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Power ranking the 5 NBA Christmas Day games

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The NFL has Thanksgiving. College football has New Year's Day. Baseball has Memorial Day and the Fourth of July.

And now, in recent years, the NBA has taken over Christmas Day, putting together ever-more impressive slates of games on the special holiday.

This year, there are five Christmas matchups, and each of them have plenty of interesting storylines and star players.

From a rematch of the last three NBA Finals to a budding Eastern Conference rivalry to a matchup of last year's top-two MVP vote-getters, there will be a lot for NBA fans to take in on Monday.

However, not all games are created equal, so while all the games are entertaining, some are more exciting than others.

Here's a breakdown of how each of the five games stack up heading into Christmas Day:

Boston Celtics v New York Knicks

5. Philadelphia 76ers at New York Knicks

This matchup isn't without intrigue, as it will provide the opportunity to see star big men Kristaps Porzingis and Joel Embiid go head-to-head.

Both stars are often injured, but they'll be healthy on Christmas Day, which will provide fans with a great kickoff to the day's slate of five games.

However, even though the Knicks currently hold the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference playoff race, this game likely won't have any major playoff implications, so it checks in at No. 5 on the list.

Minnesota Timberwolves v Dallas Mavericks

4. Minnesota Timberwolves at Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers and Timberwolves both made big improvements this offseason, with Los Angeles drafting Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma and Minnesota trading for star forward Jimmy Butler on the night of the NBA Draft.

The moves have already paid dividends for both teams, though the Timberwolves have had the bigger rise in the standings.

Currently, the Wolves are 20-13 and in fourth place in the Western Conference. However, Christmas night at the Staples Center is sure to be an electric atmosphere, so it'll be interesting to see if Minnesota can keep its hot start going.

Houston Rockets v Oklahoma City Thunder - Game Three

3. Houston Rockets at Oklahoma City Thunder

Last year, Russell Westbrook won the NBA's MVP award, but James Harden's Rockets got the last laugh, eliminating the Thunder from the playoffs in the first round.

This year, Harden is the clear MVP favorite and the Rockets have the NBA's best record at 25-6. Meanwhile, Westbrook and the Thunder, who added Paul George and Carmelo Anthony this offseason, have struggled.

When the two teams play on Christmas Day, they'll each be trying to prove they're the West's top contender to the Golden State Warriors' throne.

Boston Celtics v Indiana Pacers

2. Washington Wizards at Boston Celtics

These two teams developed an intense rivalry last season, but now two of the main parts of it - Boston's Isaiah Thomas and Avery Bradley - are gone.

Still, in this matchup between two of the Eastern Conference's best squads, anything can happen and things are sure to get physical.

However, what makes this matchup perhaps most exciting is that we get to see star point guards Kyrie Irving and John Wall go head to head. Whoever has the best game will likely see their team emerge victorious from this great showdown.

2017 NBA Finals - Game Five

1. Cleveland Cavaliers at Golden State Warriors

Even without Steph Curry in the lineup, this game is easily the best matchup of the day, as the teams that have played in the last three NBA Finals meet up once again.

The matchup everyone will be excited to see is Golden State forward Kevin Durant against Cleveland's LeBron James. Durant went off in the Finals last year and won the NBA Finals MVP award for his efforts.

With Curry out, Durant will have to do even more on Christmas Day in order to help the Warriors keep pace with the Houston Rockets in the Western Conference.

Topics:
Washington Wizards
Southeast Division
Eastern Conference
NBA
Boston Celtics
Atlantic Division
New York Knicks
Houston Rockets
Southwest Division
Western Conference

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