2013-14 NBA Schedule: Examining the 5 Christmas Day Games
Previewing the 5 NBA Games on Christmas Day 2013
The NBA on Christmas Day has been a tradition for a long time. But in the last several years it's evolved to an all-day event. Now from noon until midnight, you can catch action from around the country. The games are spaced out well based on time zones, with the early action starting on the east coast and the night cap occurring out west. The NBA has it's Christmas Day schedule down to a television science at this point.
While some players always complain that they have to play on a holiday, it comes with the territory, in my opinion. These guys are paid big bucks to do one thing - entertain the fans. Without the fans, there is no NBA. Yeah, it sucks working on holidays (we've all been there), but these rich basketball players have nothing at all to seriously complain about.
Some fans even view Christmas as the unofficial start to the NBA season. The old joke is that no one pays attention until then anyway - which might not be far from the truth. It's hard for basketball to compete head-to-head with the NFL, simply because the NFL is a ratings juggernaut. Still, there are hardcore basketball fans engaged in the season well before the famous holiday.
It's with all that in mind that we take a look at this year's five matchups. (They're listed in order of earliest-to-latest):
Bulls vs. Nets
This is a playoff rematch, but it will feature several star players that didn't take the court in the 2013 playoff series. Derrick Rose will travel east to take on new-Nets' players Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce in the day's first game. This should be a good one, as both teams figure to compete for the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. It's also very possible this will be a playoff preview for 2014 as well.
Thunder vs. Knicks
Will Kevin Durant or Carmelo Anthony steal the show in this battle from MSG? These two superstars will duke it out on the national stage to show who the league's best scorer is. Oklahoma City is projected to have a better squad than New York, so this also may be an opportunity for them to really put the NBA on notice. As of now, people are overlooking the Thunder in the 2014 title picture.
Heat vs. Lakers
It's clear that the NBA is banking on a Kobe Bryant return by 12-25. The legendary shooting guard says he's way ahead of schedule on his recovery from a torn achilles tendon, so it seems likely he'll suit up before this game. But if the Lakers do hold him back, this would make a good game for his return. The league wouldn't mind benefiting from his return, either. But there's probably more overall ratings in having him come back in November. No matter what, we should get to see another installment of Kobe vs. Lebron.
Rockets vs. Spurs
Dwight Howard faces off against Tim Duncan in Christmas Day's fourth game. This will be a battle of two Texas teams heading for the playoffs in 2014. The Rockets proved they belonged last year without Howard, while the Spurs were just a few plays away from another championship. In theory, the Rockets should be on the rise while the Spurs are on the decline, but San Antonio always seems to hang around and be competitive every year.
Clippers vs. Warriors
The night cap features a battle of California where Chris Paul and the Clippers will travel to take on the up-and-coming Warriors. We all saw how dangerous Mark Jackson's young team could be in last year's playoffs, but the Clippers have also gotten better by trading for new head coach Doc Rivers. These two teams will both be right in the thick of things in the Western Conference in 2013. As for Christmas Day's final game, it should feature some of the best offensive basketball in the world.