The NBA is back after the lockout, the season starts in 8 days, and I personally cannot wait. Christmas Day is usually one of the biggest days on the NBA calendar, and this year it's even bigger. Christmas Day is also acting as opening day and featuring 10 of the top teams competing on live television in 5 great match-ups.
Celtics vs. Knicks @ Noon ET on TNT
Heat vs. Mavericks @ 2:30p on ABC
Bulls vs. Lakers @ 5p on ABC
Magic vs. Thunder @ 8p on ESPN
Clippers vs. Warriors @ 10:30p on ESPN
Though my Denver Nuggets didn't make the cut for Christmas Day this year, I am salivating for some NBA basketball.
This should be a good match-up of an upcoming team and one that this may be their last shot at another title. Tyson Chandler joined up with Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire in New York thanks to the amnesty of Chauncey Billups. The Knicks hope to use their strong front line to take down the aging Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce to start the season.
The rematch of last years Finals should be another great game. The Big Three look to build on what they did last year and have already started spouting "Title or Bust" claims for this season. The Mavericks look a little different than they did in the championship last year. Tyson Chandler is gone to New York and J.J. Barea took his talents to the Great White North. The Mavericks did pick up Lamar Odom from the Lakers, it'll be interesting to see how the team looks without Chandler and Barea giving grit and effort.
The Bulls had the best record in the league last year and made it to the Eastern Conference finals. They're hoping Rip Hamilton's championships experience can help. Christmas Day they take on the Los Angeles Lakers who many people are saying are on their downhill swing, and one big man less with 6th Man of the Year 2011, Lamar Odom being dealt to Dallas. Passing of the torch?
Dwight Howard is still with the Magic, and they'll need him taking on the Durantula and the young OKC Thunder. The Thunder are looking to get to the next step, they've been improving since they left Seattle and they're hungry for rings.
The NBA decided to put the most anticipated last, I guess. The Clippers, featuring newly acquired Chris Paul, look to make the playoffs for the first time since '06 and start a winning tradition to take the place of the ill views everyone has had about them forever. The Warriors are looking to take a step in the right direction as well and become a playoff team, but will they be able to stop the star power of Chris Paul and Blake Griffin? (The Clippers are one of my side teams, I've followed them since Kerry Kittles went there in 2004 to end his career)
The Denver Nuggets have the holiday off, but it'll be a great gift to watch these great games. Can't wait.
Stay fresh and keep calm,