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Bucks to end NBA’s longest Christmas-game drought

Boston Celtics v Milwaukee Bucks - Game Three

MILWAUKEE, WI - APRIL 20: Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks walks to the sideline prior to the opening tip against the Boston Celtics of game three of round one of the Eastern Conference playoffs at the Bradley Center on April 20, 2018 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

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Giannis Antetokounmpo is emerging as a superstar on and off the court. He finished sixth and MVP voting and second – between LeBron James and Stephen Curry – in All-Star voting last season. And he’s just 24.

The latest sign of Antetokounmpo’s rise: He got the Milwaukee Bucks a game on Christmas, the NBA’s premier regular-season date.

The Bucks will visit the Knicks on Dec. 25 in a telling matchup. New York got the game because of its huge market. Milwaukee, which hasn’t won a playoff series in 18 years, needed a generational star like Antetokounmpo.

This will be the Bucks’ first Christmas game in 41 years, breaking the NBA’s longest such drought.

The Hawks haven’t played on Christmas since 1989. Charlotte – which debuted as an expansion team the year prior – has never played on Christmas, but the franchise’s history has a gap when the original Hornets moved to New Orleans and became the Pelicans (before Charlotte reemerged as the Bobcats). The Grizzlies, who debuted as an expansion team in 1995, have also never played on Christmas.

Here’s when each current NBA franchise last played on Christmas: