It will be exciting to have more than just presents to unwrap on Christmas this year. We will have a Phoenix Suns game to unwrap as well! They will be playing the Warriors on ABC.
Christmas Day: a day to be with your nearest and dearest, to give and to receive gifts purchased during the hectic holiday season (or from Amazon), to consume copious amounts of food and drink...and to enjoy NBA basketball all day long.
The December 25 schedule is a traditional unveiling of the best matchups the Association has to offer. It is the holy grail of NBA scheduling, similar in importance to the first game of the NFL season or rivalry week in college football/basketball. These are games ideally arranged to maximize the viewership and provide memorable performances.
The league knows that they own the airwaves on December 25, although this season they will be competing with some NFL games (Browns vs. Packers, Colts vs. Cardinals). Therefore the league tries to construct the best basketball matchups possible to assist in not only promoting the stars of the league, but to fortify their narratives. Top seeded matchups typically litter the slate as do the key superstars.
On Tuesday the NBA announced who we would see just hours after Saint Nick expertly navigates his way down our chimneys, eats all of our cookies, and treats our milk like a #ChuggingWithTheFellas session.
The NBA will feature five games on Christmas Day (Saturday, Dec. 25) for the 14th year in a row, with ESPN or ABC televising each matchup. pic.twitter.com/IEvOgFkXCQ— NBA Communications (@NBAPR) August 17, 2021
Last year the team did not play on Christmas Day, despite the hype following their undefeated run in the Orlando Bubble and the Chris Paul trade. While many predicted that Phoenix would be playoff bound, they had not done anything of relevance to earn a spot in front of a massive audience.
That has changed.
Phoenix is coming off of quite an impressive 2020-21 NBA season. They had the second best record in the league. They won the Western Conference. They lost in the NBA Finals in 6 games. They possess the stars and the narratives ripe for a Christmas Day matchup.
And now they have earned a primetime matchup against a franchise that plays perennially on the holiday.
The Golden State Warriors, a team that posted a 39-33 record last season, are no stranger to the bright lights of Christmas Day. The last time they didn’t play on December 25 was at the start of the 2012-13 season.
The Warriors are a team looking to rebound after a pair of disappointing and injury filled campaigns. The team that made five consecutive trips to the NBA Finals from 2015 to 2019 have been without Klay Thompson (ACL, Achilles) for the past two years. At the beginning of the 2019-20 season, Stephen Curry broke his left wrist against the Suns when Aron Baynes landed on him.
Due to the injuries, Golden State had the #2 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, opting to take Memphis big man James Wiseman. After trading D’Angelo Russell to the Timberwolves, and having another average season in 2020-21, the team had two lottery picks in the 2021 NBA Draft, choosing Jonathan Kuminga at #7 and Moses Moody at #14.
While maintaining a core of Curry, Thompson, and Draymond Green, the team has become younger and more athletic. Executive Bob Myers has surrounded his core and his young talent with plenty of veteran presence. Nemanja Bjelica, Otto Porter, Jr., and Andre Iguodala joined Golden State this past offseason. And don’t forget, Andrew Wiggins has played well since donning the yellow and royal blue.
The stars are there, as it the narrative: Chris Paul is not the biggest Golden State Warriors fan.
Suns fans have been manufacturing sub-par rivalries all year but the NBA remembered the only important thing here...Chris Paul hates the Warriors.— Mike Vigil (@protectedpick) August 17, 2021
Why not have Steph Curry versus Chris Paul accompany your Christmas ham and cranberry sauce? It makes for good TV, which is precisely what the NBA is attempting to provide.
There you have it. A Pacific Division battle awaits the Suns on December 25. And note that the Arizona Cardinals are playing at 6:15pm AZ time on Christmas as well. So spike the eggnog, unbuckle your belt, and melt into your favorite seat in front of your television set, and tell your family you love them...and to leave you alone.
Merry Christmas. Go Suns.