Forget the very real possibility of a NBA lockout for the moment. David Stern has been using this offseason to make sure he keeps his league in the news. One thing we’ve learned about the NBA this summer is that they apparently have a thing for TV specials. Stern may have not been the biggest fan of LeBron’s version, but he’s obviously a supporter of the results it produced. Following suit this evening, the opening week and Christmas Day games will be unveiled during an hour long special on NBA TV at 7 p.m.
Seeing as how it’s fun to predict stuff, here are a few games to look forward to during this upcoming season along with dates I think would work great for creating must-see sporting TV.
Oklahoma City Thunder Vs. Chicago Bulls, Christmas Day 2010
The Thunder and Bulls are two of the youngest and most promising teams in the league and could be a Finals matchup in a few years. I could be wrong when I say this, but I’m still under the impression more than a fair share of fans still do not recognize Kevin Durant’s true talent. Derrick Rose’s as well. This is going to be one hell of an undercard if it lives up to its billing. To give it adequate publicity, set this game for Christmas Day, 2010.
Prediction: This game airs in exactly zero homes in the Portland area.
Miami Heat Vs. Los Angeles Lakers, also on Christmas Day
The Irresistible Force meets the Immovable Object in what could very well be a Finals preview. After the most successful offseason ever, the Miami Heat, led by “Riley’s Recruits,” invade Kobe’s Court for undoubtedly the most anticipated game on the schedule. If ESPN ever had a reason to air a game on pay-per-view, this would be it.
Prediction: They’ll be more rappers than groupies in attendance. Drake, Lil Wayne, Rick Ross, Jay-Z, Snoop, Ice Cube and Game are all definites. DJ Khaled, too.
Milwaukee Bucks Vs. Washington Wizards, January 21, 2011
Lost in hype surrounding Miami, Chicago and Boston are the Milwaukee Bucks. Adding Corey Maggette, Drew Gooden and rookie Larry Sanders only solidifies they’ll be an even tougher squad to contend with than last year. The real reason I’m anticipating this though? Well, there’s three reasons. One, it’ll be in D.C., which means I can catch the Yellow Line straight to the Verizon Center. Two, it’ll likely be a weekend. Three, Brandon Jennings vs. John Wall is “Must See TV.”
Prediction: There will be a half time contest of who can “John Wall” (i.e. “flex”) the best. Trust me, I know the Wizards, this will happen.
Miami Heat Vs. Cleveland Cavaliers, Valentine’s Day 2011
Oh, please, for the love of the ghost of James Naismith, let them play on February 14th, 2011. For one, the Heat will probably set the record for the most nationally televised games in one season. This Valentine’s Day massacre puts the former Messiah (turned Antichrist) of Cleveland back in the arena where he previously could have done no wrong. Love won’t be in the air, but every degrading remark known to man will. Let’s just hope Dan Gilbert is allowed to do some live blogging during the game. Size 14, Comic Sans font and all.
Prediction: The city burns down if LeBron has one of those 40-15-10 games (which I’m hoping for being one of the seven LBJ fans left), leaving only the Rock-N-Roll Hall of Fame, a lone E. Eternal 1999 CD, and KiD CuDi’s “how to deal with fans” pamphlet as proof the city ever existed. If he stinks it up, the city still might burn down, but at least it’ll be festive.
Phoenix Suns Vs. New York Knicks, March 1, 2011
I really don’t expect the Knicks to be that much better, but there will at least be more of a reason to watch them come next year. By this point in the season, the true Amar’e Stoudemire will have shown himself as a definitive superstar or big man in need of a driver. Ray Felton is a good point guard, but a far cry from Steve Nash. Regardless of the records, one thing will be certain come March 2011: the Knicks’ Powerpoint presentation for Carmelo Anthony will be set and ready to go. It’s not like it will be difficult to put it together. They’ll just use the same one they did for LeBron.
Prediction: Isiah Thomas will have tried to finagle his way back into the organization at least 12 times come tip-off. And I wouldn’t be surprised if it works.
The season’s entire schedule will be made available on August 10. Until then, use this as a platform to discuss matchups you are anticipating to see next year. Magic/Hawks? Lakers/Celtics? Heat/Thunder? Mavs/Bulls? The possibilities are endless.