Christmas day is one of the biggest days of the NBA season and with the late December start of this season. And like the 2011-12 lockout season, Christmas will be the big kickoff to the 2020-21 season.
At Noon, the New Orleans Pelicans will play the Miami Heat. The Pelicans made a lot of moves this off-season and will have new players like Steven Adams and Eric Bledsoe make their debut in New Orleans. For Miami, they will try to recapture that momentum that led them to the NBA Finals last season. The Heat signed Avery Bradley and resigned All-Star Center/Forward Bam Adebayo to a 5-Year Max extension this offseason as well.
At 2:30, the Milwaukee Bucks will host the Golden State Warriors. #2 Overall pick James Wiseman will make his NBA debut alongside the full return of Stephen Curry. Golden State will be without All-Star guard Klay Thompson who tore his achilles just weeks before the season. Jrue Holiday will make his debut in Milwaukee after being one of the blockbuster trades this offseason.
At 5:00, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant will take the floor together for the first time against the Boston Celtics. This will be the first time we’ve seen Kevin Durant play since he tore his Achilles in the 2019 NBA Finals. For Boston, Kemba Walker will be out after he recently had a medical procedure done to his left knee. Young wing players Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown will have to make up for the absence.
At 8:00, the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers will host Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks. The Lakers made some upgrades to their roster with the signings of Marc Gasol, Montrezl Harrell, and Dennis Schroeder. 2020 NBA Finals MVP LeBron James and Anthony Davis will look to start another dominant season to try and repeat as champions, but Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis will be a formidable duo this season as well, as they attempt to advance further in this year’s conference standings.
To close the day at 10:30 the Los Angeles Clippers will travel to Denver to play Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets. During the bubble, the Clippers infamously blew a 3-1 lead to the Denver Nuggets in the western conference semifinals. The Clippers underwent a couple of changes after letting the 2020 6th man of the year Montrezl Harrell leave and sign with the Lakers and firing head coach Doc Rivers. The Clippers also signed Serge Ibaka this offseason. For the Nuggets, they will look to build off of the All-NBA talent of Nikola Jokic and budding star Jamal Murray.