Merry Christmas, Toronto Raptors fans.
For only the second time in team history, the defending NBA champions will be playing on December 25th, hosting the Boston Celtics, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
One of the league's showcase dates, many Raptors fans have long seen a lack of Christmas game as a sign of disrespect towards the team. Their 2001 Christmas Day game against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden was the only previous time the team played on December 25th.
“Obviously that’s a huge platform and stage, but we don’t control that," guard Fred VanVleet told Postmedia last December. I don’t think the mark of being a great team is playing on Christmas. I don’t think that’s any indication. It’s probably a business move and a chess move (by the NBA’s big thinkers), but we know we’re one of the top teams in the league and don’t care about that.”
Along with the Atlantic Division battle, the Los Angeles Lakers will host the Los Angeles Clippers, while the New Orleans Pelicans will visit the Denver Nuggets and Golden State Warriors will welcome the Houston Rockets.