NBA Christmas Games: History & What You Need to Know for This Year

NBA games being played on Christmas Day is a tradition that’s been known for signature moments since its inception in 1947. Five games will be played on Christmas Day in 2023, starting at noon Eastern Time on the ABC/ESPN family of networks.

The NBA on Christmas Day 2023

NBA on Christmas is one of the biggest stages of every regular season. The only thing better than watching NBA on Christmas at home is grabbing tickets to an NBA game live on Christmas with the family.

What Games are Being Played on Christmas Day 2023?

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Superstars and playoff rematches are the headlines for the NBA on Christmas Day for the 2023–24 season. The day begins with an Eastern Conference matchup between the Milwaukee Bucks and the New York Knicks. Next will be a pair of rivalry tilts between the Golden State Warriors at the Denver Nuggets and the Los Angeles Lakers hosting the Boston Celtics.

The primetime matchup will feature the Philadelphia 76ers visiting the Miami Heat and the final tilt of the night will a Western Conference battle between the Phoenix Suns host the Dallas Mavericks.

History of the NBA on Christmas Day

There have been some historic standout performances that have taken place on Christmas Day in the past, from Bernard King scoring a record 60 points on NBA Christmas Day in 1984 to Wilt Chamberlain notching 59 points and 36 rebounds in 1961.

NBA on Christmas Day games are also a great stage for NBA Finals rematches. In 1995, the NBA coordinated its first Finals rematch between the Orlando Magic and Houston Rockets. All-star guard Penny Hardaway scored 22 points in a win, including the game-winner with less than five seconds remaining in the game.

In 2008, the NBA Finals rematch was also one of the most bitter rivalries in the NBA when the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics collided. The Lakers broke the Celtics 19-game win streak on a night when Lakers head coach Phil Jackson accumulated his 1,000th career win, the fastest coach to do so.

Perhaps the two most exciting NBA on Christmas Day Finals rematches were played in consecutive years between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors in 2016 and 2017. In 2016, the Cavs rallied from being down 14 points in the fourth quarter and bested the Warriors off a miraculous Kyrie Irving turnaround jump shot with 3.4 seconds remaining in the game. A year later, the Warriors got their revenge despite a Cavaliers 11-2 run in the late stages of the fourth quarter. Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson hit the game-winning three-pointer to break a 92-92 tie and give Golden State the edge.

Christmas Day NBA Game Results

With the calendar counting down to the NBA on Christmas games, relive some of the highlights and moments from previous years.

SeasonVisiting TeamScoreHome TeamScore
2022–23Philadelphia 76ers119New York Knicks112
2022–23Los Angeles Lakers115Dallas Mavericks124
2022–23Milwaukee Bucks118Boston Celtics139
2022–23Memphis Grizzlies109Golden State Warriors123
2022–23Phoenix Suns125Denver Nuggets128
2021–22Atlanta Hawks87New York Knicks101
2021–22Boston Celtics113Milwaukee Bucks117
2021–22Golden State Warriors116Phoenix Suns107
2021–22Brooklyn Nets122Los Angeles Lakers115
2021–22Dallas Mavericks116Utah Jazz120
2020–21New Orleans Pelicans98Miami Heat111
2020–21Golden State Warriors99Milwaukee Bucks138
2020–21Brooklyn Nets123Boston Celtics95
2020–21Dallas Mavericks115Los Angeles Lakers138
2020–21Los Angeles Clippers121Denver Nuggets108
2019–20Boston Celtics118Toronto Raptors102
2019–20Milwaukee Bucks109Philadelphia 76ers121
2019–20Houston Rockets104Golden State Warriors116
2019–20Los Angeles Clippers111Los Angeles Lakers106
2019–20New Orleans Pelicans112Denver Nuggets100
2018–19Milwaukee Bucks109New York Knicks95
2018–19Oklahoma City Thunder109Houston Rockets113
2018–19Philadelphia 76ers114Boston Celtics121
2018–19Los Angeles Lakers127Golden State Warriors101
2018–19Portland Trail Blazers96Utah Jazz117
2017–18Philadelphia 76ers105New York Knicks98
2017–18Cleveland Cavaliers92Golden State Warriors99
2017–18Washington Wizards111Boston Celtics103
2017–18Houston Rockets107Oklahoma City Thunder112
2017–18Minnesota Timberwolves121Los Angeles Lakers104
2016–17Boston Celtics119New York Knicks114
2016–17Golden State Warriors108Cleveland Cavaliers109
2016–17Chicago Bulls100San Antonio Spurs119
2016–17Minnesota Timberwolves100Oklahoma City Thunder112
2016–17Los Angeles Clippers102Los Angeles Lakers111
2015–16New Orleans Pelicans88Miami Heat94
2015–16Chicago Bulls105Oklahoma City Thunder96
2015–16Cleveland Cavaliers83Golden State Warriors89
2015–16San Antonio Spurs84Houston Rockets88
2015–16Los Angeles Clippers94Los Angeles Lakers84
2014–15Washington Wizards102New York Knicks91
2014–15Oklahoma City Thunder114San Antonio Spurs106
2014–15Cleveland Cavaliers91Miami Heat101
2014–15Los Angeles Lakers93Chicago Bulls113
2014–15Golden State Warriors86Los Angeles Clippers100
2013–14Chicago Bulls95Brooklyn Nets78
2013–14Oklahoma City Thunder123New York Knicks94
2013–14Miami Heat101Los Angeles Lakers95
2013–14Houston Rockets111San Antonio Spurs98
2013–14Los Angeles Clippers103Golden State Warriors105
2012–13Boston Celtics93Brooklyn Nets76
2012–13New York Knicks94Los Angeles Lakers100
2012–13Oklahoma City Thunder97Miami Heat103
2012–13Houston Rockets120Chicago Bulls97
2012–13Denver Nuggets100Los Angeles Clippers112
2011–12Boston Celtics104New York Knicks106
2011–12Miami Heat105Dallas Mavericks94
2011–12Chicago Bulls88Los Angeles Lakers87
2011–12Orlando Magic89Oklahoma City Thunder97
2011–12Los Angeles Clippers105Golden State Warriors86
2010–11Chicago Bulls95New York Knicks103
2010–11Boston Celtics78Orlando Magic86
2010–11Miami Heat96Los Angeles Lakers80
2010–11Denver Nuggets106Oklahoma City Thunder114
2010–11Portland Trail Blazers102Golden State Warriors109
2009–10Miami Heat93New York Knicks87
2009–10Cleveland Cavaliers102Los Angeles Lakers87
2009–10Boston Celtics86Orlando Magic77
2009–10Los Angeles Clippers93Phoenix Suns124
2009–10Denver Nuggets96Portland Trail Blazers107
2008–09Washington Wizards89Cleveland Cavaliers93
2008–09Boston Celtics83Los Angeles Lakers92
2008–09New Orleans Hornets68Orlando Magic88
2008–09San Antonio Spurs91Phoenix Suns90
2008–09Dallas Mavericks102Portland Trail Blazers94
2007–08Miami Heat82Cleveland Cavaliers96
2007–08Phoenix Suns115Los Angeles Lakers122
2007–08Seattle SuperSonics79Portland Trail Blazers89
2006–07Los Angeles Lakers85Miami Heat101
2005–06San Antonio Spurs70Detroit Pistons85
2005–06Los Angeles Lakers92Miami Heat97
2004–05Detroit Pistons98Indiana Pacers93
2004–05Miami Heat104Los Angeles Lakers102
2003–04Cleveland Cavaliers101Orlando Magic113
2003–04Dallas Mavericks111Sacramento Kings103
2003–04Houston Rockets99Los Angeles Lakers87
2002–03Detroit Pistons99Orlando Magic107
2002–03Boston Celtics81New Jersey Nets117
2002–03Sacramento Kings105Los Angeles Lakers99
2001–02Philadelphia 76ers82Los Angeles Lakers88
2001–02Toronto Raptors94New York Knicks102
2000–01Orlando Magic93Indiana Pacers103
2000–01Portland Trail Blazers109Los Angeles Lakers104
1999–2000New York Knicks90Indiana Pacers101
1999–2000San Antonio Spurs93Los Angeles Lakers99
1997–98Miami Heat80Chicago Bulls90
1997–98Houston Rockets103Utah Jazz107
1996–97Detroit Pistons83Chicago Bulls95
1996–97Los Angeles Lakers108Phoenix Suns87
1995–96Houston Rockets90Orlando Magic92
1995–96San Antonio Spurs105Phoenix Suns100
1994–95New York Knicks104Chicago Bulls107
1994–95Seattle SuperSonics96Denver Nuggets105
1993–94Orlando Magic93Chicago Bulls95
1993–94Houston Rockets91Phoenix Suns111
1992–93New York Knicks77Chicago Bulls89
1992–93San Antonio Spurs103Los Angeles Clippers94
1991–92Boston Celtics99Chicago Bulls121
1991–92Los Angeles Lakers85Los Angeles Clippers75
1990–91Detroit Pistons86Chicago Bulls98
1989–90Cleveland Cavaliers104Atlanta Hawks115
1988–89Washington Bullets110Philadelphia 76ers125
1988–89Los Angeles Lakers87Utah Jazz101
1987–88Detroit Pistons91New York Knicks87
1987–88Atlanta Hawks106Philadelphia 76ers100
1986–87Chicago Bulls85New York Knicks86
1986–87Washington Bullets102Philadelphia 76ers97
1985–86Boston Celtics104New York Knicks113
1985–86Los Angeles Clippers107Portland Trail Blazers121
1984–85Atlanta Hawks106Cleveland Cavaliers109
1984–85Philadelphia 76ers109Detroit Pistons108
1984–85New Jersey Nets120New York Knicks114
1984–85Golden State Warriors97Portland Trail Blazers106
1983–84New Jersey Nets110New York Knicks112
1983–84Los Angeles Lakers121Portland Trail Blazers141
1982–83New Jersey Nets112New York Knicks110
1982–83Seattle SuperSonics88Portland Trail Blazers95
1982–83Phoenix Suns111Utah Jazz101
1982–83Atlanta Hawks97Washington Bullets91
1981–82New Jersey Nets96New York Knicks95
1981–82Los Angeles Lakers104Phoenix Suns101
1981–82Seattle SuperSonics94Portland Trail Blazers99
1981–82Indiana Pacers98Washington Bullets115
1980–81Boston Celtics117New York Knicks108
1980–81San Antonio Spurs111Phoenix Suns131
1980–81Golden State Warriors114Portland Trail Blazers115
1980–81New Jersey Nets94Washington Bullets109
1979–80Detroit Pistons101Cleveland Cavaliers111
1979–80New Jersey Nets102New York Knicks131
1979–80Golden State Warriors91Portland Trail Blazers113
1979–80Denver Nuggets111Utah Jazz122
1979–80Philadelphia 76ers95Washington Bullets92
1978–79Philadelphia 76ers109New York Knicks94
1978–79Golden State Warriors102Portland Trail Blazers115
1978–79San Diego Clippers123Seattle SuperSonics118
1977–78Buffalo Braves105Cleveland Cavaliers111
1977–78Milwaukee Bucks131Kansas City Kings122
1977–78San Antonio Spurs115New Orleans Jazz105
1977–78Philadelphia 76ers110New York Knicks113
1977–78Golden State Warriors97Portland Trail Blazers109
1977–78Los Angeles Lakers111Seattle SuperSonics96
1977–78Atlanta Hawks93Washington Bullets100
1976–77Detroit Pistons106Buffalo Braves115
1976–77Chicago Bulls96Kansas City Kings91
1976–77Philadelphia 76ers105New York Knicks104
1976–77Los Angeles Lakers96Phoenix Suns113
1976–77Seattle SuperSonics95Portland Trail Blazers110
1976–77Cleveland Cavaliers99Washington Bullets117
1975–76Houston Rockets99New Orleans Jazz101
1975–76Philadelphia 76ers103New York Knicks111
1975–76Kansas City Kings111Phoenix Suns122
1975–76Atlanta Hawks94Washington Bullets99
1974–75Philadelphia 76ers104New York Knicks97
1974–75Boston Celtics96Phoenix Suns110
1974–75Atlanta Hawks92Washington Bullets110
1974–75San Diego Conquistadors100Utah Stars112
1973–74Capital Bullets102New York Knicks100
1973–74Los Angeles Lakers100Phoenix Suns135
1972–73Milwaukee Bucks104Kansas City-Omaha Kings99
1972–73Detroit Pistons110New York Knicks113
1972–73Chicago Bulls108Phoenix Suns115
1972–73Seattle SuperSonics113Portland Trail Blazers116
1971–72Buffalo Braves117Atlanta Hawks140
1971–72Boston Celtics99Cincinnati Royals94
1971–72Milwaukee Bucks118Detroit Pistons120
1971–72Golden State Warriors89New York Knicks114
1971–72Baltimore Bullets117Philadelphia 76ers114
1971–72Seattle SuperSonics86Phoenix Suns116
1971–72Chicago Bulls109Portland Trail Blazers88
1971–72Carolina Cougars102Memphis Pros110
1971–72Indiana Pacers129Utah Stars150
1971–72Pittsburgh Condors126Virginia Squires133
1970–71Chicago Bulls112Baltimore Bullets128
1970–71Cleveland Cavaliers100Cincinnati Royals117
1970–71Boston Celtics113Los Angeles Lakers123
1970–71Buffalo Braves102New York Knicks115
1970–71Detroit Pistons100Philadelphia 76ers105
1970–71Atlanta Hawks115Phoenix Suns127
1970–71Utah Stars102Memphis Pros107
1970–71Carolina Cougars121Pittsburgh Condors136
1970–71Texas Chaparrals131Virginia Squires145
1969–70Philadelphia 76ers113Baltimore Bullets121
1969–70San Francisco Warriors124Cincinnati Royals120
1969–70Detroit Pistons111New York Knicks112
1969–70Boston Celtics116Phoenix Suns127
1969–70Los Angeles Stars105Kentucky Colonels101
1969–70Washington Caps131Pittsburgh Pipers112
1968–69Seattle SuperSonics112Baltimore Bullets118
1968–69Chicago Bulls98Cincinnati Royals103
1968–69Detroit Pistons119Milwaukee Bucks113
1968–69Philadelphia 76ers109New York Knicks110
1968–69Los Angeles Lakers119Phoenix Suns99
1968–69Minnesota Pipers129Kentucky Colonels118
1968–69Oakland Oaks127Los Angeles Stars122
1968–69Denver Rockets129New York Nets110
1967–68Philadelphia 76ers108Baltimore Bullets105
1967–68Seattle SuperSonics112Cincinnati Royals118
1967–68Boston Celtics134New York Knicks124
1967–68Los Angeles Lakers101San Diego Rockets104
1967–68Oakland Oaks98Kentucky Colonels112
1966–67Detroit Pistons129Baltimore Bullets127
1966–67San Francisco Warriors124Cincinnati Royals112
1966–67Chicago Bulls132New York Knicks133
1965–66Boston Celtics113Baltimore Bullets99
1965–66San Francisco Warriors113Cincinnati Royals119
1965–66Detroit Pistons106Los Angeles Lakers115
1965–66St. Louis Hawks131New York Knicks111
1964–65Detroit Pistons106Boston Celtics118
1964–65St. Louis Hawks125Cincinnati Royals130
1964–65Baltimore Bullets114New York Knicks108
1963–64St. Louis Hawks107Cincinnati Royals113
1963–64Los Angeles Lakers134New York Knicks126
1962–63Detroit Pistons120Cincinnati Royals131
1962–63Syracuse Nationals123New York Knicks111
1962–63St. Louis Hawks91San Francisco Warriors94
1961–62Detroit Pistons97Chicago Packers118
1961–62Los Angeles Lakers141Cincinnati Royals127
1961–62Philadelphia Warriors135New York Knicks136
1961–62Boston Celtics127Syracuse Nationals122
1960–61Detroit Pistons119Cincinnati Royals126
1960–61New York Knicks100Syracuse Nationals162
1959–60Detroit Pistons103Cincinnati Royals121
1959–60Boston Celtics123New York Knicks119
1959–60Syracuse Nationals121Philadelphia Warriors129
1959–60Minneapolis Lakers96St. Louis Hawks112
1958–59St. Louis Hawks100Cincinnati Royals92
1958–59Minneapolis Lakers97Detroit Pistons98
1958–59Boston Celtics129New York Knicks120
1957–58Minneapolis Lakers106Detroit Pistons104
1957–58Boston Celtics105Philadelphia Warriors115
1957–58New York Knicks130Syracuse Nationals134
1956–57Philadelphia Warriors89Boston Celtics82
1956–57Minneapolis Lakers100Fort Wayne Pistons89
1956–57St. Louis Hawks107New York Knicks105
1956–57Syracuse Nationals93Rochester Royals98
1955–56New York Knicks87Fort Wayne Pistons92
1955–56Boston Celtics115Minneapolis Lakers112
1955–56Rochester Royals96Syracuse Nationals111
1954–55Boston Celtics108Milwaukee Hawks99
1954–55Philadelphia Warriors91Minneapolis Lakers99
1954–55Syracuse Nationals101New York Knicks109
1954–55Fort Wayne Pistons73Rochester Royals80
1953–54Minneapolis Lakers78Baltimore Bullets88
1953–54Boston Celtics79Fort Wayne Pistons108
1953–54Syracuse Nationals80New York Knicks89
1953–54Rochester Royals73Philadelphia Warriors65
1952–53Milwaukee Hawks69Fort Wayne Pistons71
1952–53Indianapolis Olympians73Minneapolis Lakers90
1952–53Boston Celtics84New York Knicks97
1952–53Rochester Royals93Philadelphia Warriors78
1952–53Baltimore Bullets92Syracuse Nationals102
1951–52Syracuse Nationals78Milwaukee Hawks88
1951–52Boston Celtics79Minneapolis Lakers108
1951–52Fort Wayne Pistons80New York Knicks89
1951–52Indianapolis Olympians73Rochester Royals65
1950–51Washington Capitols79Fort Wayne Pistons93
1950–51New York Knicks86Philadelphia Warriors84
1950–51Boston Celtics77Rochester Royals90
1950–51Fort Wayne Pistons69Syracuse Nationals81
1950–51Baltimore Bullets72Tri-Cities Blackhawks87
1949–50Philadelphia Warriors64Baltimore Bullets63
1949–50Sheboygan Red Skins76Denver Nuggets72
1949–50Fort Wayne Pistons58Minneapolis Lakers72
1949–50Boston Celtics79Rochester Royals88
1949–50Washington Capitols81St. Louis Bombers68
1949–50Anderson Packers88Syracuse Nationals94
1949–50Indianapolis Olympians93Waterloo Hawks97
1948–49Chicago Stags70New York Knicks64
1948–49Boston Celtics77Philadelphia Warriors80
1948–49Baltimore Bullets88Providence Steamrollers83
1948–49St. Louis Bombers82Rochester Royals90
1948–49Fort Wayne Pistons74Washington Capitols88
1947–48Chicago Stags70Baltimore Bullets87
1947–48Providence Steamrollers75New York Knicks89
1947–48Washington Capitols73St. Louis Bombers56

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