Report: Raptors pushed hard for Christmas game

The Toronto Raptors pushed hard for a Christmas Day game this season, but their efforts were rebuffed by the league, according to a report from Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca.

The Raptors’ Christmas-game drought will now extend to 17 years, as the last time Toronto played on Christmas was in 2001.

With the Milwaukee Bucks playing this year, Toronto’s Christmas-game drought is topped by just the Atlanta Hawks (1989), Charlotte Hornets (never played) and Memphis Grizzlies (never played).

The Raptors were the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference in 2017-18 and acquired star small forward Kawhi Leonard from the San Antonio Spurs this offseason. But in a league that draws so much revenue based on American TV viewership, it’s hard to justify highlighting a Canadian team on a national holiday.

The New York Knicks, who will likely be without Kristaps Porzingis in their Christmas-day matchup against the Bucks, have the New York market and the allure of Madison Square Garden working in their favor.

Nevertheless, many have questioned why the Knicks are playing on Christmas since they will probably have a poor record by the time Christmas rolls around.

Besides the Bucks versus the Knicks, the other games on Christmas will be the Oklahoma City Thunder at the Houston Rockets, the Philadelphia 76ers at the Boston Celtics, the Los Angeles Lakers at the Golden State Warriors and the Portland Trail Blazers at the Utah Jazz.