The NBA's Christmas Day schedule is reserved for the star players and the best teams. LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers. Giannis Antetokounmpo (and Damian Lillard) and the Milwaukee Bucks. Jayson Tatum and the Boston Celtics. Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors.
This year, that does not include Anfernee Simons, Jerami Grant and the Portland Trail Blazers.
In fact, it's been awhile since the Blazers have had a spot on the Christmas Day slate.
When's the last time the Portland Trail Blazers were on the NBA's Christmas Day schedule?
The last time Portland got a national audience on Dec. 25 was in 2018. The other games that day featured Antetokounmpo's Bucks at Kristaps Porzingis' Knicks and LeBron's first time facing the Warriors as a member of the Lakers.
The Blazers visited the Utah Jazz in the last game of the night.
Blast from the past: Blazers starters vs. Jazz on Christmas Day 2018
Until this season, Lillard had been a mainstay in the Portland starting lineup - and likely the main draw for the NBA on Christmas five years ago. He was joined by some familiar names, but a few others should resurface in the minds of Blazers fans for the first time in a while.
The Blazers starters on Christmas Day 2018:
- PG: Damian Lillard
- SG: CJ McCollum
- SF: Maurice Harkless
- PF: Al-Farouq Aminu
- C: Jusuf Nurkic
Dame scored a game-high 20 points in a 117-96 loss. Evan Turner was the Blazers' second-leading scorer with 12 points. McCollum and Aminu had 11, and Zach Collins finished with 10.
Dante Exum, Kyle Korver and Jae Crowder played big roles off the bench for the Jazz, supplementing Donovan Mitchell's 19 points and Rudy Gobert's 18-point, 14-rebound, 7-block performance.
Some fun names for fans to remember. Not a fun game to recall.
2023 NBA Christmas Day schedule
The league is back at it today with five games that don't feature the Blazers but still hold plenty of intrigue and star power for fans.
- Milwaukee Bucks vs. New York Knicks: Noon ET, 9 a.m. PT
- Golden State Warriors vs. Denver Nuggets: 2:30 p.m. ET, 11:30 a.m. PT
- Boston Celtics vs. Los Angeles Lakers: 5 p.m. ET, 2 p.m. PT
- Philadelphia 76ers vs. Miami Heat: 8 p.m. ET, 5 p.m. PT
- Dallas Mavericks at Phoenix Suns: 10:30 p.m. ET, 7:30 p.m. PT