NBA Christmas Games 2018: Which Teams Are Playing, TV Schedule and Streaming Info

LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers
LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers face the Golden State Warriors on Christmas Day. We've got your complete NBA Christmas Day TV schedule here including times, odds, and TV channels. Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The NBA's annual Christmas Day tradition continues this year, with five games on offer.

The schedule includes a primetime Western Conference showdown between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Golden State Warriors, as LeBron James crosses path with the team he has met in the NBA Finals for the last four years.

Read more: Would the 2000s Lakers Beat the Warriors? Steph Curry and Shaq have different views

ESPN and ABC will broadcast two games each and will both broadcast the Lakers vs Warriors showdown. For those with no access to cable, the games are also available via a series of paid streaming services, such as DirecTV Now, Hulu Live, PlayStation Vue, Sling TV, YouTube TV.

The games are also available via WatchESPN on your computer or via WatchESPN app. Games will not, however, be available via the NBA League Pass, as is the case every time games are broadcast nationally on federal holidays.

NBA Christmas Day schedule (all times EST)

Bucks vs. Knicks, 12 p.m. ESPN

The New York Knicks host the Milwaukee Bucks in the first matchup of the day, which will be live at noon on ESPN and will mark the first time the Bucks have played on Christmas Day since 1977.

Milwaukee has established itself as one of the top two teams in the Eastern Conference and will be heavy favorite against the Knicks.

Thunder vs. Rockets, 3 p.m. ABC

Speaking of teams that have impressed over the first three months of the season, the 3 p.m. EST tip-off sees the Oklahoma City Thunder travel to Houston to take on the Rockets. The two teams met on Christmas Day last year too, with the Rockets losing 112-107 in the Sooner State.

76ers vs. Celtics, 5:30 p.m. ABC

ABC will also broadcast the third game of the day, which serves up a classic NBA rivalry at 5.30 p.m as the Boston Celtics host the Philadephia 76ers.

The two teams' expected battle for supremacy in the Eastern Conference has not yet materialized but the matchup remains just as intriguing. The Celtics thrashed the Sixers on opening night and Philadelphia will be eager to get one back over the Celtics, after losing to them 4-1 in the Eastern Conference semifinals last season.

Lakers vs. Warriors, 8 p.m. ABC/ESPN

Arguably the pick of the crop, the Lakers' trip to the Oracle Arena will be broadcast live at 8 p.m. on ABC and ESPN. It will not be the first time LeBron plays the Warriors on Christmas Day, as he did so last year. The game was watched by 8.82 million viewers, placing it 10th in the list of most-watched Christmas games since 2001.

The 2004 matchup between the Lakers and the Miami Heat—which marked the first time Kobe Bryant and Shaq went head-to-head after the latter left L.A.—was watched by 13.2 million viewers. Six years later, the two teams met again in a game that was watched by 13.1 million viewers, the second-highest audience for games televised on Christmas Day.

Trail Blazers vs. Jazz, 10:30 p.m. ESPN

Following the Lakers' trip to the Bay Area, the final game of the day sees the Utah Jazz welcome the Portland Trail Blazers at 10.30 p.m. on ESPN.

Portland is firmly in contention for a playoff spot, while the Jazz have been a major disappointment this season and, at the time of writing, are penultimate in the Western Conference.

Christmas Day this year will also mark the end of the tradition of NBA teams with special one-time jerseys. Instead, as the league announced last week, the 16 teams that made the playoffs last season will unveil their "Earned Edition," which has been exclusively manufactured by Nike.


Which is your favourite? 🤔

The 16 teams from the 2017-18 playoffs will add new uniforms into their rotations. Variations of each team’s Statement or City Edition uniforms, pay homage to both their team’s heritage and recent success. 👇

— NBA UK (@NBAUK) December 12, 2018