NBA releases Christmas Day schedule, starring Lakers and Nets

·2 min read

The NBA released a five-game Christmas Day schedule for its 75th anniversary season on Tuesday, highlighted by a showdown between the superstar-studded Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers.

The full slate (all times Eastern):

12 p.m.: Atlanta Hawks at New York Knicks (ESPN)

2:30 p.m.: Boston Celtics at Milwaukee Bucks (ABC)

5 p.m.: Golden State Warriors at Phoenix Suns (ABC)

8 p.m.: Brooklyn Nets at Los Angeles Lakers (ABC and ESPN)

10:30 p.m.: Dallas Mavericks at Utah Jazz (ESPN)

LeBron James and Kevin Durant will meet on Christmas for the first time since 2019. (Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images)
LeBron James and Kevin Durant will meet on Christmas for the first time since 2019. (Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images)

The Lakers and Nets are a dream NBA Finals Matchup, respectively featuring LeBron James and Kevin Durant in the league's two biggest media markets. The meeting also features two more former MVPs (Russell Westbrook, James Harden), another pair of All-NBA talents (Anthony Davis, Kyrie Irving), a host of former All-Stars (Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard, Marc Gasol, Blake Griffin) and some of the best value signings of the summer (Kendrick Nunn, Malik Monk, Patty Mills, Bruce Brown), all chasing rings.

Hawks star Trae Young will return to Madison Square Garden after villainously shushing New Yorkers, getting spit on by a fan and vengefully eliminating the Knicks in Game 5 of their first-round playoff series. Atlanta has not played on Christmas since 1989, the longest active gap between being featured on the holiday. That dishonor will now belong to the Sacramento Kings, who last played on Christmas in 2003.

The nightcap pits odds-on MVP favorite Luka Doncic and the Mavericks against the Jazz, who earned the Western Conference's No. 1 seed last season on the backs of All-Stars Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert, Mike Conley and a balanced roster flush with high-end talent. The Jazz last played on Christmas in 2018.

Both NBA Finalists will play on Christmas, as the reigning champion Milwaukee Bucks host the Boston Celtics and the Phoenix Suns host the Golden State Warriors. The Nets, Lakers, Bucks, Celtics, Warriors and Mavericks all played on Christmas last season. The Suns, Hawks, Knicks and Jazz replace the Miami Heat, New Orleans Pelicans, Los Angeles Clippers and Denver Nuggets from last year's holiday slate.

The NBA first played a game on Christmas between the Knicks and Providence Steamrollers in 1947, the second year of its existence. Every Christmas since has featured at least one NBA game, except during the 1998 lockout. Last season's condensed schedule rushed to start on Dec. 22, leading into the holiday.

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Ben Rohrbach is a staff writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at rohrbach_ben@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @brohrbach

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