NBA Christmas Day: Embiid, Dončić, Jokić highlight holiday slate

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The holidays are here, and five must-see matchups are on the NBA slate, and our panel of reporters is watching every second!

Follow Christmas Day as Yaron Weitzman, Ric Bucher and Melissa Rohlin share their top takeaways from each primetime contest.

In the meantime, get ready for all of Sunday’s action below:

Philadelphia 76ers @ New York Knicks

Philadelphia 76ers


New York Knicks


Current situation: The Sixers are 19-12, good enough for fifth in the East. They are currently on a seven game winning streak. The Knicks are sixth in the East at 18-15, and have won eight of their last 10.

Key Statistics: Joel Embiid asserts himself as the best player in the game. He leads the league in scoring (33.0 PPG) and had 53 in a win over Charlotte on Dec. 11. On Friday, he scored 44 in a win over the LA Clippers.

Main meal: Still to come!

Los Angeles Lakers @ Dallas Mavericks

Los Angeles Lakers


Dallas Mavericks


Current situation: Both LA and Dallas have underwhelmed this season. The Lakers are 13-19 and have lost three straight. They are 13th in the West and in danger of missing the playoffs for the second straight season. The Mavs are eighth in the West at 17-16, and have gone 5-5 in their last 10.

Key Statistics: Luka Dončić is everything for Dallas. He leads the team in points (32.8), rebounds (8.3), assists (8.7), steals (1.7), field goals (22.5) and free throws (10.2). This season, in games where Dončić doesn’t play or scores 30 or fewer points, the Mavs are 3-10. They are 14-6 when Dončić scores 31 or more, and 5-1 when he scores 40 or more.

Main meal: Still to come!

Milwaukee Bucks @ Boston Celtics

Milwaukee Bucks


Boston Celtics


Current situation: The Celtics and Bucks are arguably the two best teams in the league. Boston is first in the East at 23-10, despite losing five of its last seven. Milwaukee is 22-10, though has lost four of its last seven. One will make a statement on Sunday.

Key Statistics: The Bucks are still trying to return All-Star forward Khris Middleton, after he missed the first 20 games of the season while recovering from wrist surgery. In the seven games he has played this season, Milwaukee is 4-3, and Middleton is averaging 11.1 points on 32.5 percent shooting.

Main meal: Still to come!

Memphis Grizzlies @ Golden State Warriors

Memphis Grizzlies


Golden State Warriors


Current situation: Memphis and Golden State are headed in two different directions. The Grizz are second in the West at 20-11, but have the same record as the best team in the conference (Denver). They have also won eight of their last 10. The Warriors are 11th in the West at 15-18, and have lost seven of their last nine.

Key Statistics: Since Steph Curry went down with a shoulder injury, the Warriors are 1-3. And while they had a 16-point win at Toronto on Dec. 18, their three losses since Curry’s injury have been by an average of 26.7 points.

Main meal: Still to come!

Phoenix Suns @ Denver Nuggets

Phoenix Suns


Denver Nuggets


Current situation: Denver is in the conversation for the best team in the league, sitting atop the West at 20-11 and having won six of its last seven. Phoenix, the best team in the West a year ago, is fourth in the conference at 19-14 but has won just three of its last 10 games.

Key Statistics: Reigning MVP Nikola Jokić is improving. He averages 24.9 points, 10.9 rebounds and is third in the NBA in assists, with 9.3. He is the only non-point guard in the top 10 in assists and the only center in the top 37 (Embiid is 38th with 4.6 assists per game). Jokić is also tied for first in the league in triple-doubles (six) and double-doubles (22) this season.

Main meal: Still to come!

Yaron Weitzman is an NBA writer for FOX Sports. He is the author of “Tanking to the top: the Philadelphia 76ers and the boldest process in the history of professional sports.” Follow him on Twitter @YaronWeitzman.

Ric Bucher is an NBA writer for FOX Sports. He previously wrote for Bleacher Report, ESPN The Magazine and The Washington Post and has written two books, “Rebound,” about NBA forward Brian Grant’s battle with young-onset Parkinson’s, and “Yao: A Life In Two Worlds”. He also has a daily podcast, “On The Ball with Ric Bucher.” Follow him on Twitter @Rick Bucher.

Melissa Rohlin is an NBA writer for FOX Sports. He previously covered the league for Sports Illustrated, the Los Angeles Times, the Bay Area News Group and the San Antonio Express-News. Follow her on Twitter @melissarohlin.

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