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: Aug 14, 2009
Posted on: December 27, 2009 3:55 pm

NBA swings and misses on Christmas Day

27 points in the first half.  Usually the magic score more than that in the first quarter.  The Bucks are Below 500. and have the 6 seed.  Just shows ya why the western conference mostly wins the allstar game. Wow

Since: Aug 2, 2007
Posted on: December 26, 2009 8:26 pm

NBA swings and misses on Christmas Day

What can you expect from the NBA? Its boring on a rerular day it only gets worse on XMAS!!
I am a die hard Laker fan but I will have to admit I cant watch an NBA game from tip off to end. No way!! Its is just flat out boring. The refs get in the way of the game all the time, Guys take 6 steps to the basket and dont get called for traveling and the days of REAL rivalries
have been OVER for the last 10 years. In Baseball rivalries are alive and well and the NFL has it in the bag already. Even the NHL still has its rivalries and I will take the NHL over the NBA ANY DAY OF THE WEEK!!! This is just my opinion and nothing else and I will leave it at that.

Since: Mar 24, 2007
Posted on: December 26, 2009 7:26 pm

NBA swings and misses on Christmas Day

sman, the laker fans were out of line.  The refs acted like NBA refs: the're inconsistent, just like baseball umpires...the best you can hope for is that at least they are consisten in the same game, which is what happend yesterday. 

The players whined like they ALWAYS do.  Kobe and Lebron are both on the all-whining team. 

Cleveland outplayed the Lakers and the fans just couldn't take it. 

Since: Dec 26, 2009
Posted on: December 26, 2009 6:52 pm

NBA swings and misses on Christmas Day

I couldn't agree more. This was basketballs chance to compete with the top dog of americas entertainement, the NFL. Needless to say, The Knicks "slowed down" offense, Rajons four charging fouls, and a LA blowout led to the obvious conclusion. 'CLICK' Go Chargers....Or Titans....Or whoevers playing cuz i'm watching. 

Since: May 19, 2007
Posted on: December 26, 2009 6:08 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Dec 13, 2006
Posted on: December 26, 2009 5:30 pm

NBA swings and misses on Christmas Day

Well as for Boston vs Orlando. why is it the announcers and Berger both harp on lack of offense? this was 2 great defensives teams playing each other which will damper the offense. Plus Boston was without Paul Pierce their leafing scorer and won by playing gritty defense and patience on offense. But the analyst were too busy hyping  nba 2 biggest crybabies inm the next game to actually focus on the game going on its funny how the almighty lakers are gods gift to  nba yet Boston with theiri njuries are same record virtually...just like 2 years ago the media will burrow up Lakers and Kobes behinds praising them for 8 months until boston beats them in the finals. and 2 years ago it was ugly how bad boston beat the favored lakers down

Since: Oct 31, 2008
Posted on: December 26, 2009 5:14 pm

NBA swings and misses on Christmas Day

cspcmb....if you have any old Jordan games on tape, watch them.  he was one of the biggest cry babies the game has ever seen.  how short is your memory?  also, your argument is all over the place....are you sleeping with jordan?  bashing kobe/lebron/nba players in general?  criticizing our international play?  bitching about calls?  oh wait...I just saw your reputation score...nevermind.

Since: May 20, 2008
Posted on: December 26, 2009 2:52 pm

NBA swings and misses on Christmas Day

It showed how pathetic the NBA is now. I also hope it showed everyone why there will never be another Jordan. This era is filled with crybabies and floppers. Its really not the players fault cause look how the rules are where you cant breathe on a player anymore. No hand checking(allows anyone to just waltz into the lane whenever then when they get touched its an automatic foul). Then there's no such thing as a hard foul anymore(so any little guard can go into the paint knowing they cant get punished and its either a foul or two points). Ridiculous charges on anybody(but why go for a block if its an automatic foul and why play intense defense if you're gonna foul out). No real star matchups(LeBron vs Kobe and they cant guard each other cause they will flop out ). Back in MJ land the fouls on him would warrant a suspension and flagrants in this NBA. He had to score on the best player and guard him. People say Jordan couldn't handle the ball like Kobe and LeBron they wouldn't either if you could hand check and keep them from free willing all around the court.  But let me state again that its not the players fault this is what the NBA wants so this is what you get without the whistle you barely have any talent out there. Thats why we barely can beat international players.

Since: May 12, 2007
Posted on: December 26, 2009 11:22 am

NBA swings and misses on Christmas Day

Sorry Berger, but the teams don't play to your tastes.  They play to win.  If your Christmas morning was ruined by a couple of games, then you might want to rethink your life.  These boys were playing to win, not to please you.  Grow up, and understand the sport a little better.

Since: Sep 19, 2006
Posted on: December 26, 2009 10:36 am

Why hate on baseball?

"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."

Ken -
I like all sports but baseball is by far my favorite.  Always has been, always will be.  Your comment fully illustrates MLB's intense fan loyalty.  Many baseball fans are happy to talk about the game 365 days a year.  So why do you feel the need to promote the NBA by belittling baseball.  Can't the NBA stand on its own merits?

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