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Nets-Lakers, Bucks-Celtics highlight NBA's Christmas Day schedule

Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34), shown July 20, 2021, and his team will host Jayson Tatum and the Boston Celtics in the first game of a Christmas Day tripleheader on ABC. File Photo by Tannen Maury/EPA-EFE
Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34), shown July 20, 2021, and his team will host Jayson Tatum and the Boston Celtics in the first game of a Christmas Day tripleheader on ABC. File Photo by Tannen Maury/EPA-EFE

Aug. 17 (UPI) -- A matchup between the reigning NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks and the Boston Celtics and a star-studded showdown between the Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers highlight the NBA's five-game slate on Christmas Day for the 2021-22 season.

The league's Christmas Day schedule -- as well as the national TV games across the opening week of this coming season -- was announced Tuesday on ESPN's The Jump.

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Before the Bucks-Celtics and Nets-Lakers games, superstar guard Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks are set to kick off the Christmas Day festivities with a matchup against Kemba Walker and the New York Knicks at noon EDT on ESPN.

That contest will be followed by Giannis Antetokounmpo and the defending champion Bucks hosting Jayson Tatum and the Celtics at 2:30 p.m. EDT on ABC to begin the network's tripleheader. Shortly after, the Western Conference champion Phoenix Suns will challenge the Golden State Warriors at 5 p.m. EDT.

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The Nets and Lakers will face off at 8 p.m. EDT at Staples Center to round out ABC's tripleheader.

Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks will travel to Utah for a game against the Jazz at 10:30 p.m. EDT on ESPN to complete the Christmas Day schedule.

The 2021-22 NBA season is set to begin Oct. 19 in Milwaukee, when the Bucks will receive their championship rings before hosting the Nets. That matchup will be followed by the Lakers hosting the Warriors in Russell Westbrook's first game in a Lakers uniform.

ESPN's opening slate is set for Oct. 20, beginning with a matchup between the Knicks and Celtics at 7:30 p.m. EDT. That will be followed by the Denver Nuggets traveling to Phoenix to take on the Suns in a rematch of the Western Conference playoffs.

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