Blog Entry

NBA swings and misses on Christmas Day

Posted on: December 25, 2009 8:56 pm
Edited on: December 26, 2009 10:21 am
Merry Christmas from the NBA. Have you enjoyed your lumps of coal?

It was the league's signature day for national TV exposure, when millions of Americans are sitting around all day with nothing to do but become sick of opening presents and bored with relatives they won't see again until next Christmas. A perfect opportunity to gain a foothold among casual fans who don't appreciate the athleticism, drama, conflict, and strategy of the sport the way you and I do.

You can return the presents you don't like. But you'll never get back the eight hours of your life that was just spent watching this.

First, the Knicks and Heat engaged in a predictably sleepy noon ET tipoff on Friday that was barely watchable. I know, because I sat 50 feet from the baseline and tried to watch it.

Then, the Celtics and Magic played in Orlando, which despite Paul Pierce's absence had a chance to upstage LeBron vs. Kobe as the most thrilling matchup of the day. Instead, Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said before the game that Christmas Day games should be banned , and then his team went out and scored 27 points in the first half. Oh, the pain.

Finally, at 5:30 p.m., just as I returned home from the crimes against basketball committed at Madison Square Garden, it was time for the main event. Cavs vs. Lakers. Kobe vs. LeBron.

What did you get, you mainstream fan, you curious Christmas reveler? A hopeless blowout, complete with constant whining about the officiating -- primarily from the Lakers -- and utter classlessness from the Laker fans, who decided this would be a good time to throw foam fingers and water bottles onto the court.

UPDATE: For those who were still tuning in, the Clippers and Suns gave us stinker No. 4. Brandon Roy and the Blazers saved Christmas with a stellar 107-96 victory over the Nuggets. Unfortunately, more than half the country was already sleeping when that happened.

If you enjoy the NBA the way I do, you know these things happen. You can't script thrilling finishes, competitive games, or superstar conflicts to coincide with a day when you have the national spotlight all to yourself. You know that Kobe Bryant and LeBron James will go down as two of the immortals of the sport, faces that someday will join Jordan, Russell, Chamberlain, and Robertson on the sport's Mount Rushmore.

You know that on most random nights, when you're glued to NBA League Pass, the league delivers some of the best unseen drama and buzz-worthy competition in sports -- even if most of it goes unnoticed by the mainstream. 

You know the NBA is cooler and younger and more fan friendly than that dinosaur of a sport, baseball, which continues to dominate the sports coverage and fan discussion where I live -- even though the season ended two months ago.

But this was an unfortunate way for the NBA to publicly announce the unofficial beginning of its time in the national spotlight. You and I can marvel at the Cavs' stellar defensive performance against the Lakers, and how they attacked and exploited the Lakers' defense, which was No. 1 in the NBA in opponent field-goal percentage. You and I can enjoy Dwyane Wade's subtle yet effective performance against the Knicks. You and I can appreciate how the Celtics limped into Orlando and smacked the Magic around without their top scorer.

Did the NBA engage, intrigue, or attract a single casual fan out there in the captive national audience with these three lumps of coal? Not even close. In fact, worse than that, some annoying -- and erroneous -- stereotypes actually were reinforced: 1) The NBA regular season is pointless and unwatchable (witness Heat-Knicks and Celtics-Magic); 2) The officiating is biased, inconsistent, and causes players to spend most of their time whining about calls (witness Cavs-Lakers); and 3) Laker fans are cry babies.

With the possible exception of No. 3, you and I know that's a bunch of nonsense. But after three forgettable Christmas Day games on national TV, the average fan doesn't.

I don't know about you, but it's time for me to change the channel. Who knew the NBA would be relying on the Suns and Clippers to save Christmas?


Category: NBA

Since: Dec 26, 2009
Posted on: December 26, 2009 4:54 am

Cheer up, buddy

Too bad you were at the Knicks game. It was a great day for basketball. The crappy offense in the BOSvORL game made it all the more intruiging to watch; the Cavs showed everyone that it's not a one-team league and the douchey fans added some drama to it -- let's face it, most guys like seeing that kind of thing. 

The Portland game, which i'm not sure if it was televised where you were, was brilliant! B Roy put on a spectacular show and his teammates stepped it up.

All up, a great Boxing Day (watched from the other side of the world), and even non-watchers of NBA that i know managed to tune in for the marquee match-ups. And all you peeps who think the regular season is irrelevant or whatever, well, you sound old and jaded. The NBA is the best it has been in years.

Since: Mar 4, 2008
Posted on: December 26, 2009 4:44 am

NBA swings and misses on Christmas Day

Brandon Roy carried an injury-laden Trail Blazers team on his back, giving a star performance. Too bad everyone on the East Coast was apparently comatose from Christmas dinner and already sleep to witness it.

Since: Nov 24, 2006
Posted on: December 25, 2009 10:57 pm

NBA swings and misses on Christmas Day

LeBron complained after every call?  Did you not see Kobe Bryant today?  Every time he tried to draw a foul on Shaq, even though Shaq stood straight up, he went on ridiculous tantrums.

Either way, both teams complained about most every call (LA moreso), but that's standard in today's game.  Every team and big name player complains.

Since: Jun 10, 2009
Posted on: December 25, 2009 9:43 pm

NBA swings and misses on Christmas Day

Buc i dont see how you hate LBJ after this one.  The refs were god awful but at least they were god awful for both sides.  Kobe couldn't buy a call and some of the calls on the cavs bigs were ridiculous.

Since: Aug 24, 2009
Posted on: December 25, 2009 9:42 pm

NBA swings and misses on Christmas Day

I see youre keeping your counting to 3 now so you dont get confused again huh Berger

Since: Jun 4, 2008
Posted on: December 25, 2009 9:35 pm

NBA swings and misses on Christmas Day

MM, just as my hatred for Lebron was going away, I saw him level Kobe and get a block called on Bryant, get breathed on for a foul, throw Kobe to the ground on a no call, and of course, complain on every call against him, including where he intentionally fouled Brown.

Anyway, these games sucked. Two great matchups ended up being duds somewhat.

Since: Mar 10, 2007
Posted on: December 25, 2009 9:10 pm

NBA swings and misses on Christmas Day

Merry Christmas Berger!  Gotta work today, that has to suck. 

I think all Cav fans enjoyed watching the Lakers crumble today, at least I did. 

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or