NBA Christmas Day Preview: What to Watch For
After a great first two nights of having the NBA back, we get right into the best NBA day of the entire season. NFL has Thanksgiving, the NBA has Christmas. Most years we have a better idea of each team's identity going into these games. But this year, like everything else in 2020, is different. We are going to take you through each game, the lines, the matchups, and anything else to watch for.
Game 1 - New Orleans Pelicans @ Miami Heat
Miami -3.5, O/U 223.5
The Heat opened their season with a 113-107 loss to the Orlando Magic. The Pelicans opened their season with a 113-99 win over the Toronto Raptors. It seems Stan Van Gundy has turned the Pelicans defense around already. They won't hold teams under 100 every game but the fact they did it to the Raptors is a big step in the right direction. The addition of Steven Adams gives them a legitimate center for Lonzo Ball and Eric Bledsoe to work off of. Heat fans shouldn't overreact to an early loss to the Magic. Coming off of an extremely short offseason the Heat were bound to start slow.
Brandon Ingram vs Jimmy Butler will be the matchup to watch. If the Heat put Bam Adebayo on Zion Williamson that could be interesting too. No one can quite match Zion's speed and strength but Bam comes close. The total of 223.5 seems high, but Vegas knows best. This game should be a great way to start your Christmas morning.
Game 2 - Golden State Warriors @ Milwaukee Bucks
Milwaukee -10, O/U 232
The Bucks lost in a thriller to the Celtics in their first game of the season. Giannis missed a free throw that could've sent the game to overtime with 0.4 seconds left. The Warriors were blown out by the Nets in their first game of the season. Draymond Green is out again for the Warriors which will hurt their offense but even more their defense. Kelly Oubre Jr and Andrew Wiggins will have to guard Giannis which is a recipe for disaster for Golden State.
Steph Curry vs Jrue Holiday will be the best matchup in this game. A top offensive guard in NBA history vs the best defensive PG in the NBA currently. People are going to jump all over the Bucks -10, we'll see if the Warriors can keep it competitive.
Game 3 - Brooklyn Nets @ Boston Celtics
Nets -3, O/U 228
Why are the Nets favored on the road against a team that just beat the Bucks? They blowout the Warriors in the opener, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving looked great, but to be favored on the road is a big deal in the NBA. Usually Vegas has a reason for lines like this. Jayson Tatum has cemented himself as a superstar in this league, with another game-winner in their season opener.
Tatum vs Durant is one of the best matchups we could have in the NBA. The only better could maybe be Lebron and KD. Tatum is the young superstar and KD is the former-MVP returning from injury to try to win a championship. Kyrie vs Kemba Walker is also a matchup of two of the best ball handlers in the league.
Game 4 - Dallas Mavericks @ Los Angeles Lakers
Lakers -6, O/U 227.5
As most teams do after a championship and a ring ceremony, the Lakers lost to the Clippers on opening night. They are coming off of the shortest off season for any team in any of the 4 major sports in history. There is definitely going to be some fatigue that will set in. The Mavericks opened their season against the new look Suns, losing 106-102. Luka Doncic took a lot of the blame for the loss, taking some questionable shots down the stretch.
Lebron vs Luka is like seeing an old and young Lebron. Statistically Luka is on pace through 2 years to be better than Lebron...but we all know that probably won't happen. It will be interesting to see who Dallas has guard Anthony Davis with Porzingis being injured.
Game 5 - Los Angeles Clippers @ Denver Nuggets
Clippers -2.5, O/U 224.5
The Clippers pulled off the upset against the Lakers on opening night. All off season all they heard was about blowing the 3-1 lead to Denver in the conference semi-finals last season. This looks to be a game where they are looking for redemption, although it means nothing unless they beat them in the playoffs. Denver lost to the Kings in their opener on a Buddy Hield buzzer-beating tip-in.
Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic vs Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. Most teams looking for revenge should be favored against the team they lost to last postseason, but there is something different about these Nuggets. Jamal Murray especially carries a cockiness with him that makes it seem like circumstances don't matter, but if they did he would want to cement how bad he beat up on the Clippers last year.