Which NBA Games Are on Christmas Day? How to Watch, Live Stream, Tip-Off Times

Much as football is a staple of Thanksgiving, the NBA has long been a quintessential component of Christmas Day.

This year is no different, with the 72nd annual edition of the NBA on Christmas Day bonanza featuring five games, including an all-Los Angeles affair between the Lakers and the Clippers.

As is tradition, ESPN and ABC will broadcast two games each and will both carry the game between the two Los Angeles rivals.

Here's all you need to know about the upcoming Christmas games.

TV coverage

All five games will be broadcast live across ESPN and ABC.

Live stream

For the games on ESPN, a live stream will be available via ESPN's digital platforms, WatchESPN. The games on ABC will be available via its digital platforms.

NBA Christmas Day schedule (all times ET)

Boston Celtics @ Toronto Raptors—12 p.m., ESPN

The Raptors host their first-ever Christmas Day game as they welcome the Celtics to Canada.

Despite losing Kawhi Leonard in the summer, the reigning NBA champions have got off to a promising start this season and are right in the midst of the playoff race.

Similarly, the Celtics have fared well, perhaps better than expected, after replacing Kyrie Irving and Al Horford with Kemba Walker and Enes Kanter in the summer, and could be holding the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference when the two teams meet in Toronto.

Milwaukee Bucks @ Philadelphia 76ers—2:30 p.m., ABC

The NBA returns to the City of Brotherly Love on Christmas Day for the first time since 1988, as the 76ers host the high-flying Milwaukee Bucks.

A year on from finishing with the best overall record in the NBA, the Bucks have remained just as dominant, rolling off 18 consecutive wins until they lost to the Dallas Mavericks earlier this month.

Milwaukee tops the Eastern Conference, with the Sixers right among the chasing pack and their meeting on Christmas Day could well be a dress rehearsal for the Conference Finals later this season.

The prospect of watching Giannis Antetokounmpo going up against Joel Embiid and Al Horford is as good a Christmas present as any.

Houston Rockets @ Golden State Warriors—5 p.m., ABC

How times have changed. Rockets and Warriors met four times in the playoffs in the last five seasons, in a rivalry that defined the Western Conference.

While Houston remains firmly in contention for a postseason berth, Golden State's era has come to a crashing end and Steve Kerr's team could arrive into Christmas Day rock-bottom of the Western Conference.

Los Angeles Clippers @ Los Angeles Lakers—8 p.m., ESPN/ABC

Arguably the pick of the Christmas games, the all-Los Angeles affair could well serve as appetizer for the Western Conference finals.

Lakers and Clippers lead the Western Conference and with LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George on the court, Christmas in Hollywood could be even glitzier than usual.

The Lakers have history on their side, as they have won an NBA-record 23 games on Christmas Day.

LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, Lakers, Clippers
LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers post up Kawhi Leonard #2 of the LA Clippers during a game at Staples Center on October 22 in Los Angeles, California. Harry How/Getty

New Orleans Pelicans @ Denver Nuggets—10:30 p.m., ESPN

The Nuggets host a game on Christmas Day for the first time in 25 years looking to consolidate their status as one of the top four teams in the Western Conference.

The Pelicans were expected to be one of the stories of the season, but lost Zion Williamson to injury before the campaign began and have failed to win in 12 straight games.

Languishing at the bottom of the Western Conference just ahead of the Warriors, New Orleans is desperate for the first overall pick of the NBA draft to make his professional debut.

The Pelicans, however, have suggested they will manage Williamson's return carefully and expectations should be kept in check.

Editor's pick

Newsweek cover
  • Newsweek magazine delivered to your door
  • Unlimited access to Newsweek.com
  • Ad free Newsweek.com experience
  • iOS and Android app access
  • All newsletters + podcasts
Newsweek cover
  • Unlimited access to Newsweek.com
  • Ad free Newsweek.com experience
  • iOS and Android app access
  • All newsletters + podcasts