How do you know you’re not a kid anymore? When you stop waking up at 7 a.m. on Christmas Day, eager to sprint downstairs to tear apart wrapping paper clinging to your presents, and instead roll out of bed a couple hours before noon, killing time before the five-game slate of NBA games that happens each and every year.
Here is the actual Christmas Day 2017 schedule
Here were our predictions, plus dream scenarios
Our real prediction
The league displayed the Timberwolves last year, and showcasing them again with Jimmy Butler in tow would have made even more sense. The Los Angeles rivalry and the Cavaliers vs. Warriors showdown are both inevitable, we’re betting. UPDATE: Guess not on the LA showdown! No Clippers!
Oklahoma City and Houston both have to make it into the lineup in some manner, given their huge offseason moves, while San Antonio is always a safe bet. UPDATE: Not this year!
This was the safe, natural assumption for the five-game slate, and it will be fun. All those games are intriguing, without any Knicks duds or forced Bulls matchups. (We got the Knicks in the end. Ugh).
But ... could we have made it even better?
Here were the Christmas Day schedules our staff wanted.
Mike Prada, SB Nation NBA editor
NOON: Wizards at Celtics
2:30 p.m.: Warriors at Cavs
5 p.m.: Clippers at Rockets
8 p.m.: Spurs at Timberwolves
10:30 p.m.: Thunder at Lakers
This would have got your fun East rivalry out of the way as an appetizer before the Warriors-Cavs main course, which should crank our hate juices up to appropriate levels. Then, Chris Paul vs. his former team (for the first time?) would have been a solid dessert before old vs. new in Minnesota and Paul George showcasing himself in front of his future (?) team.
I would love to have the Rockets-Clippers game be at Staples Center, but can’t have that game there and Thunder-Lakers in L.A.
(Also please note how only three East teams are being showcased, and none after 5 p.m.)
Mike Sykes, SB Nation Editorial Intern
NOON: Celtics at Wizards
2:30 p.m.: Warriors at Cavaliers
5:00 p.m.: Rockets at Thunder
7:30 p.m.: Spurs at Timberwolves
10:30 p.m.: Lakers at Clippers
We would have started off with a bit of hate on tap at noon between the Celtics and Wizards. Then, we would have moved on to the obligatory Warriors and Cavs matchup for the 17,364th year in a row, but we have to do it because it’s the best rivalry in the game.
Things would have gotten interesting when the Rockets and Thunder play with the two top MVP candidates and best offseason acquisitions from last year. The Spurs and Timberwolves don’t really have a rivalry or a history — it would have just been a really good matchup. And then we would have finished the night off with a bit of tradition between the Lakers and the Clippers. Lonzo Ball playing in his first Christmas day game should be fun.
Whitney Medworth, SB Nation NBA assistant editor
NOON: Wizards at Celtics
2:30 p.m.: Wherever-Kyrie-ends-up at Cavs
5 p.m.: Spurs at Rockets
8 p.m.: Thunder at Warriors
10:30 p.m.: Sixers at Lakers
The Wizards and the Celtics playing at noon should have been a given, so I didn’t even try to get around that. But we could have started to shake things up in the afternoon with a Kyrie vs. LeBron matchup. We needed a quick break from Cavs-Warriors so this will suffice.
Then, we would have seen a solid Texas matchup between the Spurs and Rockets, which would have taken place while you absolutely have to pay attention to your families. The night could have started with Russell Westbrook taking his new best friend Paul George right into the Bay Area to see how they stack up against the Warriors. The score of this game doesn’t matter. It’s the drama that we need.
Then, the night would have finished with a fun game between the youngest stars in the game.
Who says no?