Can you believe it's Christmas already? It felt like only yesterday we were witnessing Kevin Durant hoisting up the Larry O'Brien trophy back in June, but here we are, on the 25th of December.
Christmas is one of the most important days on the NBA calendar, as some of the best games of the season are held on the 25th and are billed as marquee matchups. For example, the Cavs will be facing the Warriors for the third straight Christmas in a row, while Harden and Westbrook will be going head-to-head as the Rockets face the Thunder.
Another matchup that is sure to rile up the tastebuds of NBA fans -- even after a Christmas feast -- is the game between the Boston Celtics and the Washington Wizards.
The two teams have had some bad blood in the past, with a heavy-hitting Eastern Conference playoffs matchup last season between the two squads that went seven games. Despite all the roster turnover, the Celtics have gone through, the rivalry is sure to be as fierce as ever.
The matchup between the Wizards and Celtics will be Boston's 31st game on Christmas Day in franchise history, but in the Celtics' entire 71-year history, the team has never played at home on Christmas day, always either playing away or at a neutral location.
The 'tradition' arose when legendary coach Red Auberbach didn't want the Celtics' team staff to work during Christmas. What a nice guy.
This year, TD Garden employees will receive a special shirt as a thanks for giving up their holiday:
Here are some other Boston Celtics Christmas Day facts, courtesy of CBS Boston:
– The Celtics are 14-16 in their Christmas Day games.
– The C’s made their Christmas Day debut back in 1948, losing to the Philadelphia Warriors 80-77 in Philly. Gene Stump led Boston in scoring that day with 20 points.
– The Celtics were featured in the NBA’s Christmas Day lineup for 12 straight years from 1948 to 1960, losing their first six games. They went 4-8 during that stretch.
– Boston won its first Christmas Day game in 1954, when Bob Cousy led the way with 35 points in a 108-99 victory over Milwaukee.
– Tommy Heinsohn dropped 45 points on Christmas Day in a 127-122 win over the Syracuse Nationals in 1961.
– The most points the Celtics have scored on Christmas Day was back in 1967, beating the Knicks 134-124. Sam Jones led the way for Boston with 27 points, while John Havliceck scored 21.
– Boston’s worst loss on Christmas Day came in 2002, when they fell to the New Jersey Nets 117-81.
– The 27-2 Celtics met the L.A. Lakers for an NBA Finals rematch on Christmas Day in 2008 (their first Christmas Day game since 2002), losing 92-83. Kobe Bryant scored 27 points and Pau Gasol scored seven of his 20 points in the final three minutes as the Lakers snapped the defending champs 19-game winning streak — a franchise record.
– “National TV Rondo” put on a show in 2011, scoring 31 points to go with 13 assists as the C’s opened the strike-shortened season against the Knicks. It wasn’t enough though, as the Celtics were without Paul Pierce and fell 106-104.
– After a few years off, the C’s returned to the Christmas Day slate last season as Isaiah Thomas and company paid a visit to the New York Knicks. Thomas scored a team-high 27 points as Boston withstood a 29-point game from Carmelo Anthony and a 22-12 performance from Kristaps Porzingis on their way to a 119-114 victory. The game was tied 112-112 in the final minute, but Marcus Smart hit a clutch three and Boston hit their free throws down the stretch to get the Christmas Day win.
– Kyrie Irving said earlier this week that he doesn’t consider Christmas Day a holiday, and that’s probably because he’s been in the office for the last three of them. Irving played on Christmas Day in each of the last three seasons as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers, going 1-2 (road losses to the Heat and Warriors and a home win over the Warriors last season) while averaging 21 points off 41 percent shooting.
The Celtics and Wizards will be tipping off proceedings at 5:30 PM ET.