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NBA confirms Christmas Day five-game slate [UPDATE]

Lakers vs. Mavericks and Warriors vs. Bucks highlights Christmas Day NBA schedule for December 25th.

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James and Dallas Mavericks forward Luka Doncic fight for position during the second half at the American Airlines Center. Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

UPDATE: The NBA has confirmed the Christmas Day slate that had previously been reported by Woj on Tuesday. All of the games are accurate. We’ve got some details from yesterday below, here’s what we know so far on the schedule:

The NBA is set to return on Dec. 22 with the first anticipated slate of games being the ever-popular Christmas Day slate. We are expected to get the full schedule release for the first half sometime this week, but we did get a leak on the X-Mas Day games via ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Keep in mind this is a tentative schedule. Here’s the full list of games:

Pelicans vs. Heat, 12:00 p.m. ET
Warriors vs. Bucks, 2:30 p.m. ET
Nets vs. Celtics, 5:00 p.m. ET
Mavericks vs. Lakers, 8:00 p.m. ET
Clippers vs. Nuggets, 10:30 p.m. ET

So the big games on the slate are LeBron James vs. Luka Doncic, as well as the Dubs in the spotlight against the Milwaukee Bucks and Giannis Antetokounmpo. We get a rematch of the Western Conference second round from 2020 in the Clips-Nuggets, when Denver came back down 3-1 to win the series. We also get the return of Kevin Durant for the Nets against the Celtics. Is it too early to start making DFS lineups?

These aren’t your traditional Christmas Day matchups. For one, we don’t have the New York Knicks playing. This is most likely because a game at Madison Square Garden without any fans is basically pointless to have on X-Mas considering the Knicks likely won’t be competitive.

A rematch of the 2020 NBA Finals would have been fun — Lakers vs. Heat. We get both teams, but there isn’t much there to Pelicans-Heat outside of the reigning East champs against Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram. I guess you’ve got the Stan Van Gundy revenge narrative vs. Miami? Does anyone even remember that?

If I had to rank the matchups in order of “most pumped for” I’d have to go:

1. Warriors-Bucks
2. Mavericks-Lakers
3. Clippers-Nuggets
4. Celtics-Nets
5. Pelicans-Heat

No offense to Jimmy Butler and Zion and the gang, but it’s basically just another regular season game. All four of the other matchups will have playoff implications, three within conference. Celtics-Nets could be the new rivalry in the East. Doncic vs. LeBron is going to be fun.