The Memphis Grizzlies line up to be part of the NBA series for the first time on Christmas Day.
Yes Morant and the Grizzlies will take on Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and the rest of the reigning NBA champions Golden State Warriors on Dec. 25 in San Francisco, a source familiar with the league’s planning plans told The Associated Press.
The Grizzlies were one of two current NBA franchises to have one more game on December 25. The Charlotte Hornets are now the only club still waiting for their first invitation to the Christmas schedule.
The rest of the Christmas schedule will have Philadelphia against New York, Milwaukee against Boston, the Los Angeles Lakers against Dallas and Phoenix against two-time reigning MVP Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets.
The Athletic was the first to report on the full lineup of games on Christmas Day. The NBA is expected to release the full season schedule later this week. The season starts on October 18. The training camps open at the end of September.
If the Lakers’ LeBron James—the all-time Christmas scoring leader who enters the season 1,325 points behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the most in NBA history—appears in that December 25 game against the Mavericks, his 17th time playing on the holiday. That would break a tie with Lakers great Kobe Bryant for most ever.
Golden State and Memphis met in the second round of last season’s playoffs, as did Milwaukee and Boston.
This will be the fifth consecutive year that Christmas – again, barring a late change – will not include an NBA Finals rematch. Golden State topped Boston for the championship last season; there has been no Finals rematch on December 25 since the Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers played in the 2017-18 season, en route to a fourth consecutive meeting in the title series.
Noticeably absent from the Christmas schedule: Kevin Durant and the Brooklyn Nets. Durant told the Nets in June that he wants to trade elsewhere, and reiterated that request earlier this month.
Dallas will host a Christmas play for the second time. The first was in 2011, after the Mavericks topped the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals last season. James and the Heat ruined that season opener for the Mavericks, winning 105-94.
The Lakers will be playing Christmas for the 24th consecutive year, by far the longest stretch in the league. Golden State will make its 10th consecutive Christmas appearance, Boston its seventh in a row and Milwaukee its fifth consecutive Christmas on December 25.
New York plays at Christmas for the 55th time, extending its record.
Of the eight teams that made it to the conference semifinals last season, seven are on the Christmas schedule this year. The exception is Miami, the No. 1 seed in the East last season, who fell to Boston in seven games in the Eastern Conference final.
With Memphis now getting a December 25 game, the longest Christmas droughts alongside Charlotte’s belong to Sacramento (last Christmas game in 2003), Indiana (2004), Detroit (2005) and Orlando (2011).
This report uses information from The Associated Press.