The 2022-23 NBA schedule won’t be officially released until next week, but parts of the schedule are being leaked to reporters, including the highly-anticipated, annual slate of Christmas Day games. In what’s come to light so far, the Portland Trail Blazers are being left out of the Yuletide festivities.
According to NBA insider Marc Stein, a “first draft” of the NBA schedule includes Christmas Sunday matchups between the Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors and Memphis Grizzlies. The first game will be a duel between two of the NBA’s biggest superstars, the veteran LeBron James versus the rising Luka Doncic. The second game is a spicy rematch of last season’s Western Conference Semifinals — a 4-2 Warriors’ win on the way to another title — which was followed by contentious Twitter beef between the two sides.
ESPN/ABC’s Christmas Day slate, competing against three NFL games that Sunday, is thus expected to feature a playoff rematch between the Grizz and defending champion Warriors + LeBron James’ Lakers coming to Dallas to face Luka Dončić and the Mavs.— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) August 13, 2022
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Shams Charania of The Athletic also provided early intel into which teams will play on NBA’s opening night. On Oct. 18, the Warriors will host the Lakers at the Chase Center in a nationally-televised game on TNT that will include a pregame ring ceremony for the defending champions.
The NBA’s Christmas Day slate and opening night ring ceremony always features high-profile, star-driven matchups. The brand of the Lakers and Warriors, as well as the star power of players like James, Doncic, Stephen Curry and Ja Morant will make these marketable, intriguing games on the NBA calendar.
Even with the return of a healthy Damian Lillard, it seems unlikely the Blazers will receive a Dec. 25 slot after going 27-55 last season. Though with only the first draft of two games revealed, they aren’t out of the running yet. Portland hasn’t played on Christmas Day since 2018, a showdown with the Utah Jazz that ended in a 117-96 loss.
UPDATE: Charania has leaked the rest of the 2022 Christmas Day schedule. Along with the Warriors/Grizzlies and Lakers/Mavericks matchups, other Dec. 25 games will include the Boston Celtics versus the Milwaukee Bucks, the Philadelphia 76ers versus the New York Knicks and the Phoenix Suns versus the Denver Nuggets.
Sources: NBA’s 2022 Christmas Day schedule:— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) August 14, 2022
Bucks at Celtics
76ers at Knicks
Suns at Nuggets
Lakers at Mavericks
Grizzlies at Warriors