Christmas Day is upon us and that means it’s time to hope there’s as much loot as possible in your stocking and that you’re left alone to do what everyone wants to do on a day like this: watch basketball.
In fact, there’s a full slate of games on Christmas in the NBA, including the one everyone is anticipating in a rematch of the 2016 NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers.
I have three things I want to see in particular on Christmas as I try to avoid my one uncle who always seems to drink too much eggnog and talk my ear off saying look, Dane, I know it’s your job and everything but the NBA was absolutely better in the ’90s because of hand-checking, OK?
I’m just hoping underneath the tree this year is a pair of much-needed ear muffs.
Russell Westbrook vs. the Minnesota Timberwolves Defense
Russell Westbrook is an absolute monster. I think we all know that by now as the Oklahoma City Thunder guard is averaging at triple-double. No, the Thunder offense isn’t remarkable outside of Westbrook — ranked just 15th of 30 — but the Timberwolves defense is bottom 5 and that should be fun to watch no matter what.
What else do you want to see on Sunday other than a man trying to ruin someone else’s Christmas by dunking every single one of his 44 points?
Plus, Karl-Anthony Towns!
Christmas Carmelo Anthony vs. the Boston Celtics
Here isCarmelo Anthony’s point totals from his last four Christmas Day games: 34, 34, 37, 32.
It’s easy to say that I want to watch this game because of the offensive firepower between the Celtics and Carmelo, so I will. The New York Knicks in each of those four games have a record of 1-3, but Boston has the 14th-ranked defense in the NBA. The Celtics are also bringing a Top 10 offense headed by Isiah Thomas.
The only thing about this one is that it might be too much scoring too early in the morning for me to enjoy this one. I’m going to be in a robe on my parents’ couch while Carmelo and Thomas might combine for 70 before I’ve had a bagel.
Golden State Warriors vs. Cleveland Cavaliers II: Electric Boogaloo
This is what we all came to see. It’s what I’ll be watching at 11:30 AM PST here on the West Coast through bites of whatever syrupy, waffle-and-whipped cream dessert thing we have Christmas morning I’ll unconvincingly tell my girlfriend is actually just a light brunch.
Kevin Durant — as you may remember — was on the Thunder last season and now (gasp!) has joined forces with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green to try and slay the dragon that is LeBron James and his band of merry men (read: J.R. Smith).
Narratives aside, this is likely to be the best actual basketball game of the day from an execution and competition standpoint, and very well could be a 2017 NBA Finals preview.
So we’ll see you on Sunday, phone in hand and checking scores as you try to seem grateful for the third Slap Chop you’ve unwrapped in as many years while sneaking peeks at the TV.
And hey, the best thing about that 11:30 AM Warriors – Cavaliers game?
It’s still too early for eggnog.
Knicks vs. Celtics | 9:00 AM PST on ESPN
Warriors vs. Cavaliers | 11:30 AM PST on ABC
Bulls vs. Spurs | 2:00 PM PST on ABC
Timberwolves vs. Thunder | 5:00 PM PST on ESPN
Clippers vs. Lakers | 7:30 PM PST on ESPN