âI know when our players found out we were having a Christmas game, for a lot of them it was their first time, and they were very excited,â said Hawks coach Nate McMillan. “We hope we can get the guys back into uniforms to play on Christmas Day.”
They could win with whoever they have. There’s no place like home to vacation – except for the Knicks, who are a dismal 6-11 on their home turf.
Even with so many players eventually seated, the NBA still has its top two teams on the schedule. The Suns, in their first Christmas game since 2009, host the Warriors, whose No. 2 and No. 3 scorers (Andrew Wiggins and Jordan Poole) were in the protocols.
All of the top players will be missed, but Dallas coach Jason Kidd has tried to put a positive spin on this depressing news. It’s been 14 years since the NBA returned to five games over the holidays. For much of his playing career that began in 1994, there were only two games, so many players never even had a Christmas game.
Now, some guys who might only be in the league due to COVID-19 absences might end up playing in one.
âIt will also be a special time for them,â Kidd said. âWe can’t take that for granted, because often growing up you could only see two games or one game. They were the Michael Jordans of the world. But now you have five or six games and with COVID there are a lot of guys playing who wouldn’t normally have the chance to play on Christmas. “