The NBA just unveiled the opening fixtures and the Christmas day games, arguably the two most significant dates in the NBA regular season calendar. On both of those dates one fixture in particular sticks out. Philadelphia 76ers vs Boston Celtics.
— NBA (@NBA) August 8, 2018
NBA Christmas Day games are amongst the most viewed of the entire season, with the biggest teams in the league facing off in marquee nationally televised fixtures.
The NBA Christmas games are a great chance for the league to showcase their biggest rivalries, booked to face off on the biggest stage the league can manufacture. Last season we saw Warriors-Cavs coming off three finals showdown, Celtics-Wizards coming off a very tense set of games and a playoff series the year before, Thunder-Rockers, two top sides in the west.
This season we are treated to Warriors-Lakers, a humdinger with LeBron moving west to take on his nightmare, a Rockets-Thunder rematch and the Celtics-Sixers, a feud the NBA is pushing harder than the WWE is pushing Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns.
NBA on Christmas Day should be 🔥
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) August 8, 2018
The Celtics and Sixers are two of the elite teams in a weakened Eastern conference but to constantly push this as THE rivalry in the east is frustrating, lazy and boring. The Celtics and Sixers faced off in last season’s NBA London game where the C’s came out on top after playing an atrocious first half. In the playoffs, a depleted Celtics dominated the Sixers in five games, including a one-point performance for Rookie of the Year Ben Simmons.
What I’m getting at is this isn’t a rivalry worthy of the push the NBA is giving it. The Celtics have, as it currently stands, comfortably had the best of the rivalry, despite the unquestionable talent the Sixers have at their disposal.
To compound the repetitive nature of this fixture there are the teams not on show on Christmas or opening day. To see the Toronto Raptors, last season’s one seed in the East, being snubbed on Christmas day yet again whilst the Sixers and Celtics face off again is disappointing. Especially as going into this year the Raptors are the most intriguing team in the East, with the will he won’t he Kawhi story looming over them.
Of the four teams in the east playing on Christmas day, a much more interesting clash would be Celtics-Bucks. These two had a great seven-game back and forth series in the playoffs as well as more entertaining clashes throughout the regular season.
The other Christmas day game from the East should be Toronto vs Philly, with Toronto in place of the Knicks. Yes, the Knicks are box office but let’s just take this at who are the best teams playing the best games rather than the biggest names.
At least we get to see the Jazz and their phenomenal Donovan Mitchell, Ricky Rubio, Rudy Gobert and Joe Ingles get their just deserts and play on Christmas day, for that I cannot wait.