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Toronto Raptors

NBA Christmas Day 2019: Toronto Raptors Christmas Day primer

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Nurse, Lowry and the Raptors will tip off a busy day of Christmas action (NBA.com Illustration)

As the defending champions, the Toronto Raptors have earned the privilege of playing on Christmas Day, one of the biggest days on the NBA calendar.

It will mark just the second time in franchise history that the Raptors play on Christmas and the first time that they will do so at home, as they welcome the Boston Celtics to Scotiabank Arena at noon to tip off the day's five-game slate.

Ahead of Toronto's home Christmas debut, here's a primer for everything Raptors on Christmas Day…

Current Raptors on Christmas

Of the 17 players on the Raptors' current roster, just two have played on Christmas Day: Serge Ibaka and Patrick McCaw.

Kyle Lowry is one of three 2019 NBA All-Stars set to make their Christmas Day debut this year.

Essentially, it will be the Christmas debut of the majority of the Raptors' rotation.

Here's how the two Raptors that have played on Christmas fared in the past:

Team G Record PPG RPG APG MPG
Serge Ibaka OKC 6 4-2 11.7 6.2 0.5 29.8
Patrick McCaw GS 2 1-1 4.5 0.5 1.0 12.0

A big debut for Lowry?

As the first game on the schedule, the entire basketball world will be focused on the Raptors and Celtics. While it would have been an opportunity for Pascal Siakam to further establish himself as a household name among NBA fans - particularly those tuning in for the first time - his injury means a brighter spotlight for Kyle Lowry who could leverage a big Christmas Day performance as a springboard for his sixth straight All-Star bid.

In the second game of the 2019-20 season, Lowry turned in a big performance against the Celtics, scoring 29 points (on 11-for-18 shooting including 6-10 from beyond the 3-point line) to go along with six assists and two steals.

These are the types of numbers that will put fans on notice should he put forth a similar performance on Christmas Day.

Have a look back at some other big debuts of some major names…


Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks - 2018

Final: Bucks 109, Knicks 95

Stat line: 30 points, 14 rebounds, 4 steals, 3 assists, 2 blocks

Anthony Davis, Pelicans - 2015

Final: Heat 94, Pelicans 88 (OT)

Stat line: 29 points, 15 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 steals, 3 blocks

LeBron James, Cavaliers - 2003

Final: Magic 113, Cavs 101

Stat line: 34 points, 6 assists, 2 rebounds, 2 steals

Click here for more notable superstar Christmas debuts.


Pascal Siakam could very well put up a comparable stat line on Christmas and in order to beat a strong opponent in Boston, he might just have to.

The Opponent

While Toronto is playing on Christmas for just the second time in franchise history, it will be the 33rd Christmas Day appearance in Boston Celtics franchise history. The Celtics have a losing all-time record on the holiday (14-18) but just last year, earned a seven-point win over the 76ers.

With Boston having played last season, this will just mark the Christmas debut for newcomer Kemba Walker and the team's seven rookies.

The first time Toronto played on Christmas…

Date: Dec. 25, 2001

Score: New York Knicks 102, Toronto Raptors 94

The Knicks hosted the Raptors at Madison Square Garden for one of only two Christmas Day games on the NBA calendar that season. The Knicks entered the game on a four-game home losing streak while the Raptors were riding a three-game winning streak.

New York was led by 34 points from Allan Houston while 22 points from Morris Peterson led the way for Toronto.

All-Star Vince Carter, who averaged 24.7 points over the course of the 2001-02 season, was limited to just 15 points in the loss.

Other statistical leaders for the Raptors were Antonio Davis, who pulled down 11 boards and Alvin Williams, who dished out five assists.

You can read more about that game here .

The views expressed here do not represent those of the NBA or its clubs.

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