Cavaliers-Warriors Finals rematch headlines 69th edition of NBA on Christmas Day

NEW YORK  The NBA on Christmas Day holiday tradition returns this year for the 69th time in league history.  Five games will be televised in the United States on ABC and ESPN and will be seen in more than 200 countries and territories in more than 40 languages on Sunday, Dec. 25 (see schedule below), with more than 1.3 billion fans following the league on social media.

Christmas Day promises to be packed with star power.  The winners of the last eight Kia NBA MVP Awards and the previous nine scoring titles as well as 15 players selected to the 2016 NBA All-Star Game and all five members of the 2015-16 All-NBA First Team are set to take the court.  Four of the five teams currently with the NBA’s best records will be in action, including the defending NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers and the 2015 champion Golden State Warriors, who will play each other for the first time since The Finals 2016.

Here are some additional numbers surrounding the NBA on Christmas Day:

625      Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs have won 625 regular-season games together, by far the most among active duos.  Only four duos in NBA history have won more games as teammates than Ginobili and Parker, who are in their 15th season together in San Antonio.  The Spurs host the Chicago Bulls on Dec. 25. 

399      Cleveland’s Tristan Thompson is on track to make Christmas Day his 399th consecutive regular-season game appearance, the longest active streak in the NBA and the longest in Cavaliers history.  Thompson has played in every game since Feb. 10, 2012.

277      Chicago’s Dwyane Wade is the active scoring leader on Christmas Day with 277 points, the third-highest total all time behind Kobe Bryant (395 points) and Oscar Robertson (377).  Wade is also the active leader in games played on Christmas (11 entering this year).

242      After this year’s slate of games, the NBA will have played 242 games on Christmas Day since 1947.

51        The New York Knicks will play on Christmas Day for the 51st time, the most in NBA history, when they host the Boston Celtics (30th appearance).  The Los Angeles Lakers will be making their 43rd appearance, second on the all-time list, when they face the LA Clippers.

44        Golden State’s Kevin Durant owns the highest-scoring game on Christmas Day among active players, recording 44 points for the Oklahoma City Thunder against the Denver Nuggets in 2010.  (Bernard King holds the all-time single-game Christmas Day record with 60 points for the Knicks against the New Jersey Nets in 1984.)

37        Thirty-seven players from outside the U.S. representing 22 countries are on the rosters of teams playing Christmas Day.  The Spurs have the most international players (six), while the Knicks, Thunder, Lakers and Minnesota Timberwolves all have five each.  Spain is the country represented by the most players (five).

34.3     New York’s Carmelo Anthony has averaged 34.3 points per game on Christmas Day, the highest mark among all players with at least four appearances.  Anthony will play in his fifth Christmas game this year. 

31.5     The Warriors are averaging a league-best 31.5 assists per game this season.  The NBA single-season record is 31.4, set by the 1984-85 Lakers.

30        This year marks the 30th anniversary of Patrick Ewing hitting a buzzer beater to give the Knicks an 86-85 victory over the Bulls in one of the NBA’s most memorable Christmas Day games.  In that same game, Chicago’s Michael Jordan scored 30 points in the first of his six Christmas Day appearances.

21        The Lakers have won 21 games on Christmas Day, the second-most victories all time behind the Knicks’ 22.  Los Angeles has a 21-21 record on the holiday.

9          For the ninth consecutive year, the NBA will play five games on Christmas Day.

8          DeAndre Jordan of the Clippers holds the NBA record for most blocks in a Christmas Day game, rejecting eight shots against Golden State in 2011.

7          Play-by-play announcer Mike Breen and analysts Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson will broadcast their seventh Christmas Day game together when they call the Cavaliers-Warriors game on ABC.

5          Five players have recorded a triple-double on Christmas Day, including two who will be in action this year: Cleveland’s LeBron James and Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook, who has an NBA-high 13 triple-doubles this season.  The other three players with triple-doubles on Christmas are Billy Cunningham, John Havlicek and Oscar Robertson.

4          The four 21-year-old players who are currently averaging at least 20 points per game will make their Christmas Day debuts: Minnesota’s Zach LaVine, Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins and New York’s Kristaps Porzingis.

2          The two players who have scored the most points in a quarter in NBA history will square off on Christmas Day.  Golden State’s Klay Thompson set the NBA record by scoring 37 points in the third quarter against the Sacramento Kings on Jan. 23, 2015.  Cleveland’s Kevin Love is second on the list after scoring 34 points in the first quarter against the Portland Trail Blazers on Nov. 23, 2016.

1          The Timberwolves will make their first Christmas Day appearance in franchise history.


Game                                                                                      Time                       Network
Boston Celtics at New York Knicks                                       Noon ET                   ESPN
Golden State Warriors at Cleveland Cavaliers                   2:30 p.m. ET             ABC
Chicago Bulls at San Antonio Spurs                                     5:00 p.m. ET            ABC
Minnesota Timberwolves at Oklahoma City Thunder      8:00 p.m. ET            ESPN
LA Clippers at Los Angeles Lakers                                       10:30 p.m. ET           ESPN