Christmas Day often produces some of the most highly-anticipated matchups during the NBA regular season — and this year’s slate is no exception.
On Tuesday, the league announced portions of its 2021-22 schedule, including an opening week slate and a complete list of games for Dec. 25.
- Hawks at Knicks
- Celtics at Bucks
- Warriors at Suns
- Nets at Lakers
- Mavericks at Jazz
Each of these matchups have several points of intrigue. From rising stars to veteran superstars, these games have it all.
NBA fans from around the league took to Twitter to react to this exciting slate. The vast majority of fans were happy with the schedule, but some questioned the validity of a few selections.
— Brian📸 (@iThatBoyBrian) August 17, 2021
My heart is FULL https://t.co/P2DnmRuCHl
— Charlie Bucket (@2_much_treble_3) August 17, 2021
— bro (@hopwhcf) August 17, 2021
— ً (@JahGoated) August 17, 2021
They gave the Boston Celtics the defending champions on Christmas in an early afternoon game.
— Dart_Adams (@Dart_Adams) August 17, 2021
Should be Heat/Bucks 🎯 https://t.co/iBNtPFzX02
— Isaiah Wharton (@Isaiah_Wharton) August 17, 2021
The first matchup between the Hawks and Knicks will feature a budding rivalry between the two Eastern Conference foes. In a heated first-round series this past year, New York and Atlanta developed a new-found hatred for one another. Rising superstar Trae Young will get some more national spotlight as he takes on Julius Randle and the Knicks.
The Celtics and Bucks feature another Eastern Conference rivalry. While Boston have long been near the top of the conference, many are questioning why they’re facing the reigning NBA champions on Christmas day — especially after their disappointing first-round exit this past season.
The next matchup is between the old and new guard in the Western Conference. Fresh off a Finals appearance, Devin Booker and the Suns will take on Golden State. The Warriors are the only team on this slate that failed to make the playoffs in 2020-21 — but the star power of Steph Curry and the return of Klay Thompson should be more than enough to make up for that failure.
Nets vs. Lakers very well could be a look into a future NBA Finals matchup. With James Harden and Kyrie Irving both hopefully back from injury and joining Kevin Durant, Brooklyn should be back in title-contending form this coming season. After a first-round exit in the postseason, LeBron James and his Los Angeles squad are looking to make a comeback of their own — adding superstar point guard Russell Westbrook and a slew of veteran free agents.
Finally, one of the NBA’s brightest young stars in Luka Doncic will take on the Utah Jazz. While the Mavericks were handed a first-round exit this past season, a matchup between Luka and Donavon Mitchell should be some solid West-on-West action.