Ranking the NBA’s 5 Christmas Day games that just leaked
The NBA’s Christmas Day slate for the 2019-20 campaign has been leaked, and as per usual, we will be treated to five games.
So, without a further ado, let’s jump right into the five contests and rank the matchups.
5. New Orleans Pelicans vs. Denver Nuggets
Gonna be honest: the intrigue around this one is pretty minimal. Yes, the Nuggets are good, and yes, Zion Williamson plays for the Pelicans. But the NBA couldn’t come up with a better matchup than this?
There is absolutely no rivalry between the two sides, and this likely won’t represent any type of playoff preview, either.
I guess it will be cool to see Nikola Jokic getting some more national attention, as maybe more people will start realizing just how phenomenal he is, but this game as a whole wouldn’t even be all that interesting for a national TV game on a typical weekday, let alone on Christmas.
4. Boston Celtics vs. Toronto Raptors
Had Kawhi Leonard returned to Toronto, this one would certainly be one to look forward to, but what we have is really the shells of the two teams we saw go at it this past season.
While the Celtics should still be a top-four team in the Eastern Conference by replacing Kyrie Irving with Kemba Walker and with the hope that Gordon Hayward and their young guys will be better next season, the Raptors will probably be fighting for a playoff spot.
Boston-Toronto is nice rivalry and the Raptors are the defending champions, but Celtics-Nets would have been a much better choice here, as it would pit Irving against his former C’s team.
3. Houston Rockets vs. Golden State Warriors
This is kind of like the Celtics-Raptors matchup in terms of it being a rivalry that has lost some buzz, except on a lesser scale.
Not only is Kevin Durant no longer in Golden State, but Klay Thompson will also be out as he nurses his torn ACL. Yes, Stephen Curry and Draymond Green will still be around, and new addition D’Angelo Russell should be interesting, but let’s face it: the Warriors are hardly going to be the same.
Meanwhile the new-look Rockets will boast an incredibly intriguing duo of James Harden and Russell Westbrook, two players who have been on the wrong end of playoff series with the Dubs since 2015 (more in Harden’s case than Westbrook’s).
The dynamic between Harden and Westbrook will be interesting to watch, but this isn’t the same compelling matchup we have seen the past couple of years.
2. Milwaukee Bucks vs. Philadelphia 76ers
Now we’re talking.
The Bucks and 76ers are considered by many to be the two best teams in the East, and given the rivalry that seemed to be budding between Giannis Antetokounmpo and Joel Embiid this past season, there could be some fireworks in this one.
While there isn’t a real “beef” between Giannis and Embiid, you kind of get the feeling that these two guys just do not like each other, especially after Embiid’s comments about him being the most dominant player in the league this past year.
This is definitely a potential playoff preview, and that alone makes this an attractive matchup.
1. Los Angeles Lakers vs. Los Angeles Clippers
Can you imagine the buzz inside the Staples Center whenever these two teams face off next season?
There has never been a time in the history of these two franchises that both the Lakers and Clippers were title contenders, but that is the position both sides find themselves in heading into 2019-20.
With the Lakers adding Anthony Davis and the Clippers bringing in Kawhi and Paul George, a legitimate argument can be made that these are the two best teams in the league, so seeing them duke it out for LA supremacy will be beyond entertaining.
And let’s face it: seeing Leonard guard LeBron has always been a treat ever since Kawhi’s early days in San Antonio.
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