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Christmas Day facts & figures

Take a look at some of tidbits on the Christmas Day 2020 slate and historical numbers from NBA history.

From NBA.com Staff

LeBron James needs 35 points to pass Kobe Bryant for the all-time Christmas Day scoring record.

The NBA and Christmas Day games is a tradition that dates back nearly to the league’s inception in 1946-47. Since 1947, the NBA has been playing Christmas Day games in every season since whenever possible.

This season’s five Christmas Day games include a hearty slate that features all four teams that reached the conference finals in 2020. First, the New Orleans Pelicans take on the Miami Heat (Noon ET, ESPN), followed by the Golden State Warriors vs. the Milwaukee Bucks (2:30 ET, ABC). After that, the Brooklyn Nets visit the Boston Celtics (5 ET, ABC/ESPN Radio) followed by the Dallas Mavericks vs. the Los Angeles Lakers (8 ET, ABC & ESPN/ESPN Radio). Lastly, the LA Clippers vs. Denver Nuggets (10:30 ET, ESPN) will close out the evening.

Below are some notable facts and figures about both this year’s Christmas Day games and some tidbits from Christmas Day games past.


Christmas Day 2020: Notable facts

• The Bucks will host a Christmas Day game for the first time since 1968, their inaugural NBA season.

• The Lakers will play on Christmas Day for the 22nd straight year. They have the most all-time wins on Christmas Day with 23.

• The Mavericks will play on Christmas Day for the first time since 2011. That year, they began defense of their NBA championship against the Miami Heat on Christmas Day.

• The Heat have posted an NBA-best 10-2 record in games played on Christmas Day. Miami has won seven straight games on Christmas Day.

• Three of the 12 players who have won the Kia NBA MVP Award in back-to-back seasons will be in action on Christmas Day: Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks), Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors) and LeBron James (Los Angeles Lakers).

• LeBron James ranks third on the career Christmas Day scoring list with 361 points. He needs to score 17 points to pass Oscar Robertson (377) for second place and 35 points to pass Kobe Bryant (395) for first place.

• The New Orleans Pelicans’ JJ Redick is tied with James Harden for the most 3-pointers made on Christmas Day (23). LeBron James and the Brooklyn Nets’ Kevin Durant have both made 22 3-pointers on Christmas Day.

• Coaches Rick Carlisle (Dallas Mavericks), Steve Kerr (Golden State Warriors), Tyronn Lue (LA Clippers) and Steve Nash (Brooklyn Nets) all played on Christmas Day as NBA players.

• The Brooklyn Nets’ DeAndre Jordan and Kyrie Irving hold the single-game Christmas Day records in blocked shots (eight in 2011) and steals (seven in 2016), respectively.


Christmas Day 2020: 4 quick facts on each game

Pelicans vs. Heat

Pelicans: Last played on Christmas in 2019 (Won 112-100 vs. Nuggets)
Heat: Last played on Christmas in 2015 (Won 94-88 vs. Pelicans)

• The Pelicans’ Brandon Ingram hit a Christmas Day-record and career-high seven 3-pointers vs. Denver last season.

• Heat coach Erik Spoelstra has a 7-0 record in games played on Christmas Day.

 

Warriors vs. Bucks

Warriors: Last played on Christmas in 2019 (Won 116-104 vs. Rockets)
Bucks: Last played on Christmas in 2019 (Lost 121-109 vs. Sixers)

• Golden State will make its eighth straight Christmas Day appearance and 10th in the last 11 years.

• Milwaukee will play a game on Christmas Day for the third consecutive season.

 

Nets vs. Celtics

Nets: Last played on Christmas in 2013 (Lost 95-78 vs. Bulls)
Celtics: Last played on Christmas in 2019 (Won 118-102 vs. Raptors)

• Kevin Durant has averaged 30 ppg in nine games on Christmas Day.

• The Celtics have played 33 Christmas Day games, third-most behind the Knicks (53) and Lakers (46).

 

Mavericks vs. Lakers

Mavericks: Last played on Christmas in 2011 (Lost 105-94 vs. Heat)
Lakers: Last played on Christmas in 2019 (Lost 111-106 vs. Clippers)

• Dallas is 2-0 on the road on Christmas Day, with victories at Sacramento (2003) and Portland (2008).

• LeBron James has won nine games on Christmas Day, one behind Dwyane Wade’s NBA record of 10.

 

Clippers vs. Nuggets

Clippers: Last played on Christmas in 2019 (Won 111-106 vs. Lakers)
Nuggets: Last played on Christmas in 2019 (Lost 112-100 vs. Pelicans)

• Kawhi Leonard had 35 points, 12 rebounds and five assists vs. the Lakers on Christmas Day last year.

• Last season, the Nuggets hosted a game on Christmas Day for the first time since 1994.


Christmas Day history

Relive some of the great Christmas Day games in NBA history

Team-by-team Christmas Day records

Note: Only franchises that have played at least one game on Christmas Day are listed. Includes games when franchises were based in different locations.

TEAM RECORD WIN% HOME ROAD NEUTRAL FIRST LAST
Atlanta 9-11 .450 4-1 5-8 0-2 1950 1989
Boston 15-18 .455 1-1 13-16 1-1 1948 2019
Brooklyn 4-5 .444 1-2 3-3 1979 2013
Chicago 13-8 .619 8-1 5-7 1966 2016
Cleveland 7-7 .500 6-0 1-7 1970 2017
Dallas 2-1 .667 0-1 2-0 2003 2011
Denver 1-5 .167 1-1 0-4 1979 2019
Detroit 10-22 .313 5-2 4-17 1-3 1948 2005
Golden State 13-16 .448 7-5 3-11 3-0 1948 2019
Houston 6-6 .500 3-0 3-6 1967 2019
Indiana 2-2 .500 2-1 0-1 1981 2004
LA Clippers 7-9 .438 3-2 4-7 1970 2019
Los Angeles Lakers 23-23 .500 13-12 9-9 1-2 1949 2019
Miami 10-2 .833 5-0 5-2 1997 2015
Milwaukee 3-3 .500 0-1 3-2 1968 2019
Minnesota 1-1 .500 0-0 1-1 2016 2017
New Orleans 1-2 .333 0-0 1-2 2008 2019
New York 22-31 .415 21-24 1-7 1947 2018
Oklahoma City 6-14 .300 4-3 2-11 1967 2018
Orlando 5-4 .556 5-1 0-3 1993 2011
Philadelphia 18-14 .563 9-4 8-9 1-1 1949 2019
Phoenix 12-6 .667 11-5 1-1 1968 2009
Portland 14-4 .778 13-2 1-2 1971 2018
Sacramento 18-11 .621 15-9 3-2 1948 2003
San Antonio 5-6 .455 1-2 4-4 1977 2016
Toronto 0-2 .000 0-1 0-1 2001 2019
Utah 5-2 .714 5-2 0-0 1975 2018
Washington 16-7 .696 9-5 6-2 1-0 1961 2017

 

Most points in a single Christmas Day game

Relive Bernard King’s 60-point game from 1984

POINTS PLAYER (TEAM) YEAR GAME
60 Bernard King (Knicks) 1984 Knicks vs. Nets
59 Wilt Chamberlain (Warriors) 1961 Warriors vs. Knicks (2OT)
50 Rick Barry (Warriors) 1966 Warriors vs. Royals
47 Jerry West (Lakers) 1963 Lakers vs. Knicks
46 Tracy McGrady (Magic) 2002 Magic vs. Pistons

 

Most rebounds in a single Christmas Day game

REBOUNDS PLAYER (TEAM) YEAR GAME
36 Wilt Chamberlain (Warriors) 1961 Warriors vs. Knicks (2OT)
34 Bill Russell (Celtics) 1965 Celtics vs. Bullets
34 Wilt Chamberlain (Warriors) 1959 Warriors vs. Nationals
33 Bill Russell (Celtics) 1958 Celtics vs. Knicks
31 Bill Russell (Celtics) 1964 Celtics vs. Pistons

 

Most assists in a single Christmas Day game

ASSISTS PLAYER (TEAM) YEAR GAME
18 Nate Archibald (Kings) 1972 Kings vs. Bucks
18 Guy Rodgers (Bulls) 1966 Bulls vs. Knicks
17 Oscar Robertson (Royals) 1961 Royals vs. Lakers
16 Nate Archibald (Kings) 1975 Kings vs. Suns
16 Oscar Robertson (Royals) 1965 Royals vs. Warriors
16 Oscar Robertson (Royals) 1963 Royals vs. Hawks
16 Oscar Robertson (Royals) 1960 Royals vs. Pistons

 

Most blocks in a single Christmas Day game

BLOCKS PLAYER (TEAM) YEAR GAME
8 DeAndre Jordan (Clippers) 2011 Clippers vs. Warriors
7 Rudy Gobert (Jazz) 2018 Jazz vs. Blazers
7 Elvin Hayes (Bullets) 1980 Bullets vs. Nets
6 Tim Duncan (Spurs) 2013 Spurs vs. Rockets
6 DeAndre Jordan (Clippers) 2013 Clippers vs. Warriors
6 Tyson Chandler (Knicks) 2011 Knicks vs. Celtics
6 Amar’e Stoudemire (Knicks) 2010 Knicks vs. Bulls
6 Larry Smith (Warriors) 1980 Warriors vs. Blazers
6 Terry Tyler (Pistons) 1979 Pistons vs. Cavs

 

Players with most Christmas Day wins

As a player, Dwyane Wade amassed the most Christmas Day wins in NBA history.

PLAYER W-L RECORD (WIN%)
Dwyane Wade 10-3 (.769)
Udonis Haslem 9-1 (.900)
Dick Van Arsdale 9-3 (.750)
LeBron James 9-5 (.643)
Mike Riordan 8-0 (1.000)
Arnie Risen 8-1 (.889)
Wes Unseld 8-1 (.889)
Slater Martin 8-2 (.800)
Dick Barnett 8-3 (.727)
Oscar Robertson 8-4 (.667)
Earl Monroe 8-5 (.615)
Dolph Schayes 8-5 (.615)
Bob Davies 7-0 (1.000)
Scottie Pippen 7-0 (1.000)
Jack Coleman 7-1 (.875)
Mychal Thompson 7-1 (.875)
Bobby Wanzer 7-1 (.875)
Paul Seymour 7-2 (.778)
Wayne Embry 7-3 (.700)
Vern Mikkelsen 7-3 (.700)
Walt Frazier 7-4 (.636)

 

Coaches with most Christmas Day wins

COACH W-L RECORD (WIN%)
Jack Ramsay 11-3 (.786)
Phil Jackson 11-7 (.611)
Gene Shue 9-4 (.692)
Red Auerbach 9-6 (.600)
Red Holzman 8-7 (.533)
Les Harrison 7-0 (1.000)
Erik Spoelstra 7-0 (1.000)
John McLeod 6-2 (.750)
Joe Lapchick 6-2 (.750)
John Kundla 6-3 (.667)
Doc Rivers 6-6 (.500)

 

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