They say the official NBA season doesn’t start until Christmas. For some teams, like the Thunder, it would be ideal if the season started on Christmas. The holiday is the time of the year when most of us like to sit home, relax, and enjoy life. For athletes, Christmas is another day at work, and for basketball players in the NBA, it is a day where all eyes are on them. There’s a reason the top-selling NBA jerseys are usually for players whose teams play on Christmas, and this year is no exception.
Spurs vs. Thunder
This is the first duel of the season between the two heavyweight teams and San Antonio is hosting it. For the past few years, the teams have developed a rivalry, especially in the playoffs, with OKC knocking San Antonio in 2012 in the Conference Finals, and the Spurs returning the favor in the 2014 playoffs. Before winning in the matchup in the 2014 playoffs, San Antonio hadn’t won in Oklahoma for two straight years. Luckily for them, they are playing at home for Christmas. The problem is, the Spurs look tired after losing two triple overtime games the past week. They will have two full days to rest before the duel. OKC, on the other hand, has its problems, especially with the injury of Kevin Durant. Last year’s MVP injured his knee and has missed two games since. The Thunder were making a run and catching ground with playoff teams before Durant went down. The Spurs, on the other hand, are ranked 6th in the West, and are going through a tough time as well. The Spurs are 4-6 in their last 10 games while the Thunder are 8-2.
Heat vs. Cavaliers
LeBron James comes back in Miami for the first time since he left the team via free agency. While both teams downplayed their matchup during the preseason and the exhibition game they played in Brazil, it is clear that there is still unfinished business between the two teams. Off the court, Wade and LeBron are best buddies, but once the ball goes up, all bets are off. The Heat have the advantage of playing on its home court, where they are playing the five previous games as well. Cleveland is also going through a stretch of several home games, but they will have to be the guest in this matchup, and play in what would likely be a hostile environment. Even though James left Miami, the Heat are still in the playoff bracket, and this will be their first chance for some revenge. James’s departure wasn’t like the one in 2010 when he left Cleveland. The players will probably say that this is just another game, but there will be emotions all over the court. Expect the Heat players to give their all, and try to steal this one from James.