Records & History Behind The NBA Christmas Day Games

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An Uncle Rico Production:

The NBA continues its long-standing tradition of Christmas Day games, presenting a lineup of five high-profile matches on December 25 this year. All games will be played by the Disney affiliates ESPN & ABC. Here are some fun facts behind the NBA’s Christmas Day games, highlighting its history & who holds the games’ statistical records:

  • *For the 16th consecutive year, the NBA will feature five games on Christmas Day.
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  • *The NBA’s Christmas Day games are in their 76th year, having started in 1947, during the league’s second season.
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  • *In the United StatesABC and ESPN will jointly broadcast all five games, offering over 13 hours of continuous coverage.
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  • *Worldwide will be able to enjoy the NBA on Christmas Day, with broadcasts reaching over 200 countries and territories in more than 50 languages.
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  • *This year features three Christmas Day matchups that have never occurred before
  • Golden State Warriors vs. Denver Nuggets
    • Philadelphia 76ers vs. Miami Heat
    • Dallas Mavericks vs. Phoenix Suns 

*All of these matchups were part of the 2021-22 season’s playoffs.

NBA
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  • *The Boston Celtics & Los Angeles Lakers face off on Christmas Day for the first time since 2008
  • The game also marked Phil Jackson’s 1,000th coaching win AND ended the Celtics’ 19-game winning streak as defending champions.
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  • *The New York Knicks hold the record for most Christmas Day games played at 55; this includes their matchup against the Milwaukee Bucks this year.
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  • *Each of the five games will feature at least one past winner of the Kia NBA Most Valuable Player Award.
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  • *The last four NBA champions will be participating:
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  • Lakers (2020)
    • Bucks (2021)
    • Warriors (2022)
    • Nuggets (2023) 

*LeBron James leads the NBA in career points scored (460), games played (17), and shares the record for most victories (10) on Christmas Day.

  • *Christmas Day career leaders include: 
  • Bill Russell (rebounds)
    • Oscar Robertson (assists)
    • Shaquille O’Neal (blocked shots)
    • Russell Westbrook (steals)
    • James Harden (three-pointers made)

*Record for most points scored in a Christmas Day game was set by Bernard King with 60 points (NY Knicks) in 1984.

  • *Single-game records on Christmas Day:
  • Bernard King, Most Points (60)
    • Wilt Chamberlain, Most Rebounds (36)
    • Guy Rodgers & Nate “Tiny” Archibald, Most Assists (18)
    • DeAndre Jordan, Most Blocked Shots (8)
    • Kyrie Irving, Most Steals (7)
    • Patty Mills, Most Three-pointers Made (8)

*Tracy McGrady has the highest career scoring average on Christmas Day with 43.3 points per game.

  • *The Miami Heat have the best winning percentage on Christmas Day among active teams (.846, 11-2), with head coach Erik Spoelstra maintaining an unbeaten record in these games (8-0).
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  • *Nine players have achieved a triple-double on Christmas Day:
  • Oscar Robertson
    • John Havlicek
    • Billy Cunningham
    • Kemba Walker
    • LeBron James
    • Russell Westbrook
    • Draymond Nutcracker
    • Nikola Jokić
    • James Harden
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  • *Phil Jackson & Jack Ramsay are tied for the most head coaching victories on Christmas Day (11).
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  • *Joel Embiid holds the highest average points per game among (31.3) of all active players with more than two Christmas Day games.
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  • *Players to achieve a 40 point/15 rebound/15 assist stat line in a Christmas Day game:
  • Nikola Jokić
    • James Harden
    • Oscar Robertson
  • *The Los Angeles Lakers have the most team victories on Christmas Day (24), slightly edging out the New York Knicks (23).
So, what NBA match-up will you be looking forward to the most?

Let me know your answer to this, or feel free to enlighten me with any sort of holiday knowledge that might entertain the audience, either in the comment section below or on social media:

Twitter: @TheReal_TioRico / @BleacherBrother

YouTube: @BleacherBrothersOfficial

Instagram: @bleacherbrothers

Feliz Navidad!

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