Suns-Warriors a rare Christmas matchup of NBA’s top teams

Stephen Curry in Phoenix Suns v Golden State Warriors
Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images
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When griping about playing a second straight Christmas road game, Warriors star Draymond Green said he would’ve accepted going to Milwaukee to play the defending-champion Bucks today.

But the NBA did did pretty well sending Golden State to Phoenix.

The Suns (26-5) and Warriors (26-6) are the NBA’s top two teams – creating a rare Christmas matchup. This is just the sixth time the teams with the league’s best records have met on Christmas:

  • 2021: Phoenix Suns (26-5) vs. Golden State Warriors (26-6)
  • 2020: Brooklyn Nets (1-0) def. Boston Celtics (1-0), 123-95
  • 2005: Detroit Pistons (21-3) def. San Antonio Spurs (21-6), 85-70
  • 1996: Chicago Bulls (24-3) def. Detroit Pistons (20-5), 95-83
  • 1956: Philadelphia Warriors (14-11) def. Boston Celtics (17-9), 89-82
  • 1949: Syracuse Nationals (22-3) def. Anderson Packers (16-6), 94-88

(Excluding 2011, when the season began on Christmas due to a lockout.)

Is Phoenix-Golden State a Western Conference finals preview? Not necessarily.

Of the prior Christmas games between the league’s top teams, only the 2020-21 Nets and Celtics met again in that season’s playoffs. And those teams were each only 1-0 after a late start due to coronavirus. Brooklyn overwhelmed Boston in the first round, 4-1.

Will the Suns and Warriors at least play a thrilling game today? Again, not necessarily.

The last single-digit Christmas meeting between top teams came 65 years ago. None of the prior five such matchups have been closer than six points.

Phoenix and Golden State have already played twice this season. The Suns won by eight on Nov. 30 then the Warriors won by 22 a few days later.

But there is considerable hype around the third meeting. Phoenix and Golden State have been so good, they’ve stolen the Christmas spotlight from from Nets-Lakers. The Suns and Warriors are definitely capable of delivering a highly entertaining game.

The teams have already done their parts to create a special matchup. Now, we’ll see whether the game itself delivers.