Last year, when it was announced that the Knicks would be getting a game on Christmas day for the second straight year, some fans were unhappy with the decision, citing the team’s disappointing campaign the season prior. Well, after a strong and impressive 22-23 season, the Knicks have been rewarded with another Christmas day game. Per Sham Charania of The Athletic, New York is a part of the league’s five game Christmas Day slate as they host Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks. And while the times of the games have yet to be released, it’s being widely speculated that the Knicks, as they usually do, will get the first game of the day.
Now, these two teams facing off on what many consider the most premier day of the regular season does seem a bit strange as the league often likes to promote big rivalries and matchups within divisions. Take this year’s slate for example. Philadelphia playing against Miami makes sense given Jimmy Butler’s history with the Sixers. The Celtics and the Lakers remains one of the most historic rivalries in all of sports. And the Mavericks and Suns have quickly become an incredibly fun and hate-filled rivalry over the last few years and getting to see Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving go up against Devin Booker and Kevin Durant respectively, should be quite the show. Pitting the Knicks up against a team like the Nets, Hawks, Heat, or Cavaliers all would’ve made way more sense as far as hype and storylines go.
That being said, the Bucks, led by the aforementioned Antetokounmpo, heading to New York on Christmas Day should still make for some big headlines. And making things a bit more interesting, is the fact that these two teams, both of whom have big aspirations going into the season, had a chance to meet in the playoffs last season had the Heat not upset the Bucks in the first round. Obviously, we can’t tell for sure what will go down in the first couple months of the season, and New York did struggle mightily against Milwaukee going 0-3 against them last season, but this could still end up being a fun matchup between two teams competing for a top four seed in the eastern conference.