The biggest day of the NBA calendar has arrived. Christmas is here, and for the 17th time in league history, the Clippers will be taking part.
For the last decade or so, the Clippers have been a yuletide fixture; since 2009, there have only been three NBA Christmases without the Clippers. That wasn’t always the case. At one point, the Clippers took a 17-year hiatus from the league’s marquee holiday, though in fairness to the NBA, the team only had a winning record in one of those seasons.
Where: Ball Arena, Denver, Colorado
When: Friday, Dec. 25, 7:30 p.m. PT
How to watch/listen: ESPN, Fox Sports Prime Ticket, AM 570 LA Sports
Projected Starting Lineups
Clippers: Patrick Beverley, Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, Nicolas Batum, Serge Ibaka
Nuggets: Jamal Murray, Gary Harris, Michael Porter Jr., Paul Millsap, Nikola Jokic
Clippers: Marcus Morris Sr. (sore right knee), Jay Scrubb (foot surgery) — OUT
Nuggets: JaMychal Green (calf), Greg Whittington (knee) — OUT
In their Christmas history, the Clippers are 7-9. They are 5-2 in this decade, however, topped off by last year’s comeback victory against the Lakers on their rival’s home court. The Clippers are once again on the road this year, requiring actual travel to Denver. They’ve played the Nuggets once on Christmas Day before, winning 112-100 in 2012 as Jamal Crawford led the way with 22 points. Denver’s leading scorers that day were Kosta Koufos and Jordan Hamilton, each with 16.
This year’s contest obviously brings a different level of intrigue after the two teams met in the playoffs a few months ago — for more on that, check out Blake’s preview. Although it’s the only playoff rematch on today’s docket, the SB Nation fan community doesn’t rate it as the best game of the day. That honor goes to the Mavericks, the other team the Clippers faced in the playoffs. 35 percent of fans think Dallas’ game against the Lakers is the most exciting, compared to 18 percent picking Clippers/Nuggets.
It’s a shame the Clippers won’t get to see old friend JaMychal Green, but the rest of the Denver roster is essentially intact from that playoff series. This should be a great game to close out the night.