LEBRON JAMES rarely gets Christmas off, in fact he rarely spends it away from the Golden State Warriors.
Despite his summer move from Cleveland Cavaliers to the Los Angeles Lakers, James is still the star attraction on one of the biggest days in the NBA calendar.
The 33-year-old will take on the Warriors on Christmas Day for the fourth year in a row, this time in a California battle.
While the rest of the sporting world pauses for a moment of family time and turkey, basketball’s biggest names are serving up a show of their own.
Basketball fans enjoy up to 13 hours of live, non-stop coverage with five back-to-back games between the league’s marquee teams.
Starting with the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden at midday local time and ending over in Utah late into the evening, this year’s NBA Christmas Day schedule promises to be another cracker.
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BUCKS AT KNICKS – 5pm GMT
Congratulations to the schedule-makers, because there’s no way they could have known this Christmas game would be wrapped in animus.
Giannis Antetokounmpo was annoyed at New York forward Mario Hezonja who dunked on him, stared at him and then stepped over him when the teams last met on December 1.
The pair get a chance to exchange Christmas festivities and best wishes at Madison Square Garden.
THUNDER AT ROCKETS – 8pm GMT
A rematch of a game from Christmas 2017, which the Thunder won 112-107.
Oklahoma City is 6-2 on Christmas since the team moved there; when the franchise was in Seattle, it was 0-11 on the holiday.
Rockets star Chris Paul will miss Christmas for the third straight year with the Clippers, he had a left hamstring strain and missed their game with the Lakers in 2016, sat out last year’s Houston-OKC game with a groin strain and this year, it’s another left hamstring issue that will keep him out.
76ERS AT CELTICS – 10.30pm GMT
These are heated, historic rivals, but they’ve met on Christmas only once before in 1961, when the 76ers were the Syracuse Nationals.
Boston, who famously avoided home Christmas games forever (the Celtics played their first 30 such games away from Boston), will be at home on the holiday for the second consecutive season.
These two rivals also met in the NBA London Game earlier this year as well as in the playoffs.
LAKERS AT WARRIORS – 1am GMT
It’s the 20th consecutive Christmas appearance for the Lakers, and with LeBron James there now don’t expect that streak to end anytime soon.
Warriors star Kevin Durant apparently loves playing on the holiday; he’s averaging 31.1 points in his eight previous Christmas games.
Golden State forward Draymond Green said: “Bron is Bron – they’re going to be tough, a tough match-up on Christmas Day, but we’re looking forward to it.”
TRAIL BLAZERS AT JAZZ – 3.30am GMT
Portland are 14-3 all-time on Christmas, and could tie Miami (10-2) for the best winning percentage on the holiday if they top the Jazz.
Meanwhile, for Utah, it’s a chance for Jazz star guard Donovan Mitchell to get his first but almost certainly not his last look at playing on Christmas.