- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 17, 2021

The NBA released its annual five-game Christmas slate Tuesday for the upcoming season — headlined by a marquee matchup between the Brooklyn Nets and the Los Angeles Lakers. The game features Kevin Durant against LeBron James, as well as other stars in Brooklyn’s Kyrie Irving and James Harden and Los Angeles’ Russell Westbrook and Anthony Davis. 

The other four games include the defending-champion Milwaukee Bucks taking on the Boston Celtics (2:30 p.m.), the New York Knicks against the Atlanta Hawks (noon), the Utah Jazz against the Dallas Mavericks (10:30 p.m.) and the Golden State Warriors against the Phoenix Suns (5 p.m.).

The day, unsurprisingly, leaves out the Washington Wizards — who haven’t played on Christmas since they took on the Celtics in 2017. 

The Wizards are coming off a playoff appearance, but lack the star power outside of Bradley Beal to make them a national draw.

Perhaps more surprisingly, the league chose not to air Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets on the holiday — marking the first time since 2008, when the league expanded to five games, that the reigning MVP will not appear on Christmas, according to Stat Muse. 
The NBA’s season begins Oct. 19 with the Bucks opening against the Nets in a playoff rematch and the Lakers matched up against Stephen Curry and the Warriors. 

The league’s full schedule is set to be announced at a later date. 

• Matthew Paras can be reached at mparas@washingtontimes.com.

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