For Utah Jazz fans throughout the world, the best part of Christmas may not come in the morning unwrapping presents left under the tree by Santa Claus. Instead, it may come later that night.
For the first time since the 2018 season, Utah will be playing on the NBA’s most hallowed day when the Jazz host Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks. Tipoff for the nightcap is set for 8:30 p.m. MST and will be broadcast on ESPN.
Led by the all-star trio of Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert and Mike Conley, and the additions of Rudy Gay and Hassan Whiteside, the matchup with the Mavericks could be a pre-playoff showdown.
Ever since the organization moved to Salt Lake City following the 1978-79 season, Utah has gone 4-1 in Christmas Day games. Prior to the 2018 game, the Jazz last played on Dec. 25 in 1997 — the heyday of the John Stockton/Karl Malone era.
Four seasons ago, the Jazz took down Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers for a 117-96 victory. Mitchell led eight Utah players in double figures with 19 points while Gobert added a double-double of 18 points, 14 rebounds and seven blocks.
The Utah-Dallas game will be the last of five games played on Christmas.
The day starts with a rematch of the exciting 2021 playoff series between Atlanta and New York, followed by Boston taking on the defending champions in Milwaukee. Steph Curry and Golden State will then face Devin Booker, Chris Paul and the Phoenix Suns before LeBron James meets Kevin Durant when the Los Angeles Lakers host the Brooklyn Nets.
The game between Utah and Dallas will be the first of four meetings on the season, with the final three contests all coming in the second half of the year. The game will also be a rematch of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics bronze medal game when Joe Ingles (Utah) and Australia defeated Doncic (Dallas) and Slovenia.
CHRISTMAS DAY SCHEDULE
New York Knicks vs. Atlanta Hawks — 10 a.m. MST on ESPN
Milwaukee Bucks vs. Boston Celtics — 12:30 p.m. MST on ABC
Phoenix Suns vs. Golden State Warriors — 3 p.m. MST on ABC
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Brooklyn Nets — 6 p.m. MST on ABC
Utah Jazz vs. Dallas Mavericks — 8:30 p.m. MST on ESPN