Merry Christmas everybody! We at NBA Narratives hope that the holiday season has been a great one for you and your families. While most of us here will be spending the day with our families, we will all also be watching a TON of NBA basketball while polishing off the egg nog. And, if you’re a fan of the NBA, you know that Christmas is a big day for the association. The NBA likes to show it’s best and brightest stars, as well as crank up the narratives on Christmas Day. Let’s take a look at the narratives in play to get you ready for a full day of NBA (and DFS) action after the gifts are opened and the kids are playing…
Happy 28th Birthday to Eric Gordon! While the Rockets don’t play today, I expect Eric is sticking 30 footers in someone’s eye somewhere.
Carmelo Anthony and Joakim Noah, both born in New York, play at home in Madison Square Garden. This will be Noah’s first Christmas day game as a member of his hometown Knicks.
LeBron James plays in front of a hometown crowd for Christmas, although not for the first time. The Cavaliers have hosted two Christmas day home games with LeBron, in 2007 and 2008. This IS the first Christmas Day game for LeBron in Cleveland since 2008. Also, Steph Curry, famously born in the same hospital that LeBron James was born, plays near his birthplace of Akron. Something tells me he won’t get much of a hometown welcome.
Shaggy Swaggy P plays a Christmas game in his hometown of Los Angeles, against the LA Clippers.
Fair warning, I’m a Cleveland Sports guy (shout out to the Browns for winning a game yesterday!), and I want to get this out of the way. I grew up in Northern Ohio, dad took me to my first Browns game in 1988 (I was 7), and I was lucky enough to see Jordan play against some really good Cavs teams. My first memory of sports is crying in my parents living room because of John Fucking Elway.
To say that this past NBA finals and the Cavs winning a championship for Cleveland for the first time in 52 years meant a lot to me is an understatement.
I was in Cleveland for Game 6 and the weekend after (wedding), and actually left Sunday morning (after buying about 20 t-shirts) and drove the 90 minutes to my parents house to watch game 7 Sunday night with my Dad. The championship meant a lot to a lot of people, and I’m thankful that my dad got to see his team win a championship in his lifetime and even more thankful that I was able to see it with him. These are sports memories that I will forever cherish, and I don’t say that with any exaggeration or hyperbole.
With all that said, here’s where things get good. After a Noon ET warmup with the Celtics @ Knicks, we get a 2:30pm ET ABC nationally televised game with the defending champ Cleveland Cavaliers hosting the Golden State Warriors. Make no mistake, this will be the most hyped and very likely the most watched NBA game of the regular season. After last year’s finals, the NBA landscape changed drastically. The Warriors, who went 73-9 in the regular season, had just somehow blown a 3-1 lead in the Finals to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. A finals that was chippy, physical, and involved a whole lotta trash talk. So how did they react? A couple of ways. Draymond Green, after almost single-handedly winning game 7 for the Warriors, stayed on the floor to congratulate Cavaliers players. Steph gave some congratulations and then fought back tears in the locker room after the game. Klay ran directly into the locker room, presumably with his feelings hurt. Cleveland celebrated, threw a party and parade for the ages, and Cleveland Sports fans like me found a sense of peace.
Then Golden State went out and signed Kevin fuckin’ Durant.
The trash talk has picked back up. Draymond Green was quoted as saying he wanted to “destroy” and “annihilate” the Cavs. Iman Shumpert was quoted as saying:
“He should. We supposed to hate them, and they supposed to hate us. It’s OK. They supposed to take cheap shots at us. They’re gonna hate us, fam. That’s what sports is. It’s great. I love every bit of it. I’m glad he said that ’cause we gon’ bust they ass, too. You need to type that up: We gon bust your ass. Period.”
This game should be amazing to watch, and the narratives are outstanding. Will the Warriors get a small slice of revenge for their Finals defeat? Will LeBron go “playoff Lebron” mode to try to win this game? Is this one of the few games we’re guaranteed to get full-run from all of the Warriors stars? Can the Cavs compete against the Warriors from last year PLUS Durant? I’ll have my Cavs shirt on watching, and from a DFS perspective will be heavily invested as well.
After the main course, we get a 5:30pm ET helping of the San Antonio Spurs hosting the Chicago Bulls. Pau Gasol, now starting at Center for the Spurs, welcomes his former team to town. I don’t believe Pau has any hard feelings toward Chicago, but I’m sure he would prefer to play well and win against his old teammates (what few are left on the roster anyway).
At 8pm, the Minnesota Timberwolves travel to Oklahoma City to take on the Thunder. While there are no revenge narratives in play, two of the league’s best young stars face off. Karl Anthony-Towns and Russell Westbrook have both been excellent lately. The pace of this game should be fast as well. Will Westy get another triple-double? Will KAT continue his breakout campaign or will the Stache Bros contain him?
And lastly, at 10:30pm (est), the Los Angeles Lakers take on the Los Angeles Clippers. For a very long time the Clippers were seen as “little brother” in LA. It’s only been recently that the Clippers have been good enough (and the lakers bad enough) to flip that script. The lakers play at a very fast pace, so this game should be fairly high scoring as well. Add in that CP3 is questionable at the time of this writing, and that Blake Griffin is out until at least January, and there should be some nice DFS value in this game.
Enjoy the Christmas NBA games everyone! The NBA loves to show off it’s marquee teams and players on Christmas, and this slate shouldn’t disappoint.