The Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors will headline this year's NBA Christmas Day games at Oracle Arena, according to Marc Stein of the New York Times.
A vintage dose of Celtics/Sixers, Giannis and the Bucks at MSG against the Knicks and (you guessed it) LeBron's Lakers in Oakland to face the Warriors are the highlights of the NBA's Christmas Day schedule that will be announced Wednesday afternoon, league sources tell @NYTSports— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) August 8, 2018
The Lakers, of course, were winners of the LeBron James sweepstakes, and he'll pay a visit against his Kryptonite team once again. The Warriors swept James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2018 NBA Finals. It was the fourth consecutive time the two teams bet on the grandest stage, with Golden State winning it all in 2015, 2017 and 2018.
The NBA usually features an NBA Finals rematch on Christmas Day, but with the Cavaliers losing LeBron in free agency, they're definitely not contending for a championship this year. And with the Lakers traditionally being featured on Christmas games, having them go up against the defending champions makes plenty of sense.
The other games Stein mentioned above promise to bring plenty of excitement as well. The Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers are widely expected to duke it out for the Eastern Conference crown next year, and the Atlantic Division foes will bring a nice gift to NBA fans on Christmas.
The New York Knicks are also regularly featured on Christmas Day, playing in the biggest market and all. A home game against the up-and-coming Bucks should also make for a memorable contest.
But all eyes will be on what James and his new Lakers team can do against the defending NBA Champions. The purple and gold certainly don't boast a roster that's much better than the Cleveland Cavaliers, but their depth from the bench is superior. Thus, maybe this contest won't be one-sided.
The Lakers likely won't contend for the NBA Championship in 2019, but they have an extremely young core outside of LeBron and should be able to compete for a postseason berth. They'll be battle-tested on Christmas Day, trying to bring home a nice gift to the many Laker fans across the world.