Christmas games are for the fans. The NBA is consciously scheduling games that will get the attention of fans on December 25. Teams that parade All-Star players are expected to feature on this special day. James Posey shared what it's like playing for the fans on Christmas for role players like him.
Posey on Christmas Day games
No matter how players try to downplay Christmas games like any other regular games, the magnitude and hype around these events are just on another level. The pressure to perform and deliver during these nationally televised games will always be on the players.
These games are extra special because superstars usually come out and play. There’s a reason why LeBron James or Kobe Bryant lead the stats on Christmas games, both in scoring and times played. Games played on December 25 are the perfect platform to wow the crowd.
James Posey shared his experience in his article for Basketball News. The spotlight is usually on the usual suspects for games like this. In their game against the Lakers in 2005, the attention turned to the Shaq-Kobe showdown, but Posey found himself open for a momentum-turning point in the game.
“With about a minute left in the game, we had the ball, down by one.
D-Wade was in the post looking for his shot, but he drew a double-team. Lo and behold, he looked out on the wing and spotted me. I had a little bit of daylight. He kicked it out to me for a good look at a go-ahead three, but I rushed the shot a little. It caught the front rim, but Shaq got the offensive rebound and found GP behind the arc for a corner three.
He nailed the shot to give him 21 points, but most importantly, redeemed me for missing.”
It’s the first Christmas game Posey featured in, and he will forever remember it. This shows that these special games are also a way for bench or seldom-used players to perform and deliver when their numbers are called. Can you imagine what would have happened had Posey drilled that crucial shot?
Importance of Christmas games for other players
As mentioned, Gary Payton delivered the goods for Miami. In 2005, at 37 years old, he got to show the fans he still had it. Often, Christmas games are for superstars in the league but also, it’s a chance for veterans or role players to step up and maybe secure an extension in the summer or earn more minutes during regular-season games.
In their showdown against the Lakers on Christmas game, Patty Mills scored 34 points, along with eight 3-pointers, a Christmas day record, and had a season-high seven assists. In the absence of Brooklyn’s biggest stars, it was Mills who shined the brightest. We all know Patty is a decent player, but he can also deliver under the brightest lights, as proven by his Christmas game performance.