Good morning, folks. Let’s talk about Christmas Day in the NBA.
Christmas in the NBA has traditionally been a day-long affair that tips off with a noon battle between leaders of the East and continues all throughout the holiday up until the 10:30 p.m. Western Conference matchup that wraps up the five-game extravaganza. Christmas of 2019 was no different, and we’ll start our recap with the reigning Champions hosting a dangerous Boston Celtics team up in Toronto.
Celtics – 118 @ Raptors – 102
- Thanks to 30 points from Jaylen Brown – who had never beaten the Raptors in Toronto until Wednesday – the Boston Celtics snapped an eight-game road losing streak against the team from up north. Enes Kanter posted his fourth consecutive game with double-digit rebounds, hauling in 11 rebounds to go along with his 12 points. It was only the second double-double of the season for the former Kentucky big man, but he’s now putting up averages of 10.8 points and 12.8 rebounds over his last five outings. The Celtics have gone 4-1 in those games, including victories in the last four. Kanter has also topped at least 20 minutes in four of those five games after hitting that mark just four times in his first 16 appearances.
- Most importantly, this was the first time that Kanter has traveled to play basketball outside of the United States since he was a member of the New York Knicks back in Nov. 2018. If you aren’t familiar with Kanter’s story, he’s essentially being blackballed and threatened by his native Turkish government because he has chosen to speak out against the corrupt leaders in Turkey. Kanter has elected not to travel since November of last year despite having a couple of different opportunities to do so; he has stated his life would be in danger if he did so. But the Canadian Prime Minister guranteed his safety for the Christmas Day trip and Kanter put on one of his best showings of the year.
- “Definitely amazing,” Kanter said about being able to play outside of the US, according to AP. “I just can’t describe it with words. Just going out there was more than just a basketball game. For me, it was just going out there and living this freedom.”
- The Raptors were without Pascal Siakam, Marc Gasol, and Norman Powell, who are all dealing with minor injuries.
Bucks – 109 @ 76ers – 121
- Eric Bledsoe is still on the sideline with a fractured fibula that has kept him out since the middle of December and he did not play for the Milwaukee Bucks on Christmas. It was the sixth straight DNP for Bledsoe, who should be reevaluated in the coming days. Without the former Wildcat guard, the Philadelphia 76ers locked up Giannis Anteotkounmpo while Joel Embiid poured in 31 points and 11 rebounds for Philly to secure a 121-109 victory.
- The Greek Freak shot just 8-27 from the field – his worst shooting percentage this season (29.6 percent) – and the 76ers buried Milwaukee with a flurry of triples throughout the game. At one point, Philly controlled a 26-point third-quarter lead before sealing the game down the stretch.
Rockets – 104 @ Warriors – 116
- This was the game that you took a nap for or finally decided to conversate with your family instead of actually watching. And it would appear that the Houston Rockets thought the exact same thing after the Golden State Warriors earned its first win against a team over .500 this season. Willie Cauley-Stein added 10 points, four rebounds, two steals, and four blocks for the Warriors, who held James Harden to just 24 points. Golden State has now won three games in a row for the first time this season.
Clippers – 111 @ Lakers – 106
- The second battle for Los Angeles in the 2019-20 season looked like the Lakers were on its way to evening the series up at one win apiece. But a late second-half rally from the Clippers proved otherwise. Down by 12 at halftime and by seven halfway through the fourth quarter, the Clips were led by 35 points from Kawhi Leonard to its 23rd win of the season.
- Anthony Davis posted a BBNBA-high of 24 points in addition to six rebounds, three assists, two steals, and two blocks for the Lakers, who have now lost four straight games after starting the season 24-3. Rajon Rondo went for seven points, three rebounds, and five assists on 3-9 shooting from the field for the Lake Show.
Pelicans – 112 @ Nuggets – 100
- The New Orleans Pelicans are playing actual good basketball for the first time all season. After another excellent showing on defense, the Pellies pulled out a 112-100 road win in Denver against the Nuggets. Following a 13-game losing streak, NOLA has won three of four outings highlighted by the win against the Nugs.
- Jamal Murray registered just eight points, four rebounds, and three assists while shooting 2-10 from the field and 0-2 from deep. The loss for Denver ended its seven-game winning streak. This move was pretty from Murray, though.
Jamal Murray with the smoooooth moves ?pic.twitter.com/93MAYFiOJ9
— Def Pen Hoops (@DefPenHoops) December 26, 2019
Check out the full box sheet below.
|Anthony Davis (LAL)||106-111 L vs. LAC||24||8-17 (1-6)||6||3||2||2||3||-10||39|
|Enes Kanter (BOS)||118-102 W @ BOS||12||5-10 (0-0)||11||1||0||0||2||+8||18|
|Willie Cauley-Stein (GSW)||116-104 W vs. HOU||10||5-7 (0-0)||4||0||2||4||1||+29||31|
|Jamal Murray (DEN)||100-112 L vs. NOP||8||2-10 (0-2)||4||3||1||0||2||-4||27|
|Rajon Rondo (LAL)||106-111 L vs. LAC||7||3-9 (1-5)||3||5||1||0||4||-4||20|
|Patrick Patterson (LAC)||111-106 W @ LAL||4||2-3 (0-1)||1||0||0||0||0||-7||13|
|Jarred Vanderbilt (DEN)||100-112 L vs. NOP||DNP-Inactive||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|Eric Bledsoe (MIL)||102-121 L @ PHI||DNP-Leg||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|Darius Miller (NOP)||112-100 L @ DEN||DNP-Achilles||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
TONIGHT IN THE NBA
7:00: Wizards (Wall-out) @ Pistons
7:30 (TNTOT): Knicks (Knox, Randle) @ Nets
8:00: Grizzlies @ Thunder (Diallo-out, Gilgeous-Alexander, Noel)
8:00 (TNT): Spurs (Lyles) @ Mavericks
10:00: Timberwolves (Towns-questionable) @ Kings (Fox, Gabriel)
10:30 (TNT): Trail Blazers (Labissiere) @ Jazz