Few NBA teams have the level of experience playing in the league’s Christmas Day showcase that the Boston Celtics do.
Boston has appeared in 35 NBA Christmas Day games, going 15-20 dating back to the 1948-49 season.
Boston ranks behind the New York Knicks (54) and L.A. Lakers (48) in terms of games played on Dec. 25. In the Celtics’ nine appearances since 2010, they’ve gone 4-5, including last year’s 117-113 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.
This year, Boston has a rematch against the Bucks at 5 p.m. Eastern time on Christmas Day on ESPN and ABC.
Unfortunately, there will be no legal Massachusetts sports betting in time for the game.
But there should be in time for the NBA playoffs, and the Celtics figure to give an early boost to the state’s wagering market. While no betting lines have been released for the Dec. 25 Bucks-Celtics matchup, the oddsmakers at BetMGM Sportsbook Massachusetts currently have Boston at +350 to win it all.
The Celtics are currently atop Massachusetts sports betting apps championship odds boards, ahead of the Bucks (+450), Golden State and Phoenix (+800 apiece).
Ahead of this year’s Christmas Day contest between Boston and Milwaukee, BetMassachusetts.com looks back at some of the high points in franchise history on Dec. 25.
Last Five Celtics Games on Christmas Day
When sports betting does become legal in the state, come to BetMassachusetts.com for Massachusetts sportsbook promos.
Best of the Celtics on Christmas
To get you in the holiday spirit, here’s a look at three memorable Christmas Day games for Boston.
2019: Celtics Hammer Defending Champion
Christmas Day 2019 was a showdown fit for revenge, as the Celtics looked to get back on track after a second round exit at the hands of the Bucks the year before.
They had a prime opportunity to do just that on Dec. 25 when they ventured across the border to play defending champion Toronto.
They left Toronto leaving no doubt who the better team was, claiming a wire-to-wire 118-102 victory.
All five of Boston’s scorers finished in double figures, while guard Jaylen Brown notched a team-high 30 points.
Boston was knocked out of the 2020 playoffs inside the NBA “bubble” by eventual Eastern Conference champion Miami.
2009: Celtics Claim First Christmas Win Since 1980
It had been 29 years since the Celtics last won on Dec. 25, as they squared off against Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic in 2009.
Boston was the defending champion that year and would go 50-32 under head coach Doc Rivers to reach a second straight NBA Finals in 2010.
On Christmas Night, Boston’s Big Three of Ray Allen, Rajon Rondo, and Kevin Garnett scored 45 points to carry the team to a 86-77 victory.
Perhaps the biggest storyline for Boston that night was the defense, which held Orlando to eight second quarter points and 33.3% shooting for the game.
Ultimately, the Celtics made a return trip to the Finals, which ended in a seven-game defeat to Kobe Bryant and the L.A. Lakers.
1980: Boston’s Road Goes Through New York
Bill Fitch’s bunch would win its first title in five years during the 1980-81 campaign, which ran through the heart of New York City on Christmas Day.
Behind 24 points from Cedric Maxwell and another 20 from Larry Bird, the Celtics rolled up their regional rivals, 117-108 to move to 27-8 for the season.
Boston was able to overcome the scoring prowess of the Knicks’ Ray Williams, Michael Ray Richardson and Bill Cartwright, who combined to score 65 points.
Boston would wrap up the 1980-81 season with a 62-20 record, sweeping Chicago before outlasting Philadelphia and Houston to win its world title.