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Previewing NBA’s Christmas Day tip-off

Dec 23, 2011, 1:19 PM EDT

Kobe Bryant, Derrick Rose

Time to unwrap the present of an NBA season — and just like the gifts under the tree there may be some assembly required. Condensed training camps and just two preseason games is going to mean some sloppy openers on Christmas day.

But they are games, which are vastly superior to antitrust lawsuits. So let’s see what you’ll be watching on that new 60-inch plasma television (or streaming on your phone and trying to watch when your parents and nosy aunt aren’t watching).

Boston Celtics vs. New York Knicks, noon ET (TNT): The two teams that will battle it out for the Atlantic Division crown face off to start the season. I think the Knicks will win the war for the division because they will come together as the better offensive team with enough defense, and the Celtics will wear down. However, the battle for Christmas Day may be different with the new-look Knicks trying to figure things out and the Celtics slipping into old, comfortable roles before the wear and tear hits their bodies. If Paul Pierce sits (bruised heel, day-to-day) the Knicks probably have too much firepower.

Miami Heat vs. Dallas Mavericks, 2:30 p.m. ET (ABC): Winning this game does not make up for last June, but the Heat will come out fired up. Dallas is going to be a very good team this season, very versatile, but they are still trying to figure out how all the pieces fit together. Miami knows what it is doing — attack. Get out and run. While Brendan Haywood is solid he is no Tyson ChandlerDwyane Wade and LeBron James have less to fear driving the lane in this game.

Chicago Bulls vs. Los Angeles Lakers 5 p.m. ET (ABC): All the talk is about Kobe Bryant and his wrist ligaments — the guy is going to play, do you really have any doubt? The bigger issue for the Lakers is Andrew Bynum will sit the game out on suspension (five games) for flattening J.J. Barea at the end of the Dallas series last playoffs. Without Bynum in the paint to alter shots Derrick Rose and company will get better looks. Plus, the Lakers are trying to figure out their new offense and the best defensive team in the league is a tough place to try and learn things.

Orlando Magic vs. Oklahoma City Thunder 8 p.m. ET (ESPN): What is the over/under on time the announcers spend discussing the Dwight Howard situation? As Atlanta showed in the playoffs last year you can defend and beat the Magic if you have a big man who can at least impede Howard one-on-one. Meet Kendrick Perkins. Plus, that Kevin Durant guy is pretty good.

Los Angeles Clippers vs. Golden State Warriors 10:30 p.m. ET (ESPN): Hey Mark Jackson, welcome to the NBA coaching ranks. Draw up a system where you can stop Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan with Kwame Brown. Right now the Clippers are having a lot of fun playing and the Warriors have a new system, Stephen Curry is a game-time call and Monta Ellis could get handed a subpoena walking off the court. But watch this because the Clippers are just flat out entertaining.

  1. captainwisdom8888 - Dec 23, 2011 at 1:27 PM

    The Clip-showwwwww!!!!

    p.s.- Deandre Jordan is the truth.

  2. asublimeday - Dec 23, 2011 at 3:41 PM

    D Rose first of many championships

    • chargerdillon - Dec 23, 2011 at 5:53 PM

      Really? Have you forgotten the dominance over the Heat in the regular season only to be tossed in easy fashion out of the playoffs?

      The Heat OWN THE BULLS. OWN THEM. SIMPLY FREAKIN OWN THEM.

      This is coming from a Lakers fan, i’ll concede right now the Bulls and Heat are both better than the Lakers.

      But on that note, facts are facts, they dont give rings for the regular season. You wanna wear the crown you need to make it to the finals first. Guess what, you’re not beating the Heat

      • brooklynbulls - Dec 23, 2011 at 6:24 PM

        “They dont give rings for the regular season”
        And they dont give rings for just making it to the finals either. Wipe the drool off your chin until they acieve somthing tangeable. The “big three” Heat have won nothing and therefore own nothing, no team…in particular my Bulls. In the meantime I look forward to the Bulls owning your Lakers on Christmas day.
        Seriously, enjoy your holiday and the return of the nba.

      • boondocksaint224 - Dec 23, 2011 at 6:47 PM

        They own the Bulls? We must be watching a different game or something. Last time I checked, the Bulls swept the Heat in the regular sesaon, won game 1 by 21, were tied with 4:30 left in the 4th in game 2, game 4 went to OT, and game 5 was tied with a minute left. You’re either an idiot fanboy, or have a crap memory.

        You want the facts? The Heat don’t own JACK.

      • pudgalvin - Dec 23, 2011 at 8:52 PM

        Pwned

  3. finley88thebeast - Dec 23, 2011 at 8:57 PM

    basketball is boring should have stayed locked out. Stick to football basketball is for the weak

    • entropy13 - Dec 25, 2011 at 2:40 AM

      It’s just halfway through the season for most of the football leagues (and they would mostly be having their winter break this January), while the UEFA Champions League and Europa League knockout stages would only be starting in February. At least with the British leagues though there aren’t any breaks, so there would be a lot of football to watch in the English Premier League and the FA Cup.

      Oh, you mean “American football”? Or more accurately, handegg?

  4. goldkj - Dec 24, 2011 at 11:28 AM

    Basketball is only weak in Wisconsin. We’ll let you know when we start talking Bucks.

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