Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes across the globe to weigh in on the most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.
VIDEO: Scott Howard-Cooper Christmas Day essay
> Your nameplate says Santa Claus, Joyous Gift Giver. So tell me Mr. Claus, what NBA gift will we be receiving on Christmas Day?
David Aldridge, NBA.com: The gift that keeps on giving: Warriors and Cavaliers, with everyone finally healthy. I’ll be really interested to see how David Blatt attacks Golden State’s defense with Kyrie Irving back on the court.
Steve Aschburner, NBA.com: I don’t like tipping my hand pre-chimney, but here goes: Two stocking-stuffer games to get things going, nothing that will interfere too much with a lot of NBA fans’ pesky family traditions. Then a main event — Cleveland at Golden State, LeBron James‘ ultra-competitiveness vs. the Warriors’ home mastery — that lives up to expectations, whetting folks’ appetites for one rematch in January and then six or seven don’t-open-till-June classics in The Finals. I’m going to follow that with a happily intense Spurs-Rockets clash, pitting Dad’s team against one favored by the kids. Finally, I’ll cap it off with some vintage Kobe Bryant — Father Time might be looking past the Lakers star to his big day next week — against everyone’s favorite lump-of-coal team, the Clippers. Don’t expect Santa to stay awake for the second half of that one, though. I’ll have earned the snooze.
Fran Blinebury, NBA.com: Ten Chris Paul’s a-diming, nine Anthony Davises a-blocking, eight Spurs a-sharing, seven Butlers a-griping, six D-Wades hitting floaters, fi-i-i-i-ve ol-l-lden Kobes … four Warriors on LeBron, three Beards gunning, two Russ and K.D. turtle doves, and a sleigh full of Stephen Curry 3s!
Scott Howard-Cooper, NBA.com: Cavaliers at Warriors in more than a Finals rematch. This will be more about this season than last, mostly as a big test for Golden State. The Warriors haven’t faced top competition yet, either the best of the East (Cleveland) or the best of the challengers from the West (San Antonio). The Dubs we have seen so far are motivated for big challenges, even aiming for them, whether it’s the start of the season or the end. While the Christmas outcome won’t determine the direction of 2015-16, they know this is one of those challenges.
Shaun Powell, NBA.com: Ho, ho ho. I’ll give you the NBA Finals game you didn’t see last June: A healthy Cavs team against a spunky Warriors team. As you elves might recall, the Cavs were missing a pair of All-Stars last time. It was such a lump of coal for The King to swallow. And so, my gift to you is Kyrie and K-Love and Kerr and Klay; LeBron and Steph and J.R. and Dray.
John Schuhmann, NBA.com: I’m bringing you an important game for the hanging-on-by-a-thread Pelicans, Russell Westbrook looking to put on a show against a top-five defense, the Warriors’ first game against a fellow title contender, a matchup between the two most improved teams in December, and the final Christmas Day game for the all-time Christmas Day scoring leader.
Sekou Smith, NBA.com: Five Golden Games! First up is the Brow and his boys trying to get it right against the Heat in Miami. Then it’s the reeling Chicago Bulls on the wrong end of a Russell Westbrook jab and a Kevin Durant left hook in Oklahoma City. The main event is a rematch of Game 1 of The Finals with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love healthy and alongside LeBron James against Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and the mighty Warriors at Oracle Arena. Then there’s a splendid study in contrast with the Spurs machine rolling down the road to shine a light on James Harden, Dwight Howard and the perplexing Houston Rockets. And the finale provides the latest stop on the Kobe Bryant farewell tour, as the Lakers host the Clippers at their shared home. As always, NBA Santa delivers the goods (and the drama) on Christmas!
Ian Thomsen, NBA.com: The Golden State-Cleveland rematch will be craved not only by its large audience but also by the performers themselves. Curry’s Warriors love a good challenge, especially from the opponent that might have won The Finals last June if Kyrie Irving had been around; while LeBron James will be encouraging his fellow Cavaliers to match the champs’ intensity and focus. The old Shaq vs. Kobe rematches on Christmas Day were about resolving their past differences; this game is going to be focused on the future title hopes of both teams.
Lang Whitaker, NBA.com’s All Ball blog: Hey, no coal in the Stance socks in Oakland from me. Thus far this season it’s been all about the Golden State Warriors, so on Christmas Day, why wouldn’t I gift you a delightful matchup between last year’s NBA Finalists, the Warriors and the Cavs? And not only that, but make it a fantastic game that is well worth your watching? Also, it’s a season of dreams coming true, so let’s hope we get a turn-back-the-clock night from Kobe Bryant, in this final Christmas Day that we get to spend with the Mamba.