Over the last week there has been a steady trickle of reporting regarding the upcoming NBA schedule release, mostly focusing on the two biggest days of the first half of the season: Opening Night and Christmas Day.
While we wait for the official schedule announcement from the league this week, we can cobble together the full Christmas Day slate with all five matchups on the NBA’s biggest day being reported by various outlets, from Marc Stein, Gary Washburn, and, in a bit of an upset, James Harden getting the scoops on the schedule.
So we have three Christmas Day matchups now if the schedule holds as listed on the preliminary version:
Grizzlies at Warriors
Lakers at Mavericks
Suns at Nuggets
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) August 14, 2022
Christmas in the garden!
— James Harden (@JHarden13) August 14, 2022
— gary washburn (@GwashburnGlobe) August 14, 2022
If we were to game out the expected start times, I’d anticipate the schedule to look something like this, although the league could flip around some of these matchups.
12:00 p.m. ET: Sixers at Knicks
2:30 p.m. ET: Bucks at Celtics
5:00 p.m. ET: Lakers at Mavericks
8:00 p.m. ET: Grizzlies at Warriors
10:30 p.m. ET: Suns at Nuggets
Given that the opener and closer of the Christmas Day slate are usually ESPN games, with the three in the middle on ABC, this feels like a pretty safe bet for what the schedule will look like. Suns-Nuggets as the nightcap and Sixers-Knicks as the opener are locks, while Grizzlies-Warriors in primetime feels right (it’s possible they’d opt for Lakers-Mavs there, but I feel pretty good about that in the midday window), and Bucks-Celtics was literally the 2:30 p.m. ET game a year ago, just in Milwaukee.
It’s a very good slate of games, with the only team you don’t feel is a playoff lock being the Knicks, and we’ll get a couple of heated playoff rematches, Luka-LeBron, and the reigning two-time MVP all on the Christmas Day card — going up against NFL games for the first time.