The Portland Trail Blazers will play the Utah Jazz during the NBA’s 2018 Christmas Day lineup of games. Usually reserved for high-popularity teams and/or big markets, the Blazers and Jazz are an outlier of typical Christmas games. Nonetheless, Rohan Nadkarni of Sports Illustrated sees the game as just what the late time slot should be, ranking it No. 4 of the five matchups on Christmas:
Watching Donovan Mitchell try to match C.J. McCollum and Damian Lillard is exactly what you want to see during what will be the late game.
By this time of day, you don’t want storylines and stakes weighing you down. You want—no, need—pure, unfiltered, unadulterated buckets to keep you going through the end of the night.
This won’t be an inconsequential shootout, however, thanks to two stingy defenses and two teams who have aspirations of being in the top half of the conference. This matchup is sneaky good. And with the way the West is stacked this season, a game like this could end up having an impact on playoff seeding months down the road.