NBA Christmas Games 2023: Live, teams, schedule, How To Watch




NBA Christmas Games

NBA Christmas games have become an annual tradition for basketball fans around the world. Each year, the league selects marquee matchups to showcase on this special day, providing fans with a day filled with exciting basketball action.

This Christmas, NBA fans will be treated to major star power as the league turns to star-studded matchups featuring reigning league MVP Nikola Jokic, Steph Curry, LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo, among others.

See full details on how to watch this year’s NBA Christmas Day games, including teams, times and TV channels – always Eastern.

NBA Christmas games hold a special place in the hearts of basketball fans. It’s a day when family and friends come together to enjoy high-profile matchups featuring the league’s biggest stars. The games are broadcast worldwide and bring people together during the holiday season.

When did NBA start Christmas Day games?

Christmas Day games have been an NBA tradition since its second season in 1947. Starting in 1995, the defending NBA champions have been part of the day’s slate of games. In 2008, the schedule increased to five games.

NBA Christmas games: Live & Start time

The great thing about the NBA’s Christmas Day games is that all five matchups are televised on ESPN. Most NBA fans should already have access to the channel as it televises games nationally throughout the season, including the NBA playoffs. If you’ve been skating without national coverage, don’t worry.

GameNBA Christmas games
DateDec. 25
Start Time(Mon) 11:00 PM

For those who need a cheap TV plan with a quick sign-up process, we recommend Sling TV. Its Sling Orange plan is $40 a month and is the cheapest way to get ESPN and other national NBA channels like TNT, ESPN2 and TBS. Sling TV even offers NBA TV through its Sports Extra add-on for $11 per month.

You can also avoid a TV plan altogether with the Christmas games on ABC with an OTA antenna. We’ve discussed using an antenna to watch live basketball in our free NBA viewing options section.

NBA Christmas games: teams

The 10 NBA teams that play on Christmas in 2023 are:

Milwaukee Bucks
New York Knicks
Golden State Warriors
Denver Nuggets
Boston Celtics
Los Angeles Lakers
Philadelphia 76ers
Miami Heat
Dallas Mavericks
Phoenix Suns

NBA Christmas games: schedule

NBA Christmas Games 2023
GameTime (ET)TV
Milwaukee Bucks vs New York Knicks12:00 PMESPN
Golden State Warriors vs Denver Nuggets2:30 PMABC, ESPN
Boston Celtics vs Los Angeles Lakers5:00 PMABC, ESPN
Philadelphia 76ers vs Miami Heat8:00 PMESPN
Dallas Mavericks vs Phoenix Suns10:30 PMESPN

Which TV providers show the NBA Christmas games Day?

You can watch the NBA on Christmas Day through most cable, satellite and live TV streaming providers. Our table below highlights some popular providers and whether they carry ABC and ESPN.

DIRECTV STREAM$69.99–$159.99/mo.βœ”βœ”
Hulu + Live TV$76.99–$89.99/mo.βœ”βœ”
Sling TV$40.00–$55.00/mo.βœ”*βœ”
YouTube TV$72.99/mo.βœ”βœ”

Read More: Visit More NBA Games News

How to watch NBA Christmas Day Game for free

If you only want to watch NBA games on Christmas Day, you can sign up for a free streaming trial. Fubo and YouTube TV usually offer trials that last at least seven days, so you can activate one on Christmas morning and cancel at the end of the week without paying a cent.

A more reliable way to watch NBA games for free without subscribing to a TV service is to use an over-the-air (OTA) antenna to pick up ABC. This is not a completely free viewing method, as you have to pay for the antenna. But once it’s connected to your TV, you get free access to all local channels within range. It may even include CBS, FOX and NBC, which show NFL games on Christmas Day.

We often recommend the Mohu Leaf 50 for those living in non-rural areas, as its 60-mile range is usually sufficient to receive the main local channels. But you can browse our Best OTA Antennas page for more antenna options.

NBA Christmas Games: History & Most memorable moments

Take a look back at some of the best performances and unforgettable matchups from the NBA’s storied Christmas Day history.

It’s that special time of the year again as the NBA steps into the spotlight with the NBA on Christmas Day. Here are some of the standout moments and performances from the NBA’s storied holiday history.

1961: Chamberlain dominates in defeat β€” Wilt Chamberlain scored 59 points and grabbed 36 rebounds, but his Philadelphia Warriors lost to the New York Knicks 136-135 in double overtime. The rebounding total is a Christmas Day record, and the scoring total was a Christmas Day record for 22 years. Richie Guerin led New York with 40 points.

1961: Elgin and the Big O β€” The Los Angeles Lakers’ Elgin Baylor and the Cincinnati Royals’ Oscar Robertson each scored 40 points in the Lakers’ 141-127 victory. Robertson also had 17 assists and 12 rebounds as he posted the second of his record four triple-doubles on Christmas Day.

1963: Jerry Christmas β€” The Los Angeles Lakers’ Jerry West scored 47 points – now the fourth-highest total by a player on Christmas Day – in a 134-126 win over the New York Knicks.

1966: Barry Christmas β€” Rick Barry scored 50 points to lift the San Francisco Warriors past the Cincinnati Royals 124-112. At the time, Barry joined Wilt Chamberlain (1961) as the only player to have a 50-point game on Christmas Day.

1972: Tiny Dishes dimes β€” Nate “Tiny” Archibald of the Kansas City-Omaha Kings equalled a Christmas Day record with 18 assists in a 104-99 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks. His performance came during the 1972-73 season, when he became the only player to lead the NBA in scoring (34.0 ppg) and assists (11.4 apg) in the same season.

1984: King goes for 60 β€” In the highest-scoring performance in Christmas Day history, the New York Knicks’ Bernard King finished with 60 points in a 120-114 loss to the New Jersey Nets. King became the third player to score at least 50 points on Christmas Day, joining Wilt Chamberlain (59 points in 1961) and Rick Barry (50 points in 1966).

1985: Knicks stun Celtics β€” Rookie Patrick Ewing (32 points, 11 rebounds) and the New York Knicks rallied from a 25-point deficit to defeat the Boston Celtics 113-104 in double-overtime. New York finished the season with a 23-59 record, and Boston went 67-15 en route to winning the NBA championship.

1986: Ewing beats buzzer β€” Patrick Ewing’s put-back at the buzzer gave the New York Knicks an 86-85 victory over the Chicago Bulls. Michael Jordan scored 30 points in his first Christmas Day appearance.

1994: Pippen delivers β€” Scottie Pippen played all 53 minutes and posted 36 points, 16 rebounds and five steals to lead the Chicago Bulls past the New York Knicks 107-104 in overtime. He scored all seven of Chicago’s points in overtime and blocked two last-second shots to seal the victory.

1995: Finals rematch β€” For the first time, the teams from the previous season’s NBA Finals met on Christmas Day. Penny Hardaway scored 22 points with ten assists, including the game-winning shot with three seconds left, as the Orlando Magic defeated the defending NBA champion Houston Rockets 92-90. Orlando’s Shaquille O’Neal recorded 22 points, 18 rebounds and five assists, and Houston’s Hakeem Olajuwon had 30 points, 12 rebounds and six assists.

2003: T-Mac bests LeBron β€” Tracy McGrady finished with 41 points, 11 assists, eight rebounds and three steals to lead the Orlando Magic past rookie LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers 113-101 in overtime. James registered 34 points and six assists in his Christmas Day debut.

2004: Shaq vs. Kobe β€” Former Los Angeles Lakers teammates Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal met for the first time since Shaq’s trade to the Miami Heat the previous offseason. The Heat extended their win streak to 11 games with a 104-102 overtime victory over the Lakers. Behind double-doubles from O’Neal (24 points, 11 rebounds) and Dwyane Wade (29 points, ten assists), Miami overcame Bryant’s 42 points.

2008: Lakers end Celtics’ streak β€” In a rematch of the previous season’s NBA Finals, the Los Angeles Lakers snapped the defending champion Boston Celtics’ 19-game winning streak with a 92-83 victory. The Lakers’ Phil Jackson notched his 1,000th win, the fastest head coach to do so and the sixth at the time to hit that mark.

2010: James joins exclusive club β€” In his first Christmas Day game with the Miami Heat, LeBron James finished with 27 points, 11 rebounds, and ten assists in a 96-80 victory against the Los Angeles Lakers. James became the first player in 40 years and the fourth overall at the time to record a triple-double on Christmas Day, joining Oscar Robertson, John Havlicek and Billy Cunningham.

2011: Rose rises β€” Reigning NBA MVP Derrick Rose made a go-ahead shot with 4.8 seconds to play as the Chicago Bulls came back from an 11-point deficit with less than four minutes remaining to defeat the Los Angeles Lakers 88-87. Chicago’s Luol Deng blocked Kobe Bryant’s potential game-winning shot just before the buzzer.

2016: Cavaliers come back β€” The first matchup between the defending NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors since their thrilling NBA Finals series the previous June featured more drama. Down 14 points early in the fourth quarter in Cleveland, the Cavaliers rallied to defeat the Warriors 109-108. Kyrie Irving made a go-ahead turnaround jump shot with 3.4 seconds left to spoil Kevin Durant’s 36-point effort for Golden State. LeBron James led the Cavaliers with 31 points and 13 rebounds.

2018: Clutch Kyrie β€” Kyrie Irving made a game-tying shot with 20 seconds left in the fourth quarter and sank back-to-back 3-pointers in overtime to spark the Boston Celtics to a 121-114 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers.

2021: Bucks finish strong β€” Trailing by 13 points with less than six minutes to play, the defending NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks rallied past the Boston Celtics 117-113. Milwaukee took its first lead of the game on Wesley Matthews’ 3-pointer with 30.3 seconds left. Giannis Antetokounmpo scored a game-high 36 points for the Bucks.

2022: Dominant in Denver β€” Nikola Jokic recorded 41 points, 15 rebounds and 15 assists to lead the Denver Nuggets past the Phoenix Suns 128-125 in overtime. Jokic became the third player in NBA history to have a 40/15/15 game in the regular season, joining Oscar Robertson and James Harden. 


When are the games?

Mark your calendars! The 2023 NBA Christmas games take place on Monday, December 25th, with five exciting matchups tipping off throughout the day:

  • Noon ET: Milwaukee Bucks vs. New York Knicks
  • 2:30 PM ET: Golden State Warriors vs. Denver Nuggets
  • 5 PM ET: Boston Celtics vs. Los Angeles Lakers
  • 8 PM ET: Philadelphia 76ers vs. Miami Heat
  • 10:30 PM ET: Dallas Mavericks vs. Phoenix Suns

Where can I watch the games?

All five Christmas Day games will be broadcast live on ESPN, with the Bucks-Knicks and Warriors-Nuggets matchups also airing on ABC.

Can I stream the games?

Absolutely! You can stream all the Christmas Day action through:

  • ESPN+: Subscribe to ESPN+ for exclusive access to all out-of-market NBA games, including the Christmas Day matchups.
  • FuboTV: FuboTV offers a free trial that includes ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPN+, allowing you to catch all the games.
  • NBA League Pass: If you’re a die-hard fan, NBA League Pass provides access to every NBA game throughout the season, including Christmas Day.

What are the must-watch matchups?

Every game promises holiday thrills, but here are a few matchups with extra sizzle:

  • Celtics vs. Lakers: A classic rivalry renewed, featuring Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown facing off against LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
  • Warriors vs. Nuggets: A rematch of the 2022 Western Conference Finals, with Steph Curry and Nikola Jokic leading their respective squads in a high-scoring showdown.
  • Mavericks vs Suns: Luka Doncic and Devin Booker go head-to-head in a battle for Western Conference supremacy.

What else can I expect?

Besides the on-court action, get ready for:

  • Festive halftime shows featuring musical performances and special guests.
  • Heartwarming holiday stories and community initiatives are highlighted throughout the day.
  • Special holiday-themed jerseys for each team, adding to the ΠΏΡ€Π°Π·Π΄Π½ΠΈΡ‡Π½ΠΎΠ΅ настроСниС (festive mood).

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