11 fun facts about the NBA on Christmas

12/26/13 in NBA   |   droth   |   127 respect

Christmas basketball is better than Thanksgiving football. There, I said it. Yesterday's slate of games may have looked more enticing before the season started, but it was still awesome. To quote South Park's Kyle Broflovski, "It's hard to be a Jew on Christmas," but NBA basketball softens the blow and makes the holiday season that much more magical.

Heated rivalry games, marquee matchups, and a big stage usually make for great Christmas basketball December 25, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Miami Heat small forward LeBron James (6) dunks to score  a basket against the Los Angeles Lakers during the first half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sportsand, once yesterday's JV games were over, fans got a great show. We saw LeBron's nasty dunks (#1, #2), an energetic D-Wade, a huge 4th quarter for James Harden in a statement road victory over the Spurs, and a clash between the Clippers and Warriors in Oakland that came down to a last second three point attempt to decide the game. 

T'was a great day of hoops that only added to the NBA's Christmas day legacy -- a legacy that includes much more than just the 2004 Shaq-Kobe highlights that ESPN has had on a loop for the last week leading up to yesterday's quintuple-header. The NBA has had games on Christmas for decades and its legacy is rich with tidbits and fun facts that you can use to impress your (easily impressed) friends this holiday season.

-Before yesterday's loss to the Rockets, the San Antonio Spurs had never played a Christmas game at home. The Spurs, who were 4-3 on Christmas before yesterday, held the record for most Christmas games without a home game. Now, Toronto and New Orleans are the league's only two teams that have played on Christmas but have never hosted a Christmas day game. Memphis, Minnesota, and Charlotte have never played a Christmas day game, home or away.

-Yesterday marked another Christmas first in the NBA. Prior to their beat down of the Knicks, the OKC Thunder had never won a road game on Christmas, going 0-10 in the franchise's history dating back to the Seattle era. The Nuggets, at 0-4, now hold the mark for most road games on Christmas without a victory.

-That game also marked the Knicks 49th Christmas game, tops in the NBA. The Lakers rank second on the list with 40 and Detroit comes in third with 32. Not surprisingly, New Orleans and Toronto bring up the rear with one Christmas game a piece (2001-Toronto, 2008-New Orleans).

-Portland leads the NBA in winning percentage on Christmas. Their impressive 14-3 (82.4%) mark is a shade above Miami at 8-2 (80%).

-Surprisingly, Sacramento has played in the same number of Christmas day contests (29) as the Boston Celtics and the Philadelphia 76ers. All three teams are tied for fourth in total Christmas day appearances.
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