Games held by the National Basketball Association (NBA) on Christmas Day, December 25, have been an annual tradition since the league's second season in 1947.[1] Currently, five games are played on Christmas. Unlike the National Football League (NFL)'s traditional Thanksgiving Day games, the NBA's Christmas Day games have no fixed opponents; rather, they feature some of the best teams and players.[2] Very often a rematch of the previous season's NBA Finals is showcased on Christmas Day.

History

76ers Coach Doc Rivers (left) and Phil Jackson (right) have participated on Christmas Day as both player and coach. Jackson is tied for the most coaching victories on Christmas Day and won his 1,000th game as a coach on Christmas Day in 2008.
Kobe Bryant (left) has played the most games on Christmas Day of any player. He has played against LeBron James (middle) twice and played alongside Shaquille O'Neal (right) five straight years, but against him three times.

The first NBA game played on December 25 came in 1947, a year after the NBA's inception, when the New York Knicks beat the Providence Steamrollers at Madison Square Garden 89–75.[1] Since then, the NBA has played games every year on Christmas Day except in 1998 (when a lockout canceled half the 1998–99 season). In contrast, Major League Baseball is in its off-season during Christmas, the National Football League only schedules Christmas games when Christmas falls on the weekend (and even then only schedules games on Christmas occasionally) and the National Hockey League's collective bargaining agreement forbids playing games on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and Boxing Day (celebrated as such in Canada as a statutory holiday, though otherwise the non-holiday day after Christmas in the United States; in seasons in which the latter falls on a Saturday, the break occurs one day earlier, from December 23–25). In college football, the only bowl game traditionally scheduled for Christmas has been the defunct Aloha Bowl (and for one year, its replacement, the ESPN Events-owned Hawaii Bowl; that game itself moved its date specifically due to ESPN/ABC's acquisition of NBA telecasts, including Christmas Day games). Thus, the NBA is the only league to regularly schedule games on December 25.[1]

In the early days, regional proximity dictated most of the matchups.[3] Teams would usually play their geographical rivals to cut down on holiday travel and to allow them to have more time with their families.[3] According to Dr. Jack Ramsay, who coached the Portland Trail Blazers from 1976–77 (their only championship season) to 1986, "Christmas meant being at home with the family and having a game we always won. That was a perfect Christmas to me."[3] He set the record for most coaching victories on Christmas Day with 11, an achievement that Phil Jackson later matched in 2008.[4]

In the early 1980s, the New York Knicks put on a show three years in a row. In one game (1984), hall-of-fame forward Bernard King scoring 60 points—the most ever scored by a player on Christmas Day,[1] With the advent of television and the excitement caused by these games, the NBA decided to scheduled games over the holiday that showcased the best teams and players.[3]

Teams and players

The Knicks have played more Christmas Day games than any other team, with 53 total. They are 22–31 on the holiday.[5] Their most recent Yuletide appearance came in 2018 when they were defeated by the Milwaukee Bucks, 109–95, at Madison Square Garden. The Knicks have a checkered history on the 25th. Their 22 wins are the second most by a team on Christmas Day,[4] while their 31 losses are the most.

Some players have participated on Christmas Day as both player and coach. Doc Rivers played with the Knicks in 1992 and coached the Boston Celtics from 2008 to 2013. Phil Jackson, who also participated as a player and coach, has been a part of at least 20 holiday games,[6] coaching on Christmas every year from 1990, with the exception of 1995 and 2004, until his retirement at the end of the 2010–11 season. He won his 1,000th game on Christmas Day in 2008.[4][7] Kobe Bryant played 16 games on Christmas Day, the most of any player. In fact, he played more often on Christmas than on any other date on the calendar, playing his first in 1996 and his last in 2015.[1][8]

Many teams and players that have played on this day have worn special uniforms and sneakers.[9] From 2009 to 2011, the Knicks wore their third jersey, the green/orange alternate which they first used exclusively for St. Patrick's Day. During the game between the Heat and the Lakers in 2010, players on both teams wore holiday sneakers. Bryant, Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom wore lime-green Nike sneakers[9] while James and Chris Bosh wore holiday-red shoes with green laces.[9] From 2008 to 2011, teams playing on Christmas Day wore a patch featuring the NBA logo inside a snowflake. Between 2012 and 2016, the NBA and Adidas produced special uniforms for the Christmas games. All of these uniforms feature a particular theme, such as monochromatic designs ('Big Color') and chrome-treated logos ('Big Logo'). In 2015 and 2016, Stance provided Christmas-themed socks for the games.

After Nike became the uniform provider in 2017, no Christmas-themed uniforms were produced. Instead, NBA teams playing on that day wore either "City" or "Statement" alternate uniforms. During the 2018–19 season, a few teams wore a fifth alternate known as "Earned" uniforms; these were given as a reward for making the 2018 NBA playoffs.

Memorable moments

The NBA Christmas Day contests have featured some of the most memorable games ever played.[2][10] Bernard King scored 60 points for the New York Knicks in 1984. Patrick Ewing helped the Knicks come back to beat the Boston Celtics after trailing by 25 points in 1985. He then beat Michael Jordan and the Bulls on a last-second jumper in 1986. Scottie Pippen performed a last-second block in 1994.

The first showdown featuring Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal as opponents occurred on Christmas, 2004. 2009 and 2010 featured faceoffs between LeBron James and Kobe Bryant.[3][11][12][13] Phil Jackson becoming the fastest coach to win 1,000 games (it happened on December 25, 2008).[7] In 2012, Kobe Bryant became the all-time Christmas Day scorer with 383 points, surpassing Oscar Robertson who scored 377 points.[14]

As a result of a lockout in 2011, Christmas Day was also the season opener.[15] ESPN/ABC analyst Jeff Van Gundy talked about that day, saying, "It's a different opening day than has ever happened in the past and Christmas Day games have always been a big day for the NBA. This unique situation combined with the unveiling of a championship banner for the Mavericks in a finals rematch, and then to see the Lakers and the debut of Mike Brown as head coach, those things are all going to be very compelling."[15]

Rivalries have also been showcased during games played on this day. During the 1990s, every Christmas but one featured a game involving either the New York Knicks or the Chicago Bulls, with the two teams playing against each other twice (in the Bulls championship season of 1992–93 and in 1994).[16][17] They would have met a third time in 1998, if there had not been a lockout.[18] The only year during the 1990s in which neither team played on Christmas Day was during the Bulls first championship season in their second three-peat, in 1995–96.[19] During the 2000s, the NBA showcased the Shaq–Kobe feud. Since 1999, each Christmas has featured games involving either the Celtics or the Lakers, with both teams playing on the holiday in 2002 and every year since 2008. In a great pairing, the two teams faced off against each in other during the first of the Lakers' most recent back-to-back championship seasons of 2008–09. This was the first meeting between the two teams since the finals of the year before.

The home team is 142–75 in Christmas games. The winning percentage of .654 for the home team on Christmas Day is better than the overall winning percentage for home teams during the regular season or the playoffs since 1992.[1]

Scheduling and broadcasting

After a season's NBA Finals comes to an end, officials from both the NBA and the network that broadcast the NBA meet to plan the schedule of games for the holiday during the upcoming season.[3] In most cases, two of the teams that play during the holiday are the teams that reached the finals the previous season, and often a rematch of the NBA Finals is scheduled.[3] The NBA usually tries to have the best players play against each other.[3] Some examples of this include 2009 and 2010, when the defending champions of those seasons, the Los Angeles Lakers played at home against the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2009 and the Miami Heat in 2010, so that they could have showdowns between Kobe Bryant and LeBron James both times.[3][9]

Broadcasting

See also: NBA on CBS, NBA on USA, NBA on TBS, NBA on NBC, NBA on ESPN, NBA on ABC, and NBA on TNT

Since 2009, Christmas Day broadcasts of the NBA feature Mariah Carey in a music video singing "All I Want for Christmas Is You" and "Oh Santa!" ("Oh Santa!" since 2010)
Since 2009, Christmas Day broadcasts of the NBA feature Mariah Carey in a music video singing "All I Want for Christmas Is You" and "Oh Santa!" ("Oh Santa!" since 2010)

The first telecast of an NBA game on Christmas Day dates back to the league's early years. In 1947, the Providence Steamrollers played in New York against the Knicks on WCBS channel 2 at 9 p.m. Eastern Time. Stan Lomax and Bob Edge called that game. Fifteen minutes later, at 8:15 p.m. Central Time, Joe Wilson broadcast the game between Baltimore Bullets and Chicago Stags for WBKB channel 4 in Chicago.

The first nationally televised Christmas Day NBA broadcast occurred in 1967, when ABC broadcast a game between the Los Angeles Lakers and San Diego Rockets from San Diego. Jerry Gross and Jack Twyman called that broadcast for ABC. ABC would continue to televise Christmas Day games through 1972. Chris Schenkel did play-by-play for ABC during this period with the exception of 1970, when Keith Jackson had the honors. Jack Twyman remained in the color commentating position up until 1971, when Bill Russell took over. From 1975-1989 (with the exception of 1982), CBS broadcast a game on Christmas Day.

However, it was not until 1983 that the games became a household tradition, when CBS broadcast the game between the New Jersey Nets and the New York Knicks and ESPN broadcast the game between the Los Angeles Lakers and Portland Trail Blazers (Sam Smith and Dick Vitale were on the call for ESPN).[10] In the 1990s, NBC broadcast a doubleheader each year on Christmas Day (except in 1998, when there were no games played on Christmas Day due to the 1998–99 NBA lockout) and this has continued after ABC took over in 2002, except that in 2004 and 2006, ABC broadcast only one game. For three years (2004–2006) ABC insisted on having a Christmas Day game between the Miami Heat and the Los Angeles Lakers so that Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal could play against each other. Since ABC took over the NBA, ESPN has also broadcast games on Christmas Day (except in 2006). Since 2009, Christmas Day broadcasts on ESPN/ABC have featured a music video with Mariah Carey singing "All I Want for Christmas Is You."[20][21] In 2010, Carey added "Oh Santa!"[21]

In 2008, TNT broadcast on Christmas Day for the first time as Marv Albert, Mike Fratello and Craig Sager called the game between Washington and Cleveland in Cleveland and Kevin Harlan, Reggie Miller and Cheryl Miller called the game between Dallas and Portland in Portland. This marked the first time that all three networks that cover the NBA (ABC, ESPN, and TNT) produced games on Christmas Day. As Christmas Day fell on a Thursday that year, TNT was given two primetime games as part of their regular TNT NBA Thursday slate (the same scenario also took place in 2014).

Due to the 2011 NBA lockout, the season opener took place on Christmas Day that year. As a result, the NBA gave TNT the first game of the Christmas slate with a contest between the Boston Celtics and the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. Calling the game were Marv Albert (himself a former Knicks broadcaster) and Steve Kerr.[15] Because of this, Albert, who was also working for CBS's NFL coverage, was forced to miss his scheduled Week 16 game the day before. Also on that day, ABC broadcast the Dallas Mavericks' 2011 Championship banner ceremony during their pre-game show. This marked the first time in NBA history that a pre-game championship banner ceremony has been aired on a terrestrial television network; either Turner Sports or a regional sports network aired the ceremonies in previous years.

In a unique situation in 2017, ABC aired an NBA tripleheader for the first time ever, which was headlined by a 2017 NBA Finals rematch between LeBron James and the Cavaliers and Steph Curry, Kevin Durant and the Warriors, which would be the prelude to the 2018 Finals rematch, which resulted in a Warriors sweep. Because ESPN aired a football game on Christmas night, they only aired one game, which was at 12 ET. TNT aired the 10:30 pm game, the network's first Christmas Day game since 2014. However, instead of employing either Marv Albert or Kevin Harlan and their roster of game analysts, Turner opted to use the Inside the NBA crew of Ernie Johnson, Shaquille O'Neal, Kenny "The Jet" Smith and Charles Barkley for the game, with TNT's No. 2 sideline reporter Kristen Ledlow working the sidelines and halftime.

ESPN/ABC Simulcast Games

Since 2018, the 8:00 ET game has usually been simulcast on both ESPN and ABC, and has always involved LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers.

2018's game featured James and the Lakers against Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, and the Golden State Warriors. Although the Lakers pulled away with a 127–101 win, the win did prove to be costly, as James injured his groin, forcing him to miss significant time, which later saw James miss the playoffs for only the third time in his career, and the Lakers miss the playoffs for the sixth consecutive season. That all led to the Lakers acquiring Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans in the offseason. The Warriors meanwhile, wound up making it to the NBA Finals, where they lost to the Toronto Raptors in 6 games, in a series that saw Durant not play for the first 4 games due to a strained right calf, return in Game 5, then rupture his Achilles, and later sign with the Brooklyn Nets in the offseason. Durant subsequently missed the following season. It also saw Klay Thompson tear his ACL, causing him to also miss the following season, which was then followed by him tearing his Achilles, forcing him to miss another season. Thompson however, resigned with Golden State following the Finals.

2019's game, which again featured the Lakers, led by James and Davis, pitted them against their hallway rivals, the Los Angeles Clippers, led by Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, in the Battle of LA. In what could've been a preview to that season's Western Conference Finals, the Clippers came back and won 111–105. The Clippers later lost in the Conference Semi-finals to the Denver Nuggets, while the Lakers wound up winning the NBA Championship in the Bubble.

The 2020 game once again featured the Lakers, led by James and Davis. This time, they faced Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks, in a potential playoff preview. It was Dallas' first Christmas Day game since 2011. The Lakers ran away and won 138–115, but in a similar manner to 2018, it proved to be costly, as both James and Davis both missed significant time due to injuries. Both teams wound up losing in the first round of the Playoffs later on, with the Lakers having to go through the new Play-In Tournament.

The 2021 game will feature the Lakers once more. This time, James, Davis, and newly acquired Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard, and DeAndre Jordan, will host the Brooklyn Nets, led by Durant, James Harden, Kyrie Irving, Blake Griffin, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Patty Mills. This matchup is seen as a potential star-studded Finals preview.

Game results

This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (December 2020)
Season Visiting Team Score Home Team Score OT Significance Network
1947–48 Chicago Stags 70 Baltimore Bullets 87 First BAA Christmas Day game.
Providence Steamrollers 75 New York Knicks 89
Washington Capitols 73 St. Louis Bombers 56
1948–49 Chicago Stags 70 New York Knicks 64
Boston Celtics 77 Philadelphia Warriors 80
Baltimore Bullets 88 Providence Steamrollers 83 Bullets enter as the defending BAA champions.
St. Louis Bombers 82 Rochester Royals 90
Fort Wayne Pistons 74 Washington Capitols 88
1949–50 Philadelphia Warriors 64 Baltimore Bullets 63 First Christmas Day game for the renamed NBA.
Sheboygan Red Skins 76 Denver Nuggets 72
Fort Wayne Pistons 58 Minneapolis Lakers 72 Lakers enter as the defending BAA (NBA) champions.
Boston Celtics 79 Rochester Royals 88
Washington Capitols 81 St. Louis Bombers 68
Anderson Packers 88 Syracuse Nationals 94
Indianapolis Olympians 93 Waterloo Hawks 97
1950–51 Washington Capitols 79 Fort Wayne Pistons 93
New York Knicks 86 Philadelphia Warriors 84 (OT)
Boston Celtics 77 Rochester Royals 90
Fort Wayne Pistons 69 Syracuse Nationals 81
Baltimore Bullets 72 Tri-Cities Blackhawks 87
1951–52 Syracuse Nationals 78 Milwaukee Hawks 88
Boston Celtics 79 Minneapolis Lakers 108
Fort Wayne Pistons 80 New York Knicks 89
Indianapolis Olympians 73 Rochester Royals 65 Royals enter as the defending NBA champions.
1952–53 Milwaukee Hawks 69 Fort Wayne Pistons 71 (2OT)
Indianapolis Olympians 73 Minneapolis Lakers 90 Lakers enter as the defending NBA champions.
Boston Celtics 84 New York Knicks 97
Rochester Royals 93 Philadelphia Warriors 78
Baltimore Bullets 92 Syracuse Nationals 102
1953–54 Minneapolis Lakers 78 Baltimore Bullets 88 Lakers enter as the defending NBA champions.
Boston Celtics 79 Fort Wayne Pistons 108
Syracuse Nationals 80 New York Knicks 89
Rochester Royals 73 Philadelphia Warriors 65
1954–55 Boston Celtics 108 Milwaukee Hawks 99
Philadelphia Warriors 91 Minneapolis Lakers 99 Lakers enter as the defending NBA champions.
Syracuse Nationals 101 New York Knicks 109
Fort Wayne Pistons 73 Rochester Royals 80
1955–56 New York Knicks 87 Fort Wayne Pistons 92
Boston Celtics 115 Minneapolis Lakers 112
Rochester Royals 96 Syracuse Nationals 111 Nationals enter as the defending NBA champions.
1956–57 Philadelphia Warriors 89 Boston Celtics 82 Warriors enter as the defending NBA champions.
Minneapolis Lakers 100 Fort Wayne Pistons 89
St. Louis Hawks 107 New York Knicks 105 (OT)
Syracuse Nationals 93 Rochester Royals 98
1957–58 Minneapolis Lakers 106 Detroit Pistons 104
Boston Celtics 105 Philadelphia Warriors 115 Celtics enter as the defending NBA champions.
New York Knicks 130 Syracuse Nationals 134 (OT)
1958–59 St. Louis Hawks 100 Cincinnati Royals 92 Hawks enter as the defending NBA champions.
Minneapolis Lakers 97 Detroit Pistons 98 (OT)
Boston Celtics 129 New York Knicks 120
1959–60 Detroit Pistons 103 Cincinnati Royals 121
Boston Celtics 123 New York Knicks 119 Celtics enter as the defending NBA champions.
Syracuse Nationals 121 Philadelphia Warriors 129
Minneapolis Lakers 96 St. Louis Hawks 112
1960–61 Detroit Pistons 119 Cincinnati Royals 126
New York Knicks 100 Syracuse Nationals 162
1961–62 Detroit Pistons 97 Chicago Packers 118 Packers' first Christmas Day game, Only one played while known as the Packers.
Los Angeles Lakers 141 Cincinnati Royals 127
Philadelphia Warriors 135 New York Knicks 136 (2OT)
Boston Celtics 127 Syracuse Nationals 122 Celtics enter as the defending NBA champions.
1962–63 Detroit Pistons 120 Cincinnati Royals 131
Syracuse Nationals 123 New York Knicks 111
St. Louis Hawks 91 San Francisco Warriors 94
1963–64 St. Louis Hawks 107 Cincinnati Royals 113
Los Angeles Lakers 134 New York Knicks 126
1964–65 Detroit Pistons 106 Boston Celtics 118 Celtics enter as the defending NBA champions.
St. Louis Hawks 125 Cincinnati Royals 130 (OT)
Baltimore Bullets 114 New York Knicks 108 First Christmas Day game now known as the Bullets.
1965–66 Boston Celtics 113 Baltimore Bullets 99 Celtics enter as the defending NBA champions.
San Francisco Warriors 113 Cincinnati Royals 119
Detroit Pistons 106 Los Angeles Lakers 115
St. Louis Hawks 131 New York Knicks 111
1966–67 Detroit Pistons 129 Baltimore Bullets 127 (OT)
San Francisco Warriors 124 Cincinnati Royals 112
Chicago Bulls 132 New York Knicks 133 Bulls–Knicks rivalry
1967–68 Philadelphia 76ers 108 Baltimore Bullets 105 76ers enter as the defending NBA champions.
Seattle SuperSonics 112 Cincinnati Royals 118 SuperSonics' first Christmas Day game
Boston Celtics 134 New York Knicks 124
Los Angeles Lakers 101 San Diego Rockets 104 Rockets' first Christmas Day game
Oakland Oaks 98 Kentucky Colonels 112 ABA game
1968–69 Seattle SuperSonics 112 Baltimore Bullets 118
Chicago Bulls 98 Cincinnati Royals 103
Detroit Pistons 119 Milwaukee Bucks 113 Bucks' first Christmas Day game
Philadelphia 76ers 109 New York Knicks 110
Los Angeles Lakers 119 Phoenix Suns 99 Suns' first Christmas Day game
Minnesota Pipers 129 Kentucky Colonels 118 ABA game
Oakland Oaks 127 Los Angeles Stars 122 ABA game
Denver Rockets 129 New York Nets 110 ABA game
1969–70 Philadelphia 76ers 113 Baltimore Bullets 121
San Francisco Warriors 124 Cincinnati Royals 120 (OT)
Detroit Pistons 111 New York Knicks 112
Boston Celtics 116 Phoenix Suns 127 Celtics enter as the defending NBA champions.
Los Angeles Stars 105 Kentucky Colonels 101 ABA game
Washington Caps 131 Pittsburgh Pipers 112 ABA game
1970–71 Chicago Bulls 112 Baltimore Bullets 128
Cleveland Cavaliers 100 Cincinnati Royals 117
Boston Celtics 113 Los Angeles Lakers 123
Buffalo Braves 102 New York Knicks 115 Braves' first Christmas Day game, Knicks enter as the defending NBA champions.
Detroit Pistons 100 Philadelphia 76ers 105
Atlanta Hawks 115 Phoenix Suns 127
Utah Stars 102 Memphis Pros 107 ABA game
carolina Cougars 121 Pittsburgh Condors 136 ABA game
Texas Chaparrals 131 Virginia Squires 145 ABA game
1971–72 Buffalo Braves 117 Atlanta Hawks 140
Boston Celtics 99 Cincinnati Royals 94
Milwaukee Bucks 118 Detroit Pistons 120 (OT) Bucks enter as the defending NBA champions.
Golden State Warriors 89 New York Knicks 114
Baltimore Bullets 117 Philadelphia 76ers 114
Seattle SuperSonics 86 Phoenix Suns 116
Chicago Bulls 109 Portland Trail Blazers 88
Carolina Cougars 102 Memphis Pros 110 ABA game
Indiana Pacers 129 Utah Stars 150 ABA game
Pittsburgh Condors 126 Virginia Squires 133 ABA game
1972–73 Milwaukee Bucks 104 Kansas City-Omaha Kings 99
Detroit Pistons 110 New York Knicks 113
Chicago Bulls 108 Phoenix Suns 115
Seattle SuperSonics 113 Portland Trail Blazers 116
1973–74 Capital Bullets 102 New York Knicks 100 Knicks enter as the defending NBA champions.
Los Angeles Lakers 100 Phoenix Suns 135
1974–75 Philadelphia 76ers 104 New York Knicks 97
Boston Celtics 96 Phoenix Suns 110 Celtics enter as the defending NBA champions.
Atlanta Hawks 92 Washington Bullets 110
San Diego Conquistadors 100 Utah Stars 112 ABA game
1975–76 Houston Rockets 99 New Orleans Jazz 101 Jazz's first Christmas Day game
Philadelphia 76ers 103 New York Knicks 111
Kansas City Kings 111 Phoenix Suns 122
Atlanta Hawks 94 Washington Bullets 99
1976–77 Detroit Pistons 106 Buffalo Braves 115
Chicago Bulls 96 Kansas City Kings 91
Philadelphia 76ers 105 New York Knicks 104
Los Angeles Lakers 96 Phoenix Suns 113
Seattle SuperSonics 95 Portland Trail Blazers 110
Cleveland Cavaliers 99 Washington Bullets 117
1977–78 Buffalo Braves 105 Cleveland Cavaliers 111
Milwaukee Bucks 131 Kansas City Kings 122
San Antonio Spurs 115 New Orleans Jazz 105
Philadelphia 76ers 110 New York Knicks 113
Golden State Warriors 97 Portland Trail Blazers 109 Trail Blazers enter as the defending NBA champions.
Los Angeles Lakers 111 Seattle SuperSonics 96
Atlanta Hawks 93 Washington Bullets 100
1978–79 Philadelphia 76ers 109 New York Knicks 94
Golden State Warriors 102 Portland Trail Blazers 115
San Diego Clippers 123 Seattle SuperSonics 118
1979–80 Detroit Pistons 101 Cleveland Cavaliers 111 CBS, USA
New Jersey Nets 102 New York Knicks 131 Knicks–Nets rivalry CBS, USA
Golden State Warriors 91 Portland Trail Blazers 113 CBS, USA
Denver Nuggets 111 Utah Jazz 122 CBS, USA
Philadelphia 76ers 95 Washington Bullets 92 CBS, USA
1980–81 Boston Celtics 117 New York Knicks 108 Celtics–Knicks rivalry CBS, USA
San Antonio Spurs 111 Phoenix Suns 131 Spurs–Suns rivalry CBS, USA
Golden State Warriors 114 Portland Trail Blazers 115 CBS, USA
New Jersey Nets 94 Washington Bullets 109 CBS, USA
1981–82 New Jersey Nets 96 New York Knicks 95 Knicks–Nets rivalry CBS, USA
Los Angeles Lakers 104 Phoenix Suns 101 CBS, USA
Seattle SuperSonics 94 Portland Trail Blazers 99 CBS, USA
Indiana Pacers 98 Washington Bullets 115 CBS, USA
1982–83 New Jersey Nets 112 New York Knicks 110 (OT) Knicks–Nets rivalry CBS, ESPN, USA
Seattle SuperSonics 88 Portland Trail Blazers 95 CBS, ESPN, USA
Phoenix Suns 111 Utah Jazz 101 CBS, ESPN, USA
Atlanta Hawks 97 Washington Bullets 91 CBS, ESPN, USA
1983–84 New Jersey Nets 110 New York Knicks 112 (OT) Knicks–Nets rivalry CBS, ESPN, USA
Los Angeles Lakers 121 Portland Trail Blazers 141 CBS, ESPN, USA
1984–85 Atlanta Hawks 106 Cleveland Cavaliers 109 CBS, TBS
Philadelphia 76ers 109 Detroit Pistons 108 CBS, TBS
New Jersey Nets 120 New York Knicks 114 Knicks–Nets rivalry CBS, TBS
Golden State Warriors 97 Portland Trail Blazers 106 CBS, TBS
1985–86 Boston Celtics 104 New York Knicks 113 (2OT) Celtics–Knicks rivalry CBS, TBS
Los Angeles Clippers 107 Portland Trail Blazers 121 CBS, TBS
1986–87 Chicago Bulls 85 New York Knicks 86 Bulls–Knicks rivalry CBS, TBS
Washington Bullets 102 Philadelphia 76ers 97 CBS, TBS
1987–88 Detroit Pistons 91 New York Knicks 87 CBS, TBS
Atlanta Hawks 106 Philadelphia 76ers 100 CBS, TBS
1988–89 Washington Bullets 110 Philadelphia 76ers 125 CBS, TBS
Los Angeles Lakers 87 Utah Jazz 101 Lakers enter as the defending NBA champions. CBS, TBS
1989–90 Cleveland Cavaliers 104 Atlanta Hawks 115 CBS, TBS, TNT
1990–91 Detroit Pistons 86 Chicago Bulls 98 Bulls–Pistons rivalry, Pistons enter as the defending NBA champions. NBC, TBS, TNT
1991–92 Boston Celtics 99 Chicago Bulls 121 Bulls enter as the defending NBA champions. NBC, TBS, TNT
Los Angeles Lakers 85 Los Angeles Clippers 75 Lakers–Clippers rivalry NBC, TBS, TNT
1992–93 New York Knicks 77 Chicago Bulls 89 Bulls–Knicks rivalry, Bulls enter as the defending NBA champions. NBC, TBS, TNT
San Antonio Spurs 103 Los Angeles Clippers 94 NBC, TBS, TNT
1993–94 Orlando Magic 93 Chicago Bulls 95 Bulls enter as the defending NBA champions.
Houston Rockets 91 Phoenix Suns 111
1994–95 New York Knicks 104 Chicago Bulls 107 (OT) Bulls–Knicks rivalry
Seattle SuperSonics 96 Denver Nuggets 105
1995–96 Houston Rockets 90 Orlando Magic 92 1995 NBA Finals rematch, Rockets enter as the defending NBA champions.
San Antonio Spurs 105 Phoenix Suns 100 Spurs–Suns rivalry
1996–97 Detroit Pistons 83 Chicago Bulls 95 Bulls–Pistons rivalry, Bulls enter as the defending NBA champions.
Los Angeles Lakers 108 Phoenix Suns 87
1997–98 Miami Heat 80 Chicago Bulls 90 Bulls enter as the defending NBA champions.
Houston Rockets 103 Utah Jazz 107 Jazz–Rockets rivalry
1998–99 Due to the league's six-month lockout, the season started late in February. As a result, no Christmas Day game was held during this season.
1999–2000 New York Knicks 90 Indiana Pacers 101 Knicks–Pacers rivalry, 1999 NBA playoffs Eastern Conference Finals rematch.
San Antonio Spurs 93 Los Angeles Lakers 99 Lakers–Spurs rivalry, 1999 NBA playoffs second round rematch, Spurs enter as the defending NBA champions.
2000–01 Orlando Magic 93 Indiana Pacers 103
Portland Trail Blazers 109 Los Angeles Lakers 104 2000 NBA playoffs Western Conference Finals rematch., Lakers enter as the defending NBA champions.
2001–02 Philadelphia 76ers 82 Los Angeles Lakers 88 2001 NBA Finals rematch, Lakers enter as the defending NBA champions.
Toronto Raptors 94 New York Knicks 102 Raptors' first Christmas Day game, 2001 NBA playoffs first round rematch.
2002–03 Detroit Pistons 99 Orlando Magic 107 (OT)
Boston Celtics 81 New Jersey Nets 117 2002 NBA playoffs Eastern Conference Finals rematch.
Sacramento Kings 105 Los Angeles Lakers 99 2002 NBA playoffs Western Conference Finals rematch, Lakers enter as the defending NBA champions.
2003–04 Cleveland Cavaliers 101 Orlando Magic 113 (OT) LeBron James's first Christmas Day game.
Dallas Mavericks 111 Sacramento Kings 103 Mavericks' first Christmas Day game, 2003 NBA playoffs second round rematch.
Houston Rockets 99 Los Angeles Lakers 87
2004–05 Detroit Pistons 98 Indiana Pacers 93 2004 NBA playoffs Eastern Conference Finals rematch, Malice at the Palace rematch, Pistons enter as the defending NBA champions.
Miami Heat 104 Los Angeles Lakers 102 (OT) Shaq–Kobe feud
2005–06 San Antonio Spurs 70 Detroit Pistons 85 2005 NBA Finals rematch, Spurs enter as the defending NBA champions.
Los Angeles Lakers 92 Miami Heat 97 Shaq–Kobe feud
2006–07 Los Angeles Lakers 85 Miami Heat 101 Shaq–Kobe feud, Heat enter as the defending NBA champions.
2007–08 Miami Heat 82 Cleveland Cavaliers 96
Phoenix Suns 115 Los Angeles Lakers 122 2007 NBA playoffs first round rematch.
Seattle SuperSonics 79 Portland Trail Blazers 89
2008–09 Washington Wizards 89 Cleveland Cavaliers 93 2008 NBA playoffs first round rematch.
Boston Celtics 83 Los Angeles Lakers 92 Celtics–Lakers rivalry, 2008 NBA Finals rematch, Celtics enter as the defending NBA champions.
New Orleans Hornets 68 Orlando Magic 88 Hornets' (New Orleans) first Christmas Day game.
San Antonio Spurs 91 Phoenix Suns 90 Spurs–Suns rivalry, 2008 NBA playoffs first round rematch.
Dallas Mavericks 102 Portland Trail Blazers 94
2009–10 Miami Heat 93 New York Knicks 87 Heat–Knicks rivalry
Cleveland Cavaliers 102 Los Angeles Lakers 87 Lakers enter as the defending NBA champions.
Boston Celtics 86 Orlando Magic 77 2009 NBA playoffs second round rematch.
Los Angeles Clippers 93 Phoenix Suns 124
Denver Nuggets 96 Portland Trail Blazers 107
2010–11 Chicago Bulls 95 New York Knicks 103 Bulls–Knicks rivalry ESPN
Boston Celtics 78 Orlando Magic 86 2010 NBA playoffs Eastern Conference Finals rematch. ABC
Miami Heat 96 Los Angeles Lakers 80 Lakers enter as the defending NBA champions. ABC
Denver Nuggets 106 Oklahoma City Thunder 114 ESPN
Portland Trail Blazers 102 Golden State Warriors 109 ESPN
2011–12 Boston Celtics 104 New York Knicks 106 Celtics–Knicks rivalry, 2011 NBA playoffs first round rematch. ESPN
Miami Heat 105 Dallas Mavericks 94 2011 NBA Finals rematch, Mavericks enter as the defending NBA champions. ABC
Chicago Bulls 88 Los Angeles Lakers 87 ABC
Orlando Magic 89 Oklahoma City Thunder 97 ESPN
Los Angeles Clippers 105 Golden State Warriors 86 ESPN
2012–13 Boston Celtics 93 Brooklyn Nets 76 ESPN
New York Knicks 94 Los Angeles Lakers 100 ABC
Oklahoma City Thunder 97 Miami Heat 103 2012 NBA Finals rematch, Heat enter as the defending NBA champions. ABC
Houston Rockets 120 Chicago Bulls 97 ESPN
Denver Nuggets 100 Los Angeles Clippers 112 ESPN
2013–14 Chicago Bulls 95 Brooklyn Nets 78 2013 NBA playoffs first round rematch. ESPN
Oklahoma City Thunder 123 New York Knicks 94 ABC
Miami Heat 101 Los Angeles Lakers 95 Heat enter as the defending NBA champions. ABC
Houston Rockets 111 San Antonio Spurs 98 Rockets–Spurs rivalry ESPN
Los Angeles Clippers 103 Golden State Warriors 105 ESPN
2014–15 Washington Wizards 102 New York Knicks 91 ESPN
Oklahoma City Thunder 114 San Antonio Spurs 106 2014 NBA playoffs Western Conference Finals rematch, Spurs enter as the defending NBA champions. ABC
Cleveland Cavaliers 91 Miami Heat 101 LeBron James against his former team. ABC
Los Angeles Lakers 93 Chicago Bulls 113 TNT
Golden State Warriors 86 Los Angeles Clippers 100 2014 NBA playoffs first round rematch. TNT
2015–16 New Orleans Pelicans 88 Miami Heat 94 (OT) ESPN
Chicago Bulls 105 Oklahoma City Thunder 96 ABC
Cleveland Cavaliers 83 Golden State Warriors 89 Cavaliers–Warriors rivalry, 2015 NBA Finals rematch, Warriors enter as the defending NBA champions. ABC
San Antonio Spurs 84 Houston Rockets 88 Rockets–Spurs rivalry ESPN
Los Angeles Clippers 94 Los Angeles Lakers 84 Lakers–Clippers rivalry ESPN
2016–17 Boston Celtics 119 New York Knicks 114 Celtics–Knicks rivalry ESPN
Golden State Warriors 108 Cleveland Cavaliers 109 Cavaliers–Warriors rivalry, 2016 NBA Finals rematch, Cavaliers enter as the defending NBA champions. ABC
Chicago Bulls 100 San Antonio Spurs 119 ABC
Minnesota Timberwolves 100 Oklahoma City Thunder 112 Timberwolves' first Christmas Day game ESPN
Los Angeles Clippers 102 Los Angeles Lakers 111 Lakers–Clippers rivalry ESPN
2017–18 Philadelphia 76ers 105 New York Knicks 98 ESPN
Cleveland Cavaliers 92 Golden State Warriors 99 Cavaliers–Warriors rivalry, 2017 NBA Finals rematch, Warriors enter as the defending NBA champions. ABC
Washington Wizards 111 Boston Celtics 103 2017 NBA playoffs second round rematch. ABC
Houston Rockets 107 Oklahoma City Thunder 112 2017 NBA playoffs first round rematch. ABC
Minnesota Timberwolves 121 Los Angeles Lakers 104 TNT
2018–19 Milwaukee Bucks 109 New York Knicks 95 ESPN
Oklahoma City Thunder 109 Houston Rockets 113 ABC
Philadelphia 76ers 114 Boston Celtics 121 (OT) 76ers–Celtics rivalry, 2018 NBA playoffs second round rematch. ABC
Los Angeles Lakers 127 Golden State Warriors 101 Warriors enter as the defending NBA champions. ABC/ESPN
Portland Trail Blazers 96 Utah Jazz 117 ESPN
2019–20 Boston Celtics 118 Toronto Raptors 102 First Christmas Day game in Canada; Raptors enter as the defending NBA champions. ESPN
Milwaukee Bucks 109 Philadelphia 76ers 121 ABC
Houston Rockets 104 Golden State Warriors 116 2019 NBA playoffs second round rematch. ABC
Los Angeles Clippers 111 Los Angeles Lakers 106 Lakers–Clippers rivalry ABC/ESPN
New Orleans Pelicans 112 Denver Nuggets 100 ESPN
2020–21 New Orleans Pelicans 98 Miami Heat 111 ESPN
Golden State Warriors 99 Milwaukee Bucks 138 ABC
Brooklyn Nets 123 Boston Celtics 95 ABC
Dallas Mavericks 115 Los Angeles Lakers 138 Lakers enter as the defending NBA champions. ABC/ESPN
Los Angeles Clippers 121 Denver Nuggets 108 ESPN
2021–22 Atlanta Hawks 87 New York Knicks 101 2021 NBA playoffs first round rematch. ESPN
Boston Celtics 113 Milwaukee Bucks 117 Bucks enter as the defending NBA champions. ABC
Golden State Warriors Phoenix Suns ABC
Brooklyn Nets Los Angeles Lakers ABC/ESPN
Dallas Mavericks Utah Jazz ESPN

Christmas Day standings

Of current NBA teams.[22]

Team Last Game Wins Losses Win % Previous team names
Atlanta Hawks 2021
(Lost 101–87 at New York)
9 12 .429 Tri-Cities Blackhawks (1949–1951)
Milwaukee Hawks (1951–1955)
St. Louis Hawks (1955–1968)
Boston Celtics 2020
(Lost 123–95 vs Brooklyn)
15 19 .441
Brooklyn Nets 2020
(Won 123–95 at Boston)
5 5 .500 New Jersey Nets (1977–2012)
Charlotte Hornets Never 0 0 Charlotte Hornets (original) (1988–2002)
Charlotte Bobcats (2004–2014)
Chicago Bulls 2016
(Lost 119–100 at San Antonio)
13 7 .650
Cleveland Cavaliers 2017
(Lost 99–92 at Golden State)
7 7 .500
Dallas Mavericks 2020
(Lost 138–115 at L.A. Lakers)
2 2 .500
Denver Nuggets 2020
(Lost 108–121 vs. L.A. Clippers)
1 6 .143
Detroit Pistons 2005
(Won 85–70 vs. San Antonio)
10 22 .313 Fort Wayne Pistons (1948–1957)
Golden State Warriors 2020
(Lost 99–138 at Milwaukee)
13 17 .433 Philadelphia Warriors (1946–1962)
San Francisco Warriors (1962–1971)
Houston Rockets 2019
(Lost 104–116 at Golden State)
6 6 .500 San Diego Rockets (1967–1971)
Indiana Pacers 2004
(Lost 98–93 vs. Detroit)
2 2 .500
Los Angeles Clippers 2020
(Won 121–108 at Denver)
8 8 .500 Buffalo Braves (1970–1978)
San Diego Clippers (1978–1984)
Los Angeles Lakers 2020
(Won 138–115 vs Dallas)
24 23 .511 Minneapolis Lakers (1948–1960)
Memphis Grizzlies Never 0 0 Vancouver Grizzlies (1995–2001)
Miami Heat 2020
(Won 111–98 vs. New Orleans)
11 2 .846
Milwaukee Bucks 2021
(Won 117–113 vs. Boston)
5 3 .625
Minnesota Timberwolves 2017
(Won 121–104 at L.A. Lakers)
1 1 .500
New Orleans Pelicans 2020
(Lost 98–111 at Miami)
1 3 .250 New Orleans Hornets (2002–2005, 2007–2013)
New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets (2005–2007)
New York Knicks 2021
(Won 101–87 vs. Atlanta)
23 31 .426
Oklahoma City Thunder 2018
(Lost 113–109 at Houston)
6 14 .300 Seattle SuperSonics (1967–2008)
Orlando Magic 2011
(Lost 97–89 at Oklahoma City)
5 4 .556
Philadelphia 76ers 2019
(Won 121–109 vs Milwaukee)
18 14 .563 Syracuse Nationals (1949–1963)
Phoenix Suns 2009
(Won 124–93 vs. L.A. Clippers)
12 6 .667
Portland Trail Blazers 2018
(Lost 117–96 at Utah)
14 4 .778
Sacramento Kings 2003
(Lost 111–103 vs. Dallas)
18 11 .621 Rochester Royals (1948–1957)
Cincinnati Royals (1957–1972)
Kansas City-Omaha Kings (1972–1975)
Kansas City Kings (1975–1985)
San Antonio Spurs 2016
(Won 119–100 vs. Chicago)
4 6 .400
Toronto Raptors 2019
(Lost 118–102 vs. Boston)
0 2 .000
Utah Jazz 2018
(Won 117–96 vs. Portland)
5 2 .714 New Orleans Jazz (1974–1979)
Washington Wizards 2017
(Won 111–103 at Boston)
16 7 .696 Chicago Packers (1961–1962)
Chicago Zephyrs (1962–1963)
Baltimore Bullets (1963–1973)
Capital Bullets (1973–1974)
Washington Bullets (1974–1997)

Most frequent match-ups among active teams

Count Matchup Record Years Played
12 New York Knicks vs. Philadelphia 76ers 76ers, 7–5 1953, 1954, 1957, 1960, 1962, 1968, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 2017
8 Boston Celtics vs. New York Knicks Celtics, 5–3 1954, 1958, 1959, 1967, 1980, 1985, 2011, 2016
6 Golden State Warriors vs. Portland Trail Blazers Trail Blazers, 5–1 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1984, 2010
6 Los Angeles Lakers vs. Phoenix Suns Lakers, 4–2 1968, 1973, 1976, 1981, 1996, 2007
6 Philadelphia 76ers vs. Washington Wizards Tie, 3–3 1967, 1969, 1971, 1979, 1986, 1988

Reception

Praise

Mike D'Antoni said that the players should feel "very fortunate" to play on Christmas Day and said that they could adjust their schedules a bit.
Mike D'Antoni said that the players should feel "very fortunate" to play on Christmas Day and said that they could adjust their schedules a bit.

Several fans, players, coaches, and members of the news media support the tradition of Christmas games. For players and coaches, the standard public statement is that a Christmas game is an honor, as it is not only a chance to play on national television, but also a reward for having a great team and great players.[3]

Before the game between the Boston Celtics and Orlando Magic at Amway Arena in 2009, personnel on both sides referred to playing on Christmas as a reward. Celtics Coach Doc Rivers said that like most of the players, he always watched Christmas Day games growing up. He said, "As a kid, you wanted to be on Christmas...I tend to look at it as a reward."[23] In 2010, added that it was an "honor" to be part of the marquee games, saying, "I look at it as a privilege. The fact that they asked us to play on Christmas means we're one of the good teams, one of the featured teams."[24] Magic Center Dwight Howard said that he didn't "see a challenge. We're playing basketball on Christmas. We couldn't help it. If you play on a pretty good team and if you have to play on Christmas, so be it. I enjoy it. I'd rather be playing on Christmas than sitting at home wishing I was playing on Christmas. I like it. I think it's fun."[10]

Lamar Odom called it "a tremendous privilege to be able to entertain the world...playing on TV in those games."[3] In 2010, Knicks Coach Mike D'Antoni said that players should be "very fortunate" to be playing on Christmas Day and that "it helps the league, and...it helps other people on Christmas or on the holidays."[17]

Doug White, an ESPN executive, said that Christmas is "Thanksgiving on the NBA side. Obviously, Christmas Day is a day when everybody is home, everybody is relaxing, and what better way to serve them than with as many games as we possibly can...We try to put on the best games possible that people have interest in."[25] Jermaine O'Neal on the Celtics agreed, saying, "It's special because the whole world is watching. It's Christmas, it's a special day, with everybody together to spend time with each other, as far as family and friends. We have the opportunity to do that, bringing our families down with us. It makes it that much more special—the opportunity to play in front of the rest of the world and be together at Christmas with our family."[24]

During broadcasts of NBA games, commentators and the news media have agreed with White and said that the nature of the games played has made Christmas Day the best day of an NBA regular season. They serve as a preview of a potential series in the playoffs, and perhaps, the finals.[6][21]

Criticism

See also: National Basketball Association criticisms and controversies

The Orlando Magic were fined in 2009 after Coach Stan Van Gundy said that the NBA should not be playing on Christmas Day.
The Orlando Magic were fined in 2009 after Coach Stan Van Gundy said that the NBA should not be playing on Christmas Day.

In recent years, players and coaches have complained about playing on Christmas Day, saying that takes time away from families.[26] In 2009, Orlando Magic Coach Stan Van Gundy requested that the NBA do not schedule any more games on Christmas Day, saying "I actually feel sorry for people who have nothing to do on Christmas Day other than watch an NBA game" and said that the day is best spent with family.[23] The Magic coach was fined for his comments.[26]

In 2010, there were complaints from both sides before the game between the Miami Heat and the Los Angeles Lakers in Los Angeles. Lakers coach Phil Jackson, son of two Christian ministers and author of a book on spiritual growth related to basketball, said, "I don't think anybody should play on Christmas Day" and "it's like Christian holidays don't mean...anything any more."[27] From the Heat, LeBron James said, "if you ask any player in the league, we'd rather be home with our families...It's not just a regular holiday. It's...one of those days that you wish you could wake up in the morning with the kids and open up presents."

Others have managed to voice some discontent while still accepting the Christmas game tradition. Before the game between the Bulls and the Knicks in New York, Coach Mike D'Antoni said, "I can adjust a little bit. I can open my presents up at 7 o'clock at night instead of 7 o'clock in the morning."[17] Raymond Felton said, "you'd rather be with your family. We're still going to celebrate." He, like many players, said that he was fortunate to have played with his family in attendance.[17] Bulls Coach Tom Thibodeau said, "I think it's an honor and a privilege to be playing. I know it's tough on the away team, particularly the players who have kids. But that's all part of it."[16] Derrick Rose said, "I'm going to miss my family, and I hate being away from home. But this is my job and it's an honor to be playing on Christmas."[16]

In 2004, the NBA was criticized for scheduling a game between the Detroit Pistons and Indiana Pacers. It was the first time since their brawl that the two teams had faced each other.[28] Such a pairing was unintentional, as the regular season was scheduled before the brawl took place.[28] The other game scheduled that day drew similar criticism. The game between the Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center marked the first time since the Lakers traded Shaquille O'Neal to the Heat that the two teams were facing each other and the first time that Shaq and Kobe Bryant would be facing each other as opponents.[11]

The NBA does not schedule games on Christmas Eve, December 24, to allow players and coaches who have to play on Christmas Day to be with their families.[26] Also families of players and coaches who participate in Christmas games, normally attend the games.[26]

Television ratings

See also: National Basketball Association on television

The NBA's Christmas games have garnered some of the highest ratings for any televised regular season NBA game. The TV ratings for the biggest Christmas games are often higher than any NBA game outside of the NBA Finals, and for many U.S. sports fans, Christmas serves as an unofficial "start" to the NBA season; the usual start of the NBA season occurs under relatively little fanfare compared to the NFL or MLB, as those leagues are at the most consequential points of their seasons.

In 2009, the game between the Miami Heat and the New York Knicks drew a 1.9 share with 2.6 million viewers, the highest rating for an NBA game on ESPN during the 2009–10 season.[25]

In 2010, the games that aired on ABC and ESPN delivered the highest cumulative audience ever. ABC's doubleheader averaged a 5.5 rating and ESPN's three telecasts averaged a 1.8 household coverage rating, the highest averages for either network when airing multiple NBA games on Christmas Day.[29] The game between the Heat and the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers drawing a 7.3 rating, making it the second-highest rated NBA regular season game on ABC, trailing only the game between the two teams on Christmas Day in 2004, which drew a 7.9 rating.[29][30][31] Because of the nature of the Heat-Lakers game, Miami guard Dwyane Wade had a new commercial unveiled nationally on Christmas.[26]

In 2011, due to a lockout, the regular season started with the Christmas games. These games drew larger audiences than the games in 2010.[31] The games averaged 6.2 million viewers,[31] with the Bulls–Lakers game drawing a 6.5 rating, the third-highest rated NBA regular season game on ABC, and the Celtics–Knicks game on TNT drawing a 4.0 rating, making it the most-watched Christmas game on cable.[31] The game between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Golden State Warriors drew a 2.3 rating, making it the highest-rated Christmas prime-time game on ESPN.[31] The Associated Press said of the large audiences: "NBA fans seem more excited about basketball's return than bitter about the lockout based on television ratings for the league's delayed openers."[31]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f Schuhmann, John (December 17, 2009). "Knicks, Kobe and more part of Christmas Day lore". NBA.com. Archived from the original on December 2, 2010. Retrieved December 28, 2010.
  2. ^ a b "Christmas: Three Wise Matchups". NBA.com. December 23, 2007. Archived from the original on September 8, 2009. Retrieved December 28, 2010.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Eisenberg, Jeff (December 24, 2009). "Christmas Tradition". The Riverside (Ca.) Press-Enterprise. p. B1.
  4. ^ a b c "Gasol sparks Lakers' late run to end Celtics' win streak". ESPN. Associated Press. December 25, 2008.
  5. ^ Robinson, Joshua (December 24, 2010). "Agony and Ecstasy on Christmas Day; From a 62-Point Defeat in 1960 to Bernard King's 60 Points in 1984, the Knicks Have Seen It All". Wall Street Journal. p. A23.
  6. ^ a b "Extra Hype in This Round of James vs. Bryant". The New York Times. Associated Press. December 25, 2010. p. B12.
  7. ^ a b Nadel, John (December 26, 2008). "Lakers Claim Finals Rematch; Celtics' 19-Game Win Streak Snapped". Washington Post. p. E1. Thursday's victory was the 1,000th for Lakers Coach Phil Jackson, enabling him to become the sixth NBA coach to reach that milestone. The 63-year-old Jackson has a career record of 1,000–423 in 17-plus seasons as coach of the Chicago Bulls and Lakers. He became the fastest to win 1,000 games, surpassing Pat Riley, who did it in 1,434 games.
  8. ^ Beacham, Greg (December 25, 2011). "Bulls rally to stun Lakers on Rose's winner". Yahoo! Sports. Associated Press. Retrieved December 26, 2011.
  9. ^ a b c d Beacham, Greg (December 25, 2010). "LeBron has triple-double, Heat rout Lakers". Yahoo! Sports. Associated Press. Retrieved December 28, 2010.
  10. ^ a b c Garcia, Art (December 21, 2009). "Christmas Day clashes bring back fond memories". NBA.com. Retrieved December 28, 2010.
  11. ^ a b Sandomir, Richard (December 25, 2004). "ABC Treating O'Neal-Bryant Showdown As Showcase". New York Times. p. D1.
  12. ^ Adande, J.A. (December 25, 2004). "Hosannas or Humbug?; O'Neal hopes for Christmas cheer, but Laker fans may not be in mood". Los Angeles Times. p. D1.
  13. ^ Sandoval, Greg (December 26, 2004). "Shaq Serves Holiday Stuffing; In Rivals' Showdown, Bryant Has 42, But O'Neal Wins". Washington Post. p. E1.
  14. ^ "NBA game: Knicks at L.A. Lakers Recap: Kobe Bryant scores 34 as Lakers drop Knicks to win 5th straight". ESPN.com. December 25, 2012. Retrieved December 25, 2012.
  15. ^ a b c Mahoney, Brian (December 2, 2011). "Magic-Thunder, Clippers-Warriors set for Christmas". ESPN.com. Associated Press. Retrieved December 3, 2011.
  16. ^ a b c Greenstein, Teddy (December 25, 2010). "Bulls don't need a holiday break; Thibodeau, players proud to be chosen for marquee slot". Chicago Tribune. p. 2.1.
  17. ^ a b c d Beck, Howard (December 25, 2010). "Feeling Fuzzy About Holiday Slot". New York Times. p. B11. Retrieved December 29, 2010.
  18. ^ Rosenbloom, Steve (November 29, 1998). "Selling Point". Chicago Tribune. p. 1. The NBA told NBC it has canceled the Bulls and the rest of the traditional Christmas doubleheader—Bulls-Knicks and Lakers-Suns.
  19. ^ DuPree, David (December 26, 1995). "Magic ground Rockets 92–90". USA Today. p. 1C.
  20. ^ Hoppes, Lynn (December 17, 2009). "Behind the scenes with Mariah Carey". ESPN.
  21. ^ a b c Mariah Carey NBA Christmas Special 2010 on YouTube
  22. ^ "CHRISTMAS DAY RECORDS (ACTIVE TEAMS)" (PDF). MediaCentral.NBA.com. NBA Media Ventures, LLC. December 7, 2018. Retrieved December 25, 2018.
  23. ^ a b "Humbug: Magic's Van Gundy opposed to NBA on Christmas". USAToday.com. Associated Press. December 25, 2009. Retrieved December 28, 2010.
  24. ^ a b Forsberg, Chris (December 22, 2010). "Doc Rivers likes Christmas games". ESPNBoston.com. Retrieved December 23, 2011.
  25. ^ a b Finn, Chad (December 24, 2010). "Working holiday for NBA: Five games, but not all in the spirit". The Boston Globe. p. C2.
  26. ^ a b c d e Reynolds, Tim (December 22, 2010). "Christmas games can be tough on those involved". USAToday.com. Associated Press. Retrieved November 3, 2011.
  27. ^ "Phil Jackson Complains That NBA Schedules Games on Christmas Day". NESN.com. Associated Press. December 22, 2010. Retrieved December 23, 2011.
  28. ^ a b "Christmas Day rematch 'makes me sick'". ESPN.com. ESPN. December 21, 2004. Retrieved December 22, 2011.
  29. ^ a b "Five games deliver record ratings on Christmas Day". NBA.com. December 27, 2010. Retrieved December 28, 2010.
  30. ^ "Heat-Lakers draws best rating since 2004". USA Today. Associated Press. December 27, 2010. Retrieved November 23, 2011.
  31. ^ a b c d e f "TV ratings rise for NBA's season openers on Christmas Day". NBA.com. National Basketball Association. Associated Press. December 26, 2011. Retrieved December 26, 2011.
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