For these of us with socks and lumps of coal in our stockings, the NBA will not disappoint with their Christmas Day slate. After the Sixers go to Madison Sq. Backyard (Knicks are 2.5-point canine because the hosts) and the triple-double watch ends in Dallas with LeBron James and Luka Doncic face off (Mavericks are 8.5-point favorites), the marquee sport of the night time (sorry, Grizzlies, Warriors, Suns, and Nuggets) ideas off in Boston when Japanese Convention powerhouses Bucks and Celtics meet at TD Backyard.
The Celtics are 4.5-point favorites with the Bucks within the 617, however each championship contenders limp into Sunday. After a 1-5 stretch that included losses to the Orlando Magic and Indiana Pacers, the Celtics seemed like themselves in a Friday win in opposition to the Timberwolves. The Bucks, then again, have been a .500 staff in opposition to playoff groups during the last two weeks and had been most just lately blown out by the Brooklyn Nets 118-100.
The Celtics are trying to exorcise ghosts of Christmas previous. In final yr’s vacation assembly, Regardless of being undermanned, Boston had a 13-point lead halfway by means of the fourth quarter on the highway in Milwaukee. An all-too-familiar collapse within the clutch would result in a 117-113 loss, however would finally assist gas their resurgence after the brand new yr. They’ve suffered the same stretch this month and are hoping to make use of the Bucks sport as a springboard for a 2023 bounce again.
And although anyone win or loss in December would not matter greater than the following, it is exhausting to assume that both staff would not have this sport circled on their calendar. Disregard the glitz and glamor of a nationwide tv viewers on Christmas Day. That is the primary assembly between them since Recreation 7 of their grueling collection again in June and narratives abound. Malcolm Brogdon going through the staff that drafted him however wouldn’t pay him on the finish of his rookie contract? That’s water beneath the bridge at this level. Al Horford’s turn-back-the-clock efficiency in Recreation 4? Yesteryear’s information. These seven threes by Grant Williams that may bury the Bucks within the clincher? A distant reminiscence.
On the heart of Bucks vs. Celtics are two MVP candidates locking horns within the winter basic. Jayson Tatum was the early season favourite, however as Boston has waned, so have his odds although he’s nonetheless averaging career-highs in factors (30.5 per sport with 47-35-86 splits) and rebounds (8.1 rpg). Giannis Antetokounmpo clocks in at 31-11-5 as one of many league’s singular unstoppable forces. Our pals at DraftKings presently have Tatum and Antetokounmpo as co-favorites at +250.
After the Bucks and Celtics, the Memphis Grizzlies are 5-point favorites visiting the defending champs sans Steph Curry and Nikola Jokic and the Western Convention one-seed Denver Nuggets host the setting Phoenix Suns favored by 4.5 factors.