All 5 NBA Christmas Games 2022 Ranking originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
Christmas is jam-packed with five NBA games on the calendar.
The promotion runs 24 hours a day from 12:00 p.m. ET to 10:30 p.m. ET. It’s safe to say that you’ll have plenty of time to watch the games while wrapped in warm blankets, sipping hot chocolate and receiving new gifts in your presence.
The ten teams that take the hardwood are the Philadelphia 76ers, New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers, Dallas MavericksPhoenix Suns, Denver Nuggets, Memphis Grizzlies, Warriors of the Golden StateMilwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics.
But which of the five games will look best under the bright lights? Let’s rank them all from least exciting to most:
5. Los Angeles Lakers at Dallas Mavericks
You can see the mindset from the NBA here: LeBron James vs. Luka Dončić. Fans will be jumping to TV screens to see two of the most prominent players in league history square off again, especially after putting on a show in their 2020 Christmas matchup.
But it’s 2022 now, and while both James and Dončić are having great seasons on an individual level, the quality of the teams isn’t exactly up there.
The Lakers have improved over the season thanks to Anthony Davis reaching new heights, but the rest of the roster hasn’t been consistent enough. Dallas continues to rely solely on Dončić to carry the offensive load and the lack of another star in support still holds the franchise back. Aside from the James/Davis vs. Dončić factor, there’s not much here in the second game of the day.
4. Philadelphia 76ers at the New York Knicks
Beyond the top two teams, the Eastern Conference is wide open, especially in midfield. Two teams that are beginning to gain momentum are the 76ers and the Knicks, who have met once before this season.
Despite struggling with various injuries throughout the season, Philly’s triumvirate of Joel Embiid, James Harden and Tyrese Maxey have managed to hover above .500. The Knicks haven’t been all that convincing after taking over Jalen Brunson, but Julius Randle’s recent form has the potential to take the team to a new level if he can sustain it.
The teams last met on November 4 when the Knicks won 106-104, though Embiid and Harden missed. The rivalry will add another chapter to their story at Madison Square Garden this Christmas as the first game of the day.
3. Phoenix Suns at Denver Nuggets
Unlike the Eastern Conference, where there were clear favorites for the top of the leaderboard, the entire Western Conference is wide open, making this an intriguing game.
The Suns and Nuggets meet for the first time this season in the final game of the day. Phoenix, fresh from leading the conference last year, hasn’t looked as dominant this season as Cam Johnson and Jae Crowder were injured and wanted a trade that all mattered. Devin Booker plays like a first-round All-Star nominee, but Chris Paul didn’t pull the strings as usual.
On the other hand, Nikola Jokić finally has help at both ends of the floor. Along with The Joker, Seven Nuggets are averaging double digits while trying to work things out on the defensive side. Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. are still integrating after missing out last season through injury, but this duel will show who the stronger side is between two potential No. 1 seeds in the conference.
2. Memphis Grizzlies with the Golden State Warriors
The drama gets real as the Grizzlies travel to the Bay Area to face the Warriors for the first time since the 2022 Western Conference Semifinals, when the Dubs won 4-2 in six games.
Yes Morant, Desmond Bane and the young Grizzlies gave Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and the veterans of the Warriors apt all series, leading to intense trash talk in a random but interesting rivalry.
Golden State has rebounded in the early parts of the season, with Curry bearing the burden and not getting as much help from elsewhere, but you never know when the Warriors will storm up the ladder. Memphis is still winning games despite injuries to Bane and Jaren Jackson Jr., who are just returning to action after missing the start of the season. The fourth game of the day should be a lively one at Bay.
1. Milwaukee Bucks at the Boston Celtics
The third game of the day will undoubtedly be the best. The Bucks and Celtics are the top two teams in the Eastern Conference and have played like title contenders all season, just like they did last year when they met in the conference semifinals.
Boston eventually came out on top with a Bucks sans Khris Middleton before falling short in the 2022 NBA Finals, but now both teams should get a healthy hit against each other in their first meeting of the new campaign.
Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown continue to dominate in an impressive one-two, while Malcolm Brogdon proves a fantastic addition as the sixth man off the bench. The Bucks have struggled through teams, with Middleton only playing five games so far after missing the start of the season through injury. The TD Garden should rock for it.