Has Every NBA Team Played on Christmas Day?
The NBA has five Christmas Day games on tap this year, highlighted by the Milwaukee Bucks at Boston Celtics, a rematch of last year’s Eastern Conference Semifinals. Christmas Day games have been a part of the NBA since 1947.
Sunday is the 75th year of the NBA playing on Christmas Day. Only once in the league’s existence were there no games on the holiday. That came during the 1998-99 season when the league started in February because of a lockout. With all that holiday exposure, only two NBA teams have never suited up on Christmas. After Sunday, that list will be trimmed to one.
The Memphis Grizzlies prep for their first Christmas Day game
The Memphis Grizzlies travel to the Golden State Warriors on Sunday and look for a little bit of revenge. The Warriors bounced the Grizzlies from last year’s postseason, and that still sits with Grizzlies star Ja Morant.
“Obviously, it’s the team that kicked us out of the playoffs, so you know, we always want to get our lick back,” Morant said during a recent interview with ESPN’s Malika Andrews. “They’re the defending champs. So, regardless of their record, they’re still one of the top teams in this league.”
The Grizzlies/Warriors matchup is the fourth of the five games on the Christmas Day slate this year. It’s also the first time the Grizzlies have ever played on the holiday.
The day begins with the New York Knicks hosting the Philadelphia 76ers at noon, Eastern. That will be followed by the Los Angeles Lakers at the Dallas Mavericks at 2:30 p.m.
The Celtics/Bucks game is next at 5 p.m. and features two of the top MVP candidates in Boston’s Jayson Tatum and Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo. The teams battled it out last year in an epic postseason series that Boston won in seven games.
Morant gets his chance at redemption against the Warriors at 8 p.m. That game will be followed by the Phoenix Suns at the Denver Nuggets at 10:30 p.m.
The Charlotte Hornets have never played on Christmas
When the Grizzlies take the floor against the Warriors, only one NBA team will be left that hasn’t had a taste of Christmas Day action. The Charlotte Hornets, a franchise that came into the league in 1988, is the only remaining team to never have played on Christmas Day.
On the flip side, the New York Knicks will make their 55th appearance on the holiday. They enter with a Christmas record of 23-31. Should they defeat the 76ers on Sunday, they will tie the Los Angeles Lakers for most Christmas wins with 24.
According to NBA.com, the Knicks/76ers (Syracuse Nationals) matchup is the 13th time these two teams will have faced each other on the holiday, making that a record.
LeBron James will look to increase his record for most points on Christmas (422) when they face the Mavericks. Look for James to get plenty of points with Anthony Davis on the sideline. The Lakers and Mavs are meeting for the second time in three years on Christmas.