The NBA is so eager to showcase New York on Christmas, in 2015 – the rare year the Knicks were left off the Christmas schedule – the league reportedly regretted omitting them after they exceeded expectations.
They were 14-16.
Spike Eskin of Sportsradio 94WIP:
The 76ers, another team that gets the big-market benefit of the doubt (though to a far lesser extent), are more deserving. Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz comprise an exciting young core. J.J. Redick and Robert Covington fill in nicely to help make Philadelphia competitive now.
Kristaps Porzingis is also a budding star, but beyond him, the Knicks don’t have much – except the New York market. That just matters so much to the NBA’s bottom line.
Variety helps engage fans, too. This will be the 76ers’ first Christmas game since 2001 and just their second since 1989.
They also carry enough potential pitfalls – Embiid getting hurt, the young players not being ready – that they won’t necessarily blow out the Knicks on national TV. Not many viable Christmas-playing teams offer that.