Not every Christmas Day game can be as fun as LeBronfest ‘14: Heat-Cavs, but the league must still fill its Dec. 25 schedule.
With so many of the best teams in the Western Conference and many of the biggest markets on the East Coast, it’s a balancing act. Not every game in the Christmas lineup can feature two great teams.
Sometimes, a reasonable matchup between two not-terrible teams (sorry Wizards for the Knicks lowering the threshold) is good enough for the bottom-rung game.
Frank Isola of the New York Daily News:
The Wizards just advanced their furthest in the playoffs since 1979. They have one of the league’s most exciting players in John Wall. Bradley Beal adds to a young core. Paul Pierce brings championship experience and star appeal. Marcin Gortat is an enforces and a character. And Randy Wittman’s face can be pretty entertaining.
The Knicks play in New York City.
This would be the Knicks’ sixth straight Christmas Day appearance and the Wizards’ first in six years and just second in 27 years.
This sure didn’t look like just another game for Kevin Durant – and not only because the Thunder beat the Warriors for the first time since he left.
The 108-91 Oklahoma City victory didn’t look like just another game for Russell Westbrook (34 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists and four steals), either.
With the shot clock off in the fourth quarter and the game tied, Grizzlies big JaMychal Green put back Tyreke Evans‘ miss with a clutch flush. There’s a very fine line between ensuring the last shot and leaving time for an offensive rebound, and Memphis threated it almost perfectly.
Emphasis on “almost.”
The Grizzlies left the Mavericks 0.5 seconds, which Harrison Barnes used to bank in a 3-pointer – off a pinpoint bounce pass by Dennis Smith Jr. – to give Dallas a 95-94 win.
The Celtics didn’t have another comeback in them.
After overcoming a 13-point fourth-quarter deficit against the Mavericks on Monday to extend its winning streak to 16 games, Boston lost to the Heat tonight, 104-98. The streak ends as the NBA’s longest since the Hawks won 19 straight during the 2014-15 season.
The Celtics trailed Miami by 16 in the fourth quarter then cut the deficit to only one with three minutes left. But Dion Waiters hit back-to-back 3-pointers, helping the Heat pull away.
Goran Dragic (27 points) and Waiters (26 points) led Miami, which needed a reason to feel good after losing three of four to fall to 7-9.
The Celtics, on the other hand, still have a four-game cushion over the rest of the Eastern Conference. This might help them regain focus.