Long before the 2019-20 NBA season began, the league settled on its schedule. And while the bulk of the games were chosen as basic logistical puzzle pieces, the league built the schedule around a few key dates, with carefully selected games.
One of those dates? December 25.
The NBA takes Thanksgiving off, opting to give the NFL full shine on that holiday. But on Christmas? That’s where the NBA goes all out.
Over the years, the NBA has built its way up to a five-game slate on Christmas day, with all five games being nationally televised, and most of the games being marquee matchups.
That’s what they had in mind when they booked the Warriors - with five consecutive trips to the NBA Finals - to host the Houston Rockets, a team Golden State dramatically dispatched in both the 2018 and 2019 postseasons.
But then Steph Curry got hurt, and the season fell a bit apart for the Warriors. But the show must go on, and the schedule can’t change, and so the Warriors (currently 5-20) will indeed host the Rockets (15-8) on Christmas, at 2:00 p.m. PT on ABC.
Curry and Klay Thompson are sidelined. Kevin Durant is gone. Draymond Green isn’t exactly thriving on a bad team.
And so the burden of being star attraction for the NBA’s hottest team of the decade falls to offseason acquisition D’Angelo Russell.
Russell gets to be the Warrior featured alongside the likes of LeBron James and James Harden in the league’s promo video, which features a playful, basketball-themed rendition of “Winter Wonderland.” It’s a fun video.
We’ll see if Russell can lead the Warriors to victory against Harden and Russell Westbrook in two weeks. Either way, he’ll be the Warriors star attraction this holiday season.