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Best NBA Holiday Matchups

Wajahat Malik

This upcoming NBA season has already announced the games on Christmas and MLK day. These are the 5 games you must tune into for the best experience of watching amazing basketball.

1. Memphis Grizzlies vs. Golden State Warriors (Christmas Day)

The best game to watch on Christmas day is the Grizzlies vs Warriors matchup on Golden State home court. These two teams have emerged a rivalry ever since the 2021 play in the tournament. The Grizzlies were the 9th seeded team and the Warriors were the 8th seed in the 2020-2021 season. They faced each other in the play-in tournament for the 8th seed and the Grizzlies ended up winning and entered the playoffs. Stephen Curry had an amazing season that year, but the Warriors ended up missing the playoffs after that loss. Then this past season they faced each other in the second round of the playoffs. The Warriors ended up winning 4-2 and ended up winning the championship. Ja Morant got injured during game 3 and missed the rest of the series. A lot of people made the speculation that if he never got injured the Grizzlies would have won. But what juiced up this rivalry was the twitter wars between the players. Jaren Jackson made a disrespectful tweet after they beat them in a regular season game and then in the press conference after winning the championship, Klay Thompson addressed that tweet and called him a “bum”. Also, Ja and Draymond were going back and forth about facing each other on Christmas. Now it has been confirmed and will be a spicy matchup to see.

2. Utah Jazz vs. Minnesota Timberwolves (MLK Day)

The best game to watch on MLK day is the Jazz vs Timberwolves. This will be the most interesting one because this off-season, the Jazz traded away their all-star center Rudy Gobert. Since the 2019-2020 season, there were always rumors about Donovan Mitchell not liking playing alongside Rudy Gobert. These rumors started to happen when both players caught the coronavirus. Rudy was infected by it first and it spread to Donovan which made Mitchell furious with Gobert. There were rumors that Donovan wasn’t speaking to Rudy after that and might affect the team. This past season there was a stat that Donovan only averages three passes per game to Rudy which was very surprising to people since they run a bunch of picks and rolls together. This shows that there was a trust issue and poor chemistry on the court with them two together. This is why the Utah Jazz traded Rudy and now Gobert will be looking for revenge against the Jazz on MLK day.

3. Milwaukee Bucks vs. Boston Celtics (Christmas Day)

Another game to be aware of on Christmas day is the Bucks vs Celtics matchup. Giannis who is arguably the best player in the NBA vs Tatum who was the first player to win the Larry Bird trophy. These two teams faced each other this last season in the playoffs in the second round. The Boston Celtics won in 7 and made it to the finals. However, Khris Middleton did not play in that series. It was still an amazing series between these two teams, but a lot of people are saying it would have been a different outcome if the Bucks had Middleton. The Bucks and Celtics have played against each other a lot in the playoffs these past couple years and both have won against each other. Now we can look forward to Christmas day and see if the Bucks will get their payback or will they lose to the Celtics again.

4. Miami Heat vs. Atlanta Hawks (MLK Day)

Another MLK game to pay attention to is the Heat vs Hawks. These two teams played against each other this past season in the first round of the playoffs. Even though the Miami Heat won in 5, the Hawks battled until the end. In the first game there was a lot of intensity played which led to a confrontation in game between Trae Young and Jimmy Butler. The Heat made the eastern conference finals and lost to the Celtics in game 7 and the year before that the Hawks made the eastern conference finals too but lost in 6 against the Bucks. Both these teams were close to making the finals but fell short. The Hawks traded for all-star Dejounte Murray which will be very beneficial to the squad. This matchup on MLK will give playoff energy and it will be a scrappy matchup.

5. Phoenix Sun vs. Denver Nuggets (Christmas Day)

The last Christmas Day game is must see TV as the Suns vs Nuggets. The two-time MVP Nikola Jokic vs the best backcourt Chris Paul and Devin Booker. This will be a treat for the fans since we will be seeing a full healthy Nuggets team. Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. will share the court with Jokic and the Nuggets which is important since they both missed last season. Also, the Suns re-signed DeAndre Ayton to the max which was crucial since he was going to go to the Pacers if the Suns did not match the max offer. Also, they played against each other in the playoffs in the year of 2021 where the Suns swept them. Jamal Murray didn’t play that series but in game 4, Jokic was ejected for hitting Cameron Payne in the face by accident which led to a scuffle between Booker and Jokic. Both teams still have a grudge against each other since that incident which will give us a great battle on Christmas day.

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