BOSTON – Every sport has a holiday that is strongly tied to the traditions of the game. In the NHL, teams will engage in the Winter Classic, which sees two foes face off on New Year's Day. In the MLB, Independence Day games result in big celebrations as baseball teams play all day while families have cookouts. In the NFL, obviously, Thanksgiving is practically synonymous with the sport of football. Three games always take place on Thanksgiving, but two of them are annually hosted by the Detroit Lions and the Dallas Cowboys. For the NBA, however, Christmas Day games have become the tradition as the sport aims to celebrate the league's marquee teams on one of the best days of the year.
Fortunately, the NBA and the schedule makers of the league still believe that the Boston Celtics are among the elite crop of teams, even despite the fact that stars Kyrie Irving and Al Horford departed the team. Boston is obviously a huge sports market, but I doubt they would have been given a Christmas Day game if they did not manage to add Kemba Walker to the team and keep the Celtics' star power afloat.
On Christmas Day in 2019, the Celtics will travel to Canada to take on one of their major rivals, the Toronto Raptors. It is a bit of an odd choice, considering the Celtics and Raptors do not have the wattage they had even just a year ago. But the defending champions have to play someone, and the Celtics are as good an opponent as any. Boston fans will definitely enjoy watching the Celtics play on Christmas!
As for the other NBA Christmas Day games, they feature the Houston Rockets versus the Golden State Warriors in a battle of the league's best guards (James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Stephen Curry, D'Angelo Russell), the New Orleans Pelicans versus the Denver Nuggets in a matchup of the league's best young players, the Milwaukee Bucks versus the Philadelphia 76ers in a duel between the best teams in the Eastern Conference, and the Los Angeles Lakers versus the Los Angeles Clippers in a battle for supremacy in Hollywood.