NBA

DeMar DeRozan .

DeMar DeRozan expresses frustration at the Raptors not playing on Christmas Day

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A total of 10 teams will be participating in the NBA's traditional Christmas Day schedule on Monday as the league aims to showcase its best teams and players.

The marquee game will see the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers do battle in a Finals rematch at Oracle Arena.

As well as the two heavyweights, the Houston Rockets will take on the Oklahoma City Thunder in another star-studded clash.

One team that hasn't been scheduled to feature, however, is the Toronto Raptors.

In the franchise's 23-year history, they have only played on Christmas once - a 102-94 loss to the New York Knicks in 2001.

The Raps have been one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference for several years and are enjoying another impressive campaign as they occupy the number two spot with a 22-8 record.

Despite this, the league has once again overlooked the men from Canada and it's something that has frustrated star player DeMar DeRozan.

Chicago Bulls v Toronto Raptors

"We've won. We've been one of the best in the league the past few years. To not get that look is definitely crazy. ... There is really no excuse," DeRozan told Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated. "We've proven we are a top team in the league for a reason."

The finals rematch is normally a guaranteed encounter on December 25 but the league's criteria for the rest of the slate is unclear.

But with the New York Knicks taking on the Philadelphia 76ers and Los Angeles Lakers facing off against the Minnesota Timberwolves, recent success doesn't appear to be a factor.

In an email sent to Spears, Tom Carelli, the league's senior vice president, attempted to explain the NBA's approach to scheduling the most popular day in the regular season.

Chicago Bulls v Toronto Raptors

"When we begin the process, we consider all 30 teams," Carelli wrote. "Working with our partners, our goal is to provide fans with compelling matchups based on storylines, rivalries, competitiveness of the teams, star players, and the history of the teams and players competing on Christmas Day.

"At the same time, we also need to factor in broadcast windows, arena availability, schedule requirements, travel, and rest and recuperation."

For DeRozan, it doesn't come as a surprise anymore but he's keen to feature among the best players in the league.

Cleveland Cavaliers v Toronto Raptors - Game Four

“It has gotten to the point where you just sigh and say, ‘Another year …’ That’s crazy. I always wanted to say that I’m playing on Christmas,” DeRozan said.

All he wants for Christmas is to play but unfortunately for him and Toronto, he'll have to sit back and enjoy the five matchups like the rest of us.

Topics:
Toronto Raptors
Atlantic Division
Eastern Conference
NBA
DeMar DeRozan
Kyle Lowry

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