the chance and put them in the national spotlight.
Although the NBA’s big day is Christmas, the league will have stiff competition this year, with three NFL games also scheduled to play on the holiday.