A Festive holiday sports season

Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks

The Holiday season can be an up or down one in terms of sporting events including when they take place and, therefore, when they are televised. It is somewhat simplified this year given that the Christmas holiday, which so much action is centered around, falls on a Tuesday. Lets start with basketball.

On Christmas Day, the NBA lays out a five-game schedule that begins at noon EST when the New York Knicks host Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks, a team that is a force to be reckoned with in the Eastern Conference. Next up is what is currently one of the best rivalries in the NBA when James Harden and the Houston Rockets host his former team, the Oklahoma City Thunder. Following that will be the Philadelphia 76ers visiting the Boston Celtics, pairing two teams that are still expected to show strongly in the East along with the Bucks and Toronto Raptors.

The showcase game of the day is likely the NBA’s next big rivalry. LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers visit  Stephen Curry and the two-time reigning NBA champion Golden State Warriors. James has played in eight straight NBA Finals, including the last four as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers but managed only to win one of those four championships. Now, he anchors an up-and-coming Lakers team destined for success. And one that knows that the Warriors will likely be their biggest obstacle.

The Christmas Day NBA schedule goes well into the evening and likely past midnight as Damian Lillard and the surprising Portland Trail Blazers visit the Utah Jazz. Portland got off to a great start this season and appears poised to be a contender in the Western Conference.

The fact that Christmas Day falls on a Tuesday sits nicely for the NFL, who can capitalize on holiday viewers potentially tuning in to a solid Week 16 schedule, which actually begins on Saturday, December. 22. One of Saturday’s two games includes the Los Angeles Chargers hosting the Baltimore Ravens in a game with playoff implications.

But on Sunday afternoon all eyes will be tuning into CBS when Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints host Antonio Brown and the Pittsburgh Steelers, in what could potentially be a Super Bowl LIII preview. NBC’s Sunday Night Football matchup features the Kansas City Chiefs visiting the Seattle Seahawks and ESPN’s Monday Night Football finds the Denver Broncos visiting the Oakland Raiders.

If that’s not enough football, consider the fact that the college bowl season kicks into high gear later this week, including the College Football Playoff semifinals on Saturday, December 29. Yes, it’s going to be a festive holiday sports season.

Dan Ladd

Dan Ladd

Dan Ladd is a freelance sports writer who works out of Gracenote’s Queensbury, NY office.

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