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Fun facts about NBA Christmas Day games
Dec 23, 2021, 4:36:00 AM

Fun facts about NBA Christmas Day games

Christmas Day games are seen as a big flurry of battles that bring a lot of intensity and excitement to NBA fans. These games have showcased rivalries or teams and the greatness of many players who had record-breaking feats.

As far as NBA Christmas Day games go, fans are always wild and they have been played annually since 1947. NBA’s games are regular compared to other leagues in the United States. This is what makes the NBA a top pick among many fans to watch on Christmas Day.

Major League Baseball is in its off-season during this time, while the National Football League plays games on that day should it fall into the weekend - making Christmas Day games rare. Meanwhile, the National Hockey League is not allowed to have any games on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and Boxing Day due to the collective bargaining agreement.

Young fans usually ask if there are NBA games on Christmas Day, and they are pleased to find out the answer since the NBA is one of the few leagues in the world that has games during that day.

There is no other consistent league that shows Christmas Day games than the NBA. This makes the league a lovable one to watch, and a lot of fans crave these intense games just to see the best players and teams in action.

Back then, the location of two teams played a role in the matchups. Teams would only play against nearby rivals to save travel time and have more to spend with their families after the game. As the years went by, the games became more focused on the rivalries and less on the location instead. Most of the time, games were seen as a rematch of the past NBA Finals.

Here are the fun facts about the NBA’s Christmas Day games:

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The first Christmas Day game was a blast

The first NBA game that was played on December 25 was in 1947 between the New York Knicks and the Providence Steamrollers. It was a home game for the Knicks, and the fans at Madison Square Garden enjoyed a massive win of 89-75.

This made the Knicks one of the exciting teams to watch in every Christmas Day game. Most fans would still flock to the MSG even if the Knicks weren’t that much of a contender before their major revamp in the past few years.

However, the first Christmas Day game for the renamed NBA was in the 1949-50 season where the Philadelphia Warriors visited the Baltimore Bullets for a hometown showdown. This was one of the intense games on Christmas Day since it ended in a 64-63 win for the Warriors and fans were thrilled to see a back and forth battle back then.

This rivalry between two Eastern Conference teams added to the plethora of exciting games in the league. Philly’s players were seen as the elite team that time and yet they were held to just 64 points against a team that didn’t really pack a punch back then.

These two games are seen as the start of an era that hosted Christmas Day games and it continued up to the modern era. The games also gave a lot of chances for teams in the NBA to shine even if they were not much of a big contender at all.

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The best NBA stars always leave a mark in Christmas Day games

There are a lot of players who have shined their big games in Christmas Day games. Most of these players have found their perfect groove at a time when their teams needed them to spark for a win or to claw back for a comeback victory. There are many stories from the NBA Christmas Day games, with Lebron James’ plays being one of the best.

LeBron James is seen as one of the best players for this specific game since he has played a lot of Christmas Day games in his career. The star forward has been a menace against most teams in the NBA, and nothing beats his best game in a holiday game.

James’ games on Christmas Day are all on a better note than most fans think. He is one of the many players who is always featured on holiday games, and there is no doubt that he will not miss those for the rest of his career.

He is also one of the leading scorers on Christmas Day and the star has always been on fire in his games with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat, and the Los Angeles Lakers. This makes him an icon and definitely one of the best players to step on the court on Christmas Day.

Dwyane Wade is another big hit when it comes to NBA Christmas Day games. The Flash is clearly one of the best players in the NBA, but he has set the bar just for this date. The Miami Heat icon has won the most games on Christmas Day.

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Wade is a generational talent who loves to score and make plays for his teammates. He was named The Flash for his incredible speed which made him a big favourite among many fans. Wade has more than 10 wins on Christmas Day, making him the most successful player on the said date and it would take some time to match his tally.

The late Kobe Bryant is also one of the big icons on Christmas Day. The Black Mamba proved to be one of the best stars who shined bright in his time, and he was a sensational icon who made the Lakers an exciting team to watch as well.

The Lakers bagged a lot of Christmas Day wins and most of those came from Kobe’s lead. The late star is a symbol of hope for basketball players all over the world. The LA squad also enjoyed success thanks to him, and this is why he is a legend in Christmas Day games.

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Big records are set on Christmas Day games

Christmas Day games are a fun event to watch, and they have been the perfect battleground for heavy teams in the league. Impressive stats were also made during these games, which is the reason why fans are looking forward to watching basketball on Christmas.

For starters, winning is a huge standard on Christmas Day. Former Portland Trail Blazers coach Jack Ramsay believes Christmas Day is the best time to win games. ‘Christmas meant being at home with the family and having a game we always won’, the former Blazers coach said. ‘That was a perfect Christmas to me’.

Ramsay set the record for the most victories by a coach on Christmas Day with 11. That record was soon broken and matched by Phil Jackson in 2008.

The Lakers are still one of the best teams on Christmas Day. The team has a 24-23 record that spans all the way back to the time when they were still the Minneapolis Lakers. The last Christmas Day game the Lakers played was in 2020, a 138-115 win against the Dallas Mavericks.

The next team with the most wins is the Knicks with a record of 22-31. They are one of the teams that have been around since the early days of the NBA, and there is no denying that the Knicks franchise has made waves over the years.

The last time they played on Christmas Day was in 2018, a 109-95 loss to the 2021 defending champions Milwaukee Bucks. The Knicks are one of the biggest franchises in the NBA and they have a record with Bernard King as well - the Hall of Fame forward who has scored the most by a player on Christmas Day with 60 points.

The Philadelphia 76ers hold the third-best record on Christmas Day. The team boasts an 18-14 record with a .563 winning rate. They shared the record with the Syracuse Nationals before their name change in 1963. Their last Christmas game was against the Bucks with a 121-109 win in 2019.

There are a total of 19 games that went for an extra period on Christmas Day, and fans have always enjoyed this big delight of intense games over the years. The first overtime game was between the New York Knicks and the Philadelphia Warriors in the 1950-51 season.

Three games went to double overtime, and the last one was in the 1985-86 season when the Boston Celtics forced a 2OT game against the Knicks on the road. Knicks fans were glad to see them edge their Boston rivals with this big win.

The NBA’s Christmas Day games are always a blast. They all bring delight to the league fans and a lot of people can expect them to be the standard that every regular season game should follow. This is why teams strive to get wins against their opponents on Christmas Day.

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Words: Paul Daniel Flores

Image: Alamy