NBA Christmas Day Games 2021: What to Know

The N.B.A. has long looked to Christmas Day as a highlight of the young season, a made-for-TV spectacle that brings together many of the best teams and best players for a daylong extravaganza of basketball fireworks.

This year? Not exactly.

Dozens of players have been cycling through the N.B.A.’s coronavirus health and safety protocols in recent days, forcing teams to improvise by signing scores of replacement players to 10-day contracts. So if you’re expecting to see Giannis Antetokounmpo lead the Milwaukee Bucks into their game against the Boston Celtics on Saturday, you might be disappointed: As of Friday morning, Antetokounmpo remained in the protocols after having already missed five games. But fans should be able to catch the surprise return of Joe Johnson, whom the Celtics…

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