The annual slate of Christmas video games at all times is among the first-half highlights of each NBA season, a marquee viewing occasion for followers and a privilege for the league’s coaches and gamers who get to take part.
The league-wide COVID-19 outbreak has ravaged a number of rosters and knocked out a few big names from this 12 months’s vacation schedule, together with Kevin Durant of the Nets for his or her prime-time sport (8 p.m.) towards the Lakers and Trae Younger and several other teammates within the Hawks’ noon visit to the Knicks, who’re down from seven gamers to 3 in well being and security protocols.
With that in thoughts, here’s a breakdown of the three Christmas video games not that includes the 2 New York-area groups:
Celtics at Bucks
3:30 p.m., ABC
Milwaukee has handled COVID-19 points this season for its two greatest gamers, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton, however the Greek Freak is anticipated to be again within the lineup Saturday for the defending NBA champs after lacking the earlier 5 video games. Donte DiVincenzo is the lone Bucks participant remaining within the protocol. The Celtics’ rash of COVID absences at the moment lists a dozen gamers, necessitating the signing of seven-time All-Star Joe Johnson, 40, out of retirement earlier this week. Marcus Good, Al Horford and Jabari Parker have been cleared however are listed as questionable for Boston.
Warriors at Suns
5 p.m., ESPN
The conflict between the 2 prime groups within the Western Convention —with a mixed report of 52-11 — will function respective stars Stephen Curry towards Devin Booker, however the Warriors can be with out Jordan Poole, Damion Lee and Andrew Wiggins in protocols, in addition to injured Klay Thompson and James Wiseman. As of Thursday, the Suns have been one in every of solely eight NBA groups that didn’t presently have a participant sidelined because of COVID.
Mavericks at Jazz
10:30 p.m., ESPN
Luka Doncic’s entrance into the protocols Thursday subtracted the largest star from the Christmas finale, becoming a member of three sidelined former Knicks: Reggie Bullock, Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. Kristaps Porzingis is also listed as questionable for the Mavericks with a toe damage.