Christmas Day 2023

NBA announces Christmas Day games

Star power, playoff rematches and a classic rivalry highlight the 2023 Christmas Day schedule.

NBA on Christmas Day

The holiday tradition of NBA basketball on Christmas Day returns for the 76th time, and for the 16th consecutive season, a full five-game slate of games will keep the hoops action rolling from morning until night.

If watching NBA superstars is on your Christmas wish list, then this year’s lineup of matchups will deliver.

Six of the eight players that have been named Kia MVP over the past 15 seasons will be in action on Christmas Day:

  • Lakers’ LeBron James (2009, ’10, ’12’, ’13)
  • Suns’ Kevin Durant (’14)
  • Warriors’ Stephen Curry (’15, ’16)
  • 76ers’ Joel Embiid (’23)
  • Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo (’19, ’20)
  • Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic (’21, ’22)

The defending Eastern Conference-champion Miami Heat lead five teams from their conference into Christmas Day, including the three teams they had to beat on their way to the NBA Finals: Milwaukee, New York and Boston. The past four teams to win the NBA title — the Lakers (2020), Bucks (2021), Warriors (2022) and Nuggets (2023).

Dec. 25: Bucks vs. Knicks (Noon ET, ESPN)

The Knicks will extend their record for Christmas Day appearances (56) and look to tie the record for most Christmas Day wins (24) when they host the Bucks, who swept them last season. Milwaukee has won six straight head-to-head meetings.

A potential meeting in the 2023 Eastern Conference semifinals was thwarted after Milwaukee was upset by Miami in the first round. New York made the East semis after it ousted the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round behind the stellar play of Jalen Brunson.

Dec. 25: Warriors vs. Nuggets (2:30 ET, ABC & ESPN)

Christmas Day continues with a matchup of the past two NBA champions: the 2022 Warriors beat the Nuggets in the opening round on their way to their fourth title of this dynasty, with two-time Kia MVP Curry adding his first Finals MVP to his resume.

Last season, the Warriors were eliminated before a potential showdown with Denver in the conference finals as the Nuggets reached the Finals and won their first NBA title in franchise history with another two-time Kia MVP earning his first Finals MVP in Jokic.

Dec. 25: Celtics vs. Lakers (5 ET, ABC & ESPN)

The most storied rivalry in NBA history adds another chapter to its rich history as James, Anthony Davis and the Lakes take on Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and the Celtics. Both teams enter the season with their eyes set on being the first team to reach 18 NBA championships.

Last season, both contests between the Celtics and Lakers went to overtime, with Boston prevailing by four points each game. Overall, Boston leads the all-time regular season series 165-133 and is 43-31 vs. the Lakers in the playoffs, too.

Dec. 25: 76ers vs. Heat (8 ET, ESPN)

This showdown should pit Embiid (the reigning Kia MVP and two-time scoring champ) against the defending Eastern Conference champion Heat, led by former Sixers star Jimmy Butler.

The Heat won the 2022-23 season series, 2-1, with each team recording a 20-plus point blowout win. Miami, however, got win No. 2 in the series off an incredible acrobatic reverse layup by Butler with 90 seconds to play.

Dec. 25: Mavericks vs. Suns (10:30 ET, ESPN)

The first time Durant and Kyrie Irving met as opponents after their three-plus seasons as teammates delivered a classic overtime matchup between the Mavericks and Suns. In that game, four players scored 30 or more (Durant had 37 and Devin Booker had 36 for Phoenix; Luka Doncic had 34 and Irving 30 for Dallas) in the Suns’ 130-126 win.

That game left NBA fans clamoring for a playoff matchup that never materialized, but as a consolation, we get a rematch for Christmas.