NBA has plenty of gifts for Christmas
By: Corby Yarbrough | 12/24/10, 4:11 PM EST
Those that are in the military, work for police departments, fire departments, hospitals, hotels, drive a truck, or those in retail, among others, all have to work on Christmas Day.
People work on Christmas Day. Always have, always will.
And the NBA is no stranger to working on Christmas Day. Of course those involved continually complain about it, but the NBA was playing on Christmas Day a long, long, long time before anyone voicing their complaints was involved with the league.
The NBA might soon contract some teams from its league, but contracting Christmas Day games is not going to happen. In fact, when the NBA began playing on Christmas Day in 1947 it started with a triple-header.
It has now ballooned to a five-game, all-day television affair beginning at noon on the East. Plenty of DVRs will be set for all five.
Outside of this season, Christmas Day usually marked, for the casual fan, when the NBA season truly began.
The college bowls haven't really geared up to full force, most college basketball teams are on breaks or are playing less than stellar competition and the NFL hits its second-to-last week of the season.
This is about the point of the NBA season where every team has played 30 games so you know what your team is going to look like pre-trade deadline — unless you're the Orlando Magic and you've already blown your roster up.
But the NBA has already had plenty of storylines to keep even the casual fan interested leading up to the Christmas Day games, the point where they might normally begin paying attention.
From the Big Three in Miami, the Lakers going for the three-peat, the number of double-digit game winning streaks teams have had or the resurgence of the New York Knicks, the NBA has really been in the forefront of the sports landscape this year more than most.
So a five-game TV event on Christmas Day can do nothing more than enhance the product.
And the league is striking it rather rich with four of the five games.
The Knicks played in the first-ever Christmas Day game and this year at noon (ESPN) they will play in their 46th — more than any other team in the league. They take on a Chicago Bulls team that features superstars like Derrick Rose and Carlos Boozer.
Boston travels to Orlando in the second game (ABC) riding a league-best 14-game winning streak. The Magic and their new trio of players — Gilbert Arenas, Hedo Turkoglu and Jason Richardson — are coming off a dismantling of San Antonio, the team with the league's best record (25-4).
The game everyone waited for once the Big Three of LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade signed in Miami this summer has been the Heat-Lakers clash (ABC). Both teams have struggled at times this year, but it should be an intense affair as this is one of only two regular-season meetings.
Denver travels to Oklahoma City (ESPN) for the prime time game, and if you like scoring this should suit you well. Both teams score over 106 a game and allow over 104.
Finally, the nightcap is Portland at Golden State (ESPN). It's not the greatest of games, but like the Nuggets-Thunder game, both can score and neither can defend.
So from the time you unwrap that last present — or first if your family is like mine and Christmas morning has turned more into Christmas mid-afternoon — to the time you settle in for that long winter's nap, you can be sure that you will be caught up on all that has happened in the NBA for the first two months of the season and geared up for the run to the All-Star break.
Of course by the All-Star break you will have to reacquaint yourself with the Association as its teams have quite the tendency to re-gift a lot of its packages to other teams right around that time.
Merry Christmas and Happy Hooping days.
— Corby A. Yarbrough @AthlonCorby on Twitter
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