It’s Christmas morning and no matter who you are, or what your financial or familial status, you have some Christmas traditions buried in your DNA. For some, it’s opening gifts then taking the family to a movie. For others, it’s a big holiday dinner with friends who all can’t afford (or don’t want to) fly home for the holiday. In one of my friend’s families, they do a Christmas pageant where the kids put on a show — every year the children all read from Shakespeare’s a Mid-Summer Night’s Dream in front of the whole family. However, if you’re like me the biggest Christmas gift of all is on television: NBA Basketball!
Last year the NBA lockout pushed the season kick-off to Christmas day, which not only featured a ton of great games, but made it official that the NBA owns Christmas like the NFL owns Thanksgiving. So this year, I’m opening up gifts early. I’m taking a look at all of the NBA games being run on Christmas day like the gifts that they are. Some are just what you’ve been wanting, some are a nice idea but you’ve kind of outgrown them and some you’d love to re-gift till after the All-Star game if you had a chance.
Boston Celtics v.s. Brooklyn Nets : Sesame Street Elmo Doll 12:00 p.m. EST
This is the type of game where it certainly seemed like a good idea when it was scheduled, and then reality hit. The Boston Celtics are NBA ratings royalty and after putting together a riveting 7 game series against Miami in the Eastern Conference finals this spring you expect them to put on a good show. The Brooklyn Nets, with a new location, revamped roster and flashy new logo, not to mention their owner Russian super billionaire (and former Russian presidential candidate) Mikhail Prokhorov and front-man owner Jay-Z were supposed to be the talk of the NBA this year. Yet, they, like the Celtics have been a huge disappointment hovering around .500 for most of the season. Again, on paper, didn’t the idea of buying a kid a Tickle-Me-Elmo doll seem great about 6 weeks ago? Now, not so much….
New York Knicks v.s. L.A. Lakers : AARP Membership 3:00 p.m. EST
The two oldest teams in the NBA this season, could use a discounted AARP membership. The Los Angeles Lakers are relying on a very old Kobe Bryant (34) and Steve Nash (soon to be 40) to turn their team into a contender even though both of these men peaked about 6 years ago. So far it hasn’t gone to well, with poor defense, an ill – fitting coach and these two men trying to baby-sit Dwight Howard. The Knicks on the other hand aren’t just old, they’re historically old, they are the oldest team in NBA history, they’re so old Jason Kidd used to practice free throws underhand into a peach basket. Yet they’re the toast of the NBA since this gutsy squad has the best record in the East. Plus any team that allows the public to see Spike Lee get angry about something other than Quentin Tarantino’s latest N-Word Porn is doing the public a service.
Oklahoma City Thunder v.s. Miami Heat : 3-D Blue Ray Player with the Avengers special edition 5:30 p.m. EST
I loved the Avengers, I loved that movie so much that I saw it twice, on Friday and Saturday both in 3-D and still wanted to see it again. It couldn’t possibly be as good on Blue Ray as it is in a theatre full of hundreds of people cheering and clapping but that will have to tide me over until Iron Man 3 and Thor 2 come out later this year. The same goes for The Miami Heat v.s. Oklahoma City Thunder re-match. The Miami Heat, a group of Superstars banded together to take on threats they couldn’t handle alone (namely the Celtics kept putting LeBron and Wade out to pasture) won a well – deserved Championship this spring. All but one of the 5 game series really came down to the last 2 minutes and love him or hate him, LeBron winning a championship was one of the best sports stories of 2012. Their first meeting of the 2012-2013 season won’t be as exciting as that finals series, but as a gift, it’ll tide me over until they meet again in the finals this spring.
Chicago Bulls v.s. Houston Rockets : Old Monopoly game 8:00 p.m. EST
I know a lot of families that play a big game of Monopoly on Christmas. The sad part is; that no matter how much you may actually like Monopoly, it is statistically impossible to keep all of the pieces of the board game together. There’s always something missing, the little dog piece, or one of the red houses or somehow you only manage to have three 50 dollar bills even though you haven’t touched the game since LAST Christmas. I’m sure that Monopoly was made of the same inter-dimensional material that makes one sock disappear in your laundry machine. That is essentially the Chicago Bulls v.s. the Houston Rockets. This will be a fun game once all the pieces are in place, but right now, they aren’t. The Chicago Bulls, as good as they are playing right now, just can’t be fully enjoyed until they get former MVP Point Guard Derrick Rose back from injury. The Houston Rockets, pieces aren’t quite there yet either. They are made up like an NFL expansion team, mid-level stars from various other franchises (Jeremy Lin from the Knicks, James Harden from the Thunder, Omar Asik from Chicago) who don’t fit yet. Both of these teams are missing a few key pieces before they can really get down to being any fun.
L.A. Clippers v.s. Denver Nuggets : a new Maybach (But you live in New York City) 10:30 EST
The final game of the NBA day is just your classic gift that doesn’t make sense. A yacht when you live in Nashville Tennessee, a snow mobile when you live in Miami, and a Maybach when you live in New York and can barely drive the thing over 50 miles per hour. The L.A. Clippers are one of the hottest teams in the NBA right now, with marketable stars (Blake Griffin is everywhere) and a huge market. But what’s the point of a Christmas showcase with them and the lowly small market, no star having Denver Nuggets? The Clippers are a great team, and may even make the Western Conference finals (no one is beating Oklahoma City) but they aren’t any fun going on at 10:30 against scrubs.