Christmas day the NBA presented fans with the gift of a full day of NBA action. Tipping off at noon with the Philadelphia 76ers looking to snap a five-game losing streak, followed by the Cleveland Cavaliers facing the Golden State Warriors, the Boston Celtics hosting their very first home game on Christmas day in franchise history, Russell Westbrook and James Harden facing off and the Minnesota Timberwolves paying a visit to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Philadelphia 105   New York  98 

In the first game of the day Philadelphia forward Joel Embid dropped in 15 points while grabbing 16 boards to lead the Sixers past the New York Knicks 105-98 in Madison Square Garden. The Knicks  “Unicorn” Kristaps Porzingis scored 22 points in his 34 minutes on the floor, but New Yorks’ big man on this day was center Enis Kanter who played 35  minutes and nearly scored a point a minute finishing with 31 points while pulling down a whopping 22 rebounds. The only help Porzingis and Kanter would get from their teammates was shooting guard Courtney Lee contributing 20 points while forward Michael Beasley came off the bench to sink 10 points. Meanwhile, Embid powered the Sixers to their only their 15th win of the season with the help of J.J. Reddicks 24 points and only two other Sixers scored in double figures.

Golden State  99   Cleveland  92 

Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers paid the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors a visit in a rematch of the last three NBA Finals.The result was the  Cavs coming up on the wrong end of a 99-92 loss. The game was close in the final seconds but a couple of King James turnovers and a no call proved to be the end of the Cavs hopes. Lebron finished with 20 points 6 rebounds and 6 assists in his 20 minutes of playing time. The King also turned the ball over 7 times. Kevin Love led the Cavaliers scoring 31 points, while teammates Jae Crowder and Dwyane Wade also scored in double figures. Kevin Durant and Draymond Green were the big men for the Warriors who were playing without Steph Curry. Durant in 36 minutes of playing time poured in 25 points while grabbing 7 rebounds. KD also stepped up on defense blocking 5 shots and nabbing two steals. Green played 40 minutes and finished with 12 points,11 rebounds, and 12 assists.

Washington  111    Boston 103 

The Boston Celtics were the host of their first Christmas Day home game in the history of the famous franchise. The Washington Wizards were not a gracious guest as the team from the nation’s capital played the role of the Grinch nabbing an 8 point victory. The focus of this game was the duel between point guards John Wall and Kyrie Irving, but the X-factor turned out to be Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal who finished with 25 points. Wall was pivotal as he engineered the Washington attack with 21 points and 14 assists as six Wizards scored in double figures.Meanwhile, Irving and his teammate Jayson Tatum scored 20 points each as six Celtics also scored in double figures in only their tenth loss of the season.

Oklahoma City 112   Houston  107 

The OKC big three were just that in this clash of titans. Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony, and Paul George went on the attack and combined for 75 points helping the home team hold off James Harden and the Rockets. The win was the fifth straight for the Thunder and this one was powered by Westbrooks 31 points and 11 assists. George and Anthony scored 24  and 20 points apiece helping OKC hold off Hardens’ 29 points and 14 assists. Harden got help from Trevor Ariza, Eric Gordon, and Clint Capella as they all scored in double figures but it was not enough to prevent Houston from losing their third straight game.

Minnesota 121   Los Angeles Lakers  104 

In the Christmas Day nightcap, the Minnesota Timberwolves hit the floor at the Staples Center with their throttle wide open unleashing the “Big Cat” Karl-Anthony Towns who scored 21 points and grabbed 10 boards to help lead the T-Wolves to the first Christmas Day victory in franchise history. Towns and Minnesota were led in scoring by Jimmy Butler and Taj Gibson who finished with 23 points apiece. Meanwhile, despite the loss, the Lakers had a bright spot in the form of rookie Kyle Kuzma. The Rookie entered the NBA record books alongside Lebron James as the only first-year players to score a minimum of 30 points on Christmas Day.



Trevin A. Jones

Follow me on Twitter: @UMTSportsreport

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