We had Christmas games this year as usual, except that they came 3 days into the regular season, which was a little more unusual. You could feel the excitement among the basketball community, and some teams really showed out. In case you missed it, here are the recaps of yesterday’s NBA Christmas Games!
Game 1: Miami Heat vs New Orleans Pelicans [111-98]
Although the Pelicans seem to be an interesting team that can be a lot of fun, the Miami Heat were able to power out some good runs on both defense and offense. On the offensive side, Duncan Robinson shot lights out. He shot 7 threes, leading the board in that area. 21 of his 23 points came from behind the arch, and it helped Miami take control late in the second half. Miami’s defense also helped them keep the Pelicans from regaining their lead. Rookie Precious Achiuwa and Bam Adebayo had a block each, working hard on the defensive side. Goran Dragic also had 4 steals, topping the board. Although Jimmy Butler had to sit out for the second half, the Miami Heat showed that they could close out the game without him.
Although the Pelicans lost, there seems to be some promise with this team. The Pelicans defeated the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday, and before Miami’s hot streak during the final stretch, they were giving them a fight. Keep your eye on this team, because they look a lot better than they did last year.
Game 2: Milwaukee Bucks vs Golden State Warriors [138-99]
The Warriors just can’t seem to get any luck this season. With Klay Thompson being out due to injury, Steph Curry can’t do enough with his team to last the whole game. Although they kept up with the Bucks for a small portion of the game, it wasn’t long before the Bucks took full control and put on a show on Christmas day. Khris Middleton led with 31 points, while his teammate Giannis led in rebounding, putting up 13 boards.
What’s next for the Warriors? Here’s what Steph Curry had to say about his team:
The message is loud and clear for Curry, they need to find a way to win, and they need to find a way to win now.
Game 3: Brooklyn Nets vs Boston Celtics [123-95]
There’s definitely a recurring theme today, and if you don’t see it yet, stay with me and find out what it is.
The new and improved Brooklyn Nets are here to stay. The Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving duo have started out strong, combining for 66 points in a 28 point win over the Boston Celtics. Kyrie Irving had 7 three pointers, including this one from deep:
Many thought that the Celtics would be able to keep up with the Nets, making it a close game but the Nets had other plans. There is no doubt that the Celtics will bounce back, but the rest of the league should be wary about the Brooklyn Nets. A matchup that might interest a lot of viewers will be Nets-Lakers, coming up on February 18, but until then, who will challenge the Nets? Let us know in the comments or on social media @unbenched_
Game 4: LA Lakers vs Dallas Mavericks [138-115]
Mavs-Lakers was an interesting matchup choice. They were able to hang on to the Lakers until the second half, when the Lakers really took off.
The absence of Kristaps Porzingis is getting more obvious for the Mavericks, and Doncic needs better support if the Mavs want to create some serious impact. Doncic had 27 points, but these numbers won’t be enough until the Mavericks add more star power.
Game 5: LA Clippers vs Denver Nuggets [121-108]
Probably the biggest highlight to come out of this game was a crippled Kawhi Leonard, lying on the floor after an unfortunate elbow to the face by fellow teammate Serge Ibaka. Leonard needed 8 stitches for a mouth laceration, but the team says that he will be okay.
TW // Blood, Distress
Even though it was less of a blowout than the previous teams that played, the Clippers were able to top the Nuggets. As they did last season, the Clippers have started out strong. The question will be whether Paul George and the rest of the team can step it up in the playoffs when it really matters. Hopefully they won’t be blowing any 3-1 leads anymore. The LA Clippers faced the ghost of Christmas past in the Nuggets, and they passed their test.
The Christmas games may not have been as tantalizing as they have been in the past, but after everything that the world has endured this year, I am grateful that the NBA can start their season safely.
The team here at Unbenched wish our viewers a happy and safe holidays! Make sure you follow us @unbenched_ on Instagram and Twitter for the latest updates and articles in the sports world. Thank you for all your support throughout the first 6 months of our network! There is more to come in 2021.