For the fourth consecutive year, the Golden State Warriors will take on LeBron James on Christmas Day, although this time his uniform will be different.
The Warriors will host James’ new team, the Los Angeles Lakers, as part of a five-game lineup Dec. 25, according to three people with knowledge of the schedule who were not authorized to discuss it publicly.
Also on the card, the people said, will be Boston Celtics-Philadelphia 76ers and Milwaukee Bucks-New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden.
The NBA was expected to announce the lineup officially Wednesday afternoon.
The remaining two games, ESPN reported, will be Portland at Utah and Oklahoma City at Houston.
The Warriors-Lakers game has the potential to be one of the most anticipated in recent years, taking the James-Warriors rivalry and adding the Lakers’ storied tradition. The Lakers have played on Christmas every year this century, even in the past few seasons, when they have been far from an elite team. Nearly everyone expects them to improve now that James is on the team.
The Warriors defeated James and the Cleveland Cavaliers on Christmas in 2015 and 2017, while the Cavs won in 2016. Those teams also met in the NBA finals the past four seasons, with the Warriors winning three titles.
The Sixers-Celtics game conjures memories of their great rivalries of the ‘70s and ‘80s. It also could be a battle of the two best teams in the East, although Toronto would dispute that.
The Knicks have played more Christmas Day games than any other team, including a loss to the Sixers last year. They continue to be regulars despite recent struggles.
The NBA Christmas tradition dates to the 1940s.