The NBA's Christmas Day slate of games marks the unofficial start to the season for the league's more casual fans. Because this is the day the NBA gets its first real dose of attention from a national audience, the league typically schedules one or more juicy matchups that make tuning in an absolute necessity. Here's the full schedule of games set for Dec. 25, ranked from best to ... well, not as great.
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Warriors at Cavaliers, 2:30 p.m. ET
A Finals rematch between what should be the league's top two teams for a second consecutive season was guaranteed to be the main event, and the schedule-makers did not disappoint. The defending champs get the game at home, and it'll be Cleveland's first chance to see what it's like to deal with Kevin Durant as part of the Warriors' new and improved lineup. Last Christmas, Golden State beat Cleveland 89-83 in Oakland.
Timberwolves at Thunder, 8 p.m. ET
Minnesota gets its first-ever Christmas Day game, and Russell Westbrook gets to showcase his skills without Kevin Durant sharing the spotlight. The young Timberwolves should be a blast with Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine, and they'll probably do a lot better than last year's 27th-ranked defense with Tom Thibodeau now patrolling the sideline.
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Celtics at Knicks, noon ET
The Knicks might be much improved this season with Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah in the lineup alongside Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis, and playing against a Celtics team that added Al Horford this summer and projects to be the second-best squad in the East should be a strong early-season test.
Getty ImagesMike Stobe
Bulls at Spurs, 5 p.m. ET
Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo are the big new names in Chicago, and plenty of people are curious to see how well they'll fit alongside Jimmy Butler on a revamped Bulls roster. Tim Duncan is gone, but the Spurs are loaded with talented guys like LaMarcus Aldridge and Kawhi Leonard -- oh, and there's also Pau Gasol, who returned to All-Star form whle playing for the Bulls the past two seasons but signed with San Antonio as a free agent this summer.
Clippers at Lakers, 10:30 p.m. ET
It's nice that these two teams can both stay home for Christmas, but this shouldn't be much of a game. The Clippers are loaded with enough talent to be a top-three team in the West, while the Lakers are in rebuilding mode with a new head coach in Luke Walton. D'Angelo Russell and Brandon Ingram should get plenty of minutes for the Lakers, even if they won't have much of a chance to win.