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2nd Annual Christmas for Sports Fans


Do you need a few moments of escape from the family and friends at your Christmas Day gathering? Are you alone without something to distract you from the fact that Christmas is pretty boring without other people? Is the talk of politics and what you are doing with your life getting to be too much? Or are you just looking for something to keep you entertained throughout the holiday?

 

Regardless of your reason, watching sports on this year’s version of the 2016 winter holiday can seem compelling.

 

This is your 2nd annual Christmas TV sports fan listings, where you can look to see exactly when and how to stream all the sports you could ever want on December 25. All games are listed by Eastern Time, so plan your schedule accordingly based on your own time zone.

 

NBA:

 

For years, the NBA has ruled Christmas day, with great matchups and coverage throughout the entire day, covering five different games.

 

Coverage begins at 9:30 a.m. East 8:30 central on ESPN, where the NBA Countdown crew will begin to tell about all the games scheduled for the day and what to watch for.

 

The first game begins a half hour later on ESPN, when the Boston Celtics head to Manhattan to face the New York Knicks from 10-12:30 Eastern time.

 

Both teams are currently in the playoff hunt in the Eastern Conference, and there is a history of spectacular games at Madison Square Garden.

 

Such current and former stars as Carmelo Anthony, Isaiah Thomas, Joakim Noah, Al Horford, Derrick Rose, and Kristaps Porzingis will be on display, in the first game of the day. These teams have a lot of talent that can score a lot, so prepare for a fun, intense game.

 

The second game is the one many national basketball fans are looking forward to the most, when the Golden State Warriors face the Cleveland Cavaliers in Ohio on ABC. Coverage for that game begins at 12:30 p.m. and goes to 3:00 p.m.

 

A rematch of the 2015 and 2016 NBA Finals, which were split amongst the two teams, these two squads will be playing for the first time this season, and are currently sitting again at the top of their respective conferences.

 

This will be the first time Kevin Durant, the newest All-Star on the Warriors, will get a chance to play LeBron James, and the rest of the Cavaliers, as a member of his new team.

 

Other top players such as 2-time MVP Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, and other tremendous role players will be competing, and there should be a playoff-like atmosphere at this one. Fans can expect a tight game.

 

Right after that game, still on ABC from 3:00-5:30 p.m., the Chicago Bulls travel to San Antonio to take on the Spurs. It will be the first time the two have played since the retirement of Tim Duncan, and the Bulls, who look like a playoff-bound squad currently, will have to have their top players Jimmy Butler, Rajon Rondo, and Dwyane Wade play at their best in order to beat the Spurs with Kawhii Leonard, Pau Gasol, and LaMarcus Aldridge.

 

The Spurs are, again, one of the top teams in the Western Conference, looking to overthrow the Warriors, and need to compete hard in every game to keep pace. These two teams get only two chances a year to play each other, so expect some crazy things to happen, and a hard-fought game by both sides, with a lot of older super-stars on both rosters.

 

Getting into the late afternoon, and switching back over to ESPN, the Minnesota Timberwolves play at the Oklahoma City Thunder, who have, in essence, become the Russell Westbrook show. He is putting up triple-doubles, (over ten points, rebounds, and assists) in so many games this season that it is not even that special when he does it anymore. He is dragging this team to playoff contention by pure will.

 

This is a division-game, where the Timberwolves need to win to try and turn around their season that has been relatively ugly thus far. Hopeful future All-Stars Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns will need to play at their best to beat this team, who were just a game from the NBA Finals last year.

 

The Wolves rookie, Kris Dunn, will get a chance against Westbrook and the other guards of OKC who will prove a tough test at the PG position.

 

The last NBA game of the day, from 8:30-11:00 p.m., still on ESPN, will have the two Los Angeles teams play each other when the Clippers technically play an away game against the Lakers, who are a surprisingly competent team.

 

Kobe Bryant had become a fixture on TV screens on Christmas, but this will be the first year he is not in the game for the Lakers, who are relying on a ton of young, drafted talent to lead their team, which has had an easier time scoring the ball than many fans, at least this far, thought they would.

 

The Clippers are currently third in the Western Conference, and like the Spurs, need every win they can to keep up the pace with the Warriors for the top playoff spot. All-Stars DeAndre Jordan, Chris Paul, and Blake Griffin need to handle their business to prove their superiority in the L.A. area.
 

 

College Basketball:

 

For those fans who get tired of the NBA game, or just want to watch college basketball, the Honolulu Diamondhead Classic will be playing their last games of the tournament from Hawaii to determine the overall place of each team on Christmas day.

 

Fans who are in cold areas dreaming of the beach can take a moment to be just a little bit jealous of the college basketball players who get to spend their holiday presumably in the sand before the game.

 

There will be games on the ESPN networks from 10:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., covering four full games total.

 

The third-place game will be from 4:00-6:30 p.m. and the final game to determine the winner of the tournament will be from 6:00-8:30 p.m. on ESPN 2.

 

Some notable teams in the bracket include Stephen F. Austin, San Diego State, Utah, and Hawaii, all of whom are seen relatively often in the NCAA March Madness tournament.

 

It’s always exciting to watch how a team plays in these pressure situations, with a trophy on the line.

 

NFL:

 

It is an unusual treat to get to see live NFL games on the day dominated by the NBA. This year,  NBC begins their Football Night in America at 5:00 p.m., and the game between the Denver Broncos and the Kansas City Chiefs begins at 6:20 p.m.

 

Not only is it a great thing to have live football, these two teams will both be in playoff contention, and the results of this game will have significant impact on the outcome of playoff seeding in the AFC so late in the season.

 

Both teams are structured pretty similarly, with solid defenses leading the way, and offenses that run the ball a lot in order to set up the pass, and not the other way around.

 

Division games in the AFC West have been spectacular so far, and these two teams almost always have fun games to watch, so for those families or individuals who do not care about basketball as much, this will be a welcome refresher.

 

 

 

NCAA Football:

 

There are no live college football games on Christmas, but ESPN will be hosting a replay of December 24ths Hawaii Bowl, where Middle Tennessee will play the University of Hawaii in Honolulu.

 

Again, we can pretend to be warm, watching this game inside while they enjoy Hawaii’s weather. For those who are willing to wake up early enough, this game will be streamed from 2:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m.

 

Expect a ton of points in this game, as Middle Tennessee scores over 40 points a game, leading them to an 8-4 record, while Hawaii is mostly the benefactors of their location, with a 6-7 record and a defense that allows 51 points a game. If you are looking for touchdowns to brighten your Christmas day up, this is the game to watch.

 

 

 

Baseball:

 

For fans of the Chicago Cubs, Christmas came early this year (sorry it’s a bit cheesy), when they defeated the Cleveland Indians in one of the most compelling world series matchups there has been in a while, breaking the 108-year drought they had faced.

 

From 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., FS1 will replay highlights from the epic series. For baseball fans who yearn for summer again, this can serve as a welcome escape from a cold winter, and Cubs fans can have another smile at the moments that have changed the way many people look at the future of the MLB.

 

 

 

Golf:

 

In the winter in the United States, there are not live professional golf tournaments going on, but FS1 has it’s USGA Year in Review scheduled from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., which will highlight the accomplishments of golfers this year.

 

The major tournament winners from 2016 will be congratulated, along with some of their best rounds and shots, and fans will get a chance to look back on some of the drama they got a chance to witness throughout the year.

 

 

 

World’s Toughest Mudder:

 

CBS, from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m., will be streaming highlights from the World’s Toughest Mudder. It is a longer, more challenging, version of the Tough Mudder Race that has been touring the country for the last few years in order to gain money for the Wounded Warrior Project.

 

Those who have participated, want to donate, or just want to watch incredible athletes perform feats of strength and endurance can get a chance to view the events from when the happened in Las Vegas.

 

Though maybe just an advertisement to get people to attend future events, the obstacles look like a lot of fun to watch people go over.

 

 

 

Hopefully you will be able to find some solace and enjoyment in sports on your holiday, and Merry Christmas.

Eric Newman

Eric Newman

Eric has been writing with Sports Grumble since August 2015. He is studying at Arizona State University, pursuing a Master's Degree in Sports Journalism at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Eric aspires to be a full-time sports reporter and possibly make his way into radio or television broadcasting.
Eric Newman

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