June 12, 2019
If basketball has become as synonymous with Christmas Day in your household as candy canes and gift wrap, we have some good news.
The Sixers are reportedly expected to play a home game on Christmas Day as part of ESPN and ABC's holiday slate for a third straight year, according to a report Wednesday from WIP:
Per source: Sixers. Christmas. Wells Fargo Center.— Jon Johnson (@jonjohnsonwip) June 12, 2019
The NBA likes to pencil in its premier teams for Christmas Day games as major draws, so it's not a surprise that the Sixers are running it back once again.
Last year, the Sixers lost to the Celtics by seven in overtime, a post-Jimmy Butler trade, pre-Tobias Harris trade matchup against their fiercest rivals in which Joel Embiid scored 34 points and grabbed 16 rebounds, but Kyrie Irving scored 40 points to lead Boston to a win. The Sixers were the 5:30 p.m. game last year.
In 2017, a precocious Sixers team still finding its footing as an elite threat in the Eastern Conference beat the Knicks by seven in the noon Christmas Day game. Embiid scored an on-theme 25 points, and grabbed 16 rebounds.
This year, unlike the last two, the Sixers will reportedly play host for Christmas Day rather than hitting the road.
Who the Sixers might play, and when they might tipoff, remains unclear at the moment. It feels safe to say they'll be later in the day rather than earlier, considering their newfound contender status, though free agency decisions could tip the scales one way or the other.
It also would be worth placing a bet on the margin of victory being seven points, if recent history is any predictor.