The holidays are here, and that means a lot of things: time off from work, time with family, and time in front of the television watching the NBA. Just like the NFL on Thanksgiving, the NBA has expanded its schedule to own today along with Santa. The only drawback is that time with the TV can come at the expense of time with family. Thankfully I’m here to help you navigate the day. Here is your guide to an NBA Christmas:
Boston Celtics at Brooklyn Nets – Noon Eastern
The presents are open, breakfast has been eaten, and now you have a decision. Allow me to suggest you skip this game and REALLY lay it on thick during family time. Ham up the “oohs” and “aahs” for the terrible gifts. You will need the brownie points later in the afternoon.
The Celtics have struggled lately with frontcourt depth issues behind Kevin Garnett and an inconsistent rotation. The Nets are just as unsettled right now. Deron Williams, the team’s highest regarded player, is complaining about his role in the offense. Brook Lopez, the team’s most productive player is the team’s most productive player. That shouldn’t be the case on a team with Deron Williams and Joe Johnson.
Forget this one. Nothing to see here.
New York Knicks at LA Lakers – 3pm
Oklahoma City Thunder at Miami Heat – 5:30pm
Now is the time to cash in those brownie points. These are the marquee games of the day – despite the Lakers’ sub .500 record (had to).
Los Angeles finally has its full roster back with the returns of Pau Gasol and Steve Nash. Kobe Bryant managed 41 shots in 43 minutes in the team’s first gamewith a full roster. Hopefully #KobeSystem takes over for the foreseeable future; it will definitely make Laker games more interesting.
The Knicks could welcome back their own star in this game. Stoudamire’s impact from the Knick bench will be a key to their sustained success this season. This should be a great game.
The late afternoon game should be the best of the day. While Miami beat OKC in five games during last year’s Finals, the Thunder are better without James Harden. Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and – most surprisingly – Serge Ibaka have all taken strides this season.
The Heat have been on autopilot, though they have recently turned up their defensive pressure. They are 4-1 in their last five games without allowing any opponent to score 100 points.
Take these five hours to yourself. You have earned it after a morning and early afternoon spent spreading holiday cheer.
Houston Rockets at Chicago Bulls – 8pm
At this point it’s dinner time, and you probably have to show your face to the family again. Feel free to step away from the television. Make sure to sound very apologetic for spending so much time away.
Neither of these teams are finished products. The Rockets are revamping on the fly after trading for JamesHarden and signing Jeremy Lin. They are still finding themselves, and the 14-12 record indicates this. The Bulls are missing Derrick Rose, and can’t be considered a contender until he returns.
My recommendation: have dinner, and check for updates on Twitter. If this is worth watching in the fourth, you will know.
Denver Nuggets at LA Clippers – 10:30pm
Hopefully everyone is asleep by now so you can watch this game with a drink in-hand. The Clippers are the hottest team in the league behind a 13-game winning streak. The good news is that the Clippers have been blowing teams out lately. Their starters have barely played in fourth quarters. That means you can get to bed early after a day full of food, family, and basketball.
Have a Merry Christmas!