Thursday 24 August 2017 / 03:34 AM

BEST DAY OF THE YEAR: NBA XMAS PREVIEW

It’s almost that time! We are just a few short days away from the NBA’s Christmas marathon, the best day of basketball the regular season can offer. And there is certainly a plate full of games we can feast on this year, with drama and intrigue in each of the match-ups. So let’s preview them and get you set for a great day of games, shall we?

Boston Celtics @ New York Knicks

Two teams that didn’t have the best starts in the world are all of a sudden feeling it? The Celtics didn’t look like they were going to be very good to start the season, but Al Horford has adapted well to the new line-up and they are rolling with Isaiah Thomas.

The Knicks are similar, with the ‘Super Team’ claim by Derrick Rose looking silly before the roster started clicking. Rose and company are actually really good, with Carmelo, Porzingis and Rose combining to give the Knicks a three-headed monster that’s really talented.

Add it all together, and we’ve got a preview of what could be a first-round match-up in the Eastern Conference playoffs, with someone trying to rise and challenge the Cavs.

Chicago Bulls @ San Antonio Spurs

Well, this one looked a lot better for the Bulls about a month ago. It’s still got all the star power, with Dwyane Wade and Jimmy Butler. But Wade has fallen off from his hot start, and now looks ordinary from three after shooting really good. And Rondo is bad. Like, really bad. But Jimmy Butler himself is worth the tune in for the Bulls, as he’s been a revelation.

The Spurs, however, are looking good. The new look has paid off nicely, with the Spurs only trailing the Warriors for the best record in the NBA. They look again like the challenger to the Warriors in the West, and this will be the early preview of how in-sync they are.

Minnesota Timberwolves @ Oklahoma City Thunder

The Timberwolves aren’t where anyone thought they would be, and have been a really big disappointment, especially on defense. But still, getting a chance to see all that young talent in one place is special, with SO many entertaining young guys. Karl Anthony-Towns, Andrew Wiggins, Zach LaVine , Kris Dunn…man, the Timberwolves should be so much better.

The Thunder have the same issue. Anytime you get to watch the Thunder on national TV, you should, if only for Russell Westbrook. ‘The Brodie’ is averaging a triple-double, in case you haven’t been paying attention, and will have a field day on the T-Wolves’ defense. But seeing him carry a team is something to behold, and you’ll get it in this one.

Los Angeles Clippers @ Los Angeles Lakers

The Clippers have come back to earth a little, but they’re still the Lob City we know and love. Sure, Blake Griffin is out, but DeAndre Jordan has picked up the pace, with the Clippers rolling and keeping pace with the Warriors and Spurs. Chris Paul is worth the watch, especially against a young team.

Speaking of the young team, the Lakers have petered back out after a really nice start, but they are still really entertaining to watch. Seeing them in a primetime game with the nation watching will be fun, and watching the young guys grow up against their (suddenly) big brother will be fun as hell.

Golden State Warriors @ Cleveland Cavaliers

Okay, let’s not kid ourselves: this is the one everyone wants to see.

The Warriors finally get their rematch, and are the best team record-wise in the NBA. They have certainly been the story of the season, and seeing the four-headed monster of Durant-Curry-Green-Thompson is the highlight of the NBA. You have to catch these guys any chance you can, and the revenge tour will finally get LeBron on Christmas Day.

King James and the Cavs will be missing JR Smith, but LeBron, Irving and Love have turned things to a new gear, and are absolutely rolling in the East. James is on a mission – don’t let anyone say that he’s not going to be looking forward to this game. This is again the likely NBA Finals match-up, and you better tune in to the early preview. Basketball doesn’t get better than this.

See you Christmas Day!

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About the author

Austin Albertson

Austin is CBS' senior NFL and NBA analyst, bringing you commentary on everything between the lines and inside the hashes, from the film room to the scoreboard.

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