Back on Christmas Day in 1947, the New York Knicks played the Providence Steamrollers at Madison Square Garden, with the Knicks winning, 89-75. Since then, Christmas has always been a date that NBA fans always circle on their calendar. With the exception of the lockout-shortened 1998-99 season, the NBA has featured at least one game on the holiday, and in recent years the league has expanded to the current five-game slate. Coaches and players have criticized the holiday schedule, but there is no denying the monetary or nostalgic lure of Christmas games.
Strategically, the league tries to put its most marketable matchups on Dec. 25. Because of this, teams like the Knicks have been featured in 47 Christmas Day games, the most of any team. Kobe Bryant has made 14 Christmas appearances, the most of any player.
Christmas has also featured its share of memorable moments. Classic matchups, huge comebacks or great individual performances, Christmas day in the NBA has provided them all. In 1984, Bernard King scored a Christmas Day-record 60 points. Since then, while no player has matched that type of individual performance, other stories have crept to the forefront for Christmas Day.
The 2004 slate featured the first time Shaquille O'Neal and Bryant were on the same floor as opponents since Shaq left LA. In 2008, Phil Jackson became the fastest NBA coach to win 1,000 games when his Lakers defeated the Boston Celtics. After last season's lockout that erased the first two months of the season, the NBA chose Christmas as their season's opener, a day that quickly erased all the bad feelings that a lockout tends to create. Those are just some of the memorable moments of Christmas past. Clearly the NBA has made the Christmas Day games a tradition that fans look forward to. Here's a look at this year's full schedule:
12:00PM - Celtics @ Nets - Avg Price: $446 | Get-in Price: $84 | Weekly Trend: +21%
Last time the two teams met, several players were thrown out of the game for fighting. The Nets have won the first two matchups, so this should be a hard fought divisional game... Buy Celtics @ Nets tickets.
3:00PM - Knicks @ Lakers - Avg Price: $513 | Get-in Price: $150 | Weekly Trend: +16%
The Knicks, off to their hot start, will play the Lakers for the second time in two weeks. The Knicks won the first matchup in New York. These two big markets will battle in LA in front of what usually is a star-studded crowd... Buy Knicks @ Lakers tickets.
This game will be a rematch of the NBA finals from last year in Miami. This will mark their first meeting of the year and should be a good one. The Thunder has the best record in the west and the Heat currently are second in the East... Buy Thunder @ Heat tickets.
8:00PM - Rockets @ Bulls - Avg Price: $188 | Get-in Price: $39 | Weekly Trend: +6%
Jeremy Lin and the young Houston Rockets will head into Chicago to face a Bulls team that will play without star Derrick Rose. Lin's popularity worldwide is probably what landed the Rockets in this slate, but this should be a good matchup anyway... Buy Rockets @ Bulls tickets .
Due to the earlier slate of games, this left one of the best teams in the NBA, the Clippers, with no real marque matchup. Cue the Nuggets, who have gotten off to a slow start but possess a young and exciting team that should bring light to the final game of the evening. This game will also be played in LA, the second game in 24 hours to be played at the Staples Center... Buy Nuggets @ Clippers tickets.