Toronto Raptors

Report: Celtics-Raptors among five 2019 NBA Christmas Day matchups

Report: Celtics-Raptors among five 2019 NBA Christmas Day matchups

There’s still five months until Christmas but the NBA just put a lump of coal in our stockings. 

The Celtics will not get a visit from Kyrie Irving on Christmas Day, as many had hoped, and Boston will instead travel to Toronto to play the now Kawhi Leonard-less world champs, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski

Here's the full five-game Christmas slate, according to reports from Wojnarowski and ESPN colleagues Malika Andrews and Tim MacMahon:

- Celtics at Raptors
- Milwaukee Bucks at Philadelphia 76ers
- Houston Rockets at Golden State Warriors
- New Orleans Pelicans at Denver Nuggets
- Los Angeles Clippers at L.A. Lakers

The NBA’s full schedule is expected to be released later this month and Boston’s first game against Irving will top most must-watch lists, though The Athletic's Shams Charania reports Irving's Nets will visit the Garden on November 27. 

A Christmas game hammers home Boston’s position as one of the marquee teams in the East — one of only four East teams playing that day — but a matchup with Toronto won’t move the needle much here. Even matchups with other East rivals like Philadelphia and Milwaukee would have generated more buzz. 

Celtics-Raptors obviously will look a lot different than last season, as Kawhi Leonard took his talents to the Los Angeles Clippers while Boston lost Kyrie Irving, Al Horford, Marcus Morris, Terry Rozier and Aron Baynes to free agency and trades.

This will mark the fourth consecutive year the Celtics have played on Christmas; they defeated the Sixers in overtime on Christmas Day last year.

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NBA Power Rankings - post-free agency edition

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File photos

NBA Power Rankings - post-free agency edition

Now, that the free agency dust has, for the most part, settled, it's time to take stock of the NBA.

Have the Los Angeles Clippers actually vaulted ahead of their cross-town rivals with their acquisition of Kawhi Leonard and trade for Paul George?

What about the East? Are the Philadelphia 76ers now the team to beat after poaching Al Horford from the Celtics? Where did Kyrie Irving's relocation to Brooklyn move the Nets in the NBA hierarchy?  Will the reboot in Boston with Kemba and the Kids move the needle for the Celtics?

 

Clippers transform into a favorite after Kawhi Leonard, Paul George double dip

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USA TODAY Sports photo

Clippers transform into a favorite after Kawhi Leonard, Paul George double dip

An earthquake stopped the NBA’s summer league on Friday night, but that will be a footnote compared to the seismic shift that shook the league a few hours later.

Kawhi Leonard is headed to the L.A. Clippers and so is Paul George. The Clippers reportedly are signing Leonard to a four-year, $141 million deal and netting George in a monster trade. The Clippers reportedly will send Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Danilo Gallinari to the Oklahoma City Thunder along with a historic boatload of picks, including four unprotected first-rounders, a protected first-round pick and two pick swaps.