After an ugly and protracted lockout that should have driven away fans, the NBA opened with five games on Christmas Day — and four of them set ratings records. You watched.
So if you want to know why there are five Christmas Day games this year that’s why — ratings. Television and the money it brings in. The NBA is a business first and foremost. Don’t ever forget that.
We may be a third of the way through the season, but for a lot of casual sports fans Christmas is the unofficial start of the NBA season, when they start really paying attention. So you put together a good slate of games — including a finals rematch and New York against Los Angeles) and watch the fans tune in. Or stream on their mew iPads.
It’s like a second opening day — no NFL, no college bowl games to compete with. Just NBA games and its biggest teams and stars.
This year it tips off at Celtics and Nets at noon (eastern) then the action shifts to Los Angeles where the hot Knicks take on a Lakers team with Steve Nash in the fold but trying to find an identity.
Then the finals rematch — Thunder at Heat. LeBron James vs. Kevin Durant.
Two of the more interesting games are that night — Rockets and Bulls, then the Nuggets visit the Clippers.
It’s a showcase day for the NBA and so there are five games. If you think that’s too many, don’t watch and the NBA will change it. But right now, you’re watching and they are playing.
Report: Lakers working toward buyout with Jose Calderon; Warriors, Rockets interested
The Lakers took on the salary of Jose Calderon this year so they could get a couple second-round picks from the Bulls (Chicago got him from New York in the Derrick Rose trade), but even with the previous regime in Los Angeles the aging point guard was never part of the future.
Sources told ESPN that it’s not yet a certainty Calderon will secure his release from the Lakers in the coming days, but the sides are indeed discussing the options as Wednesday’s playoff eligibility deadline nears….
Sources say that Calderon, if he winds up hitting the open market, would instantly become a target for both the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets.
Cleveland may also have interest if their plan to land Deron Williams when he is bought out by Dallas goes awry.
Calderon, 35, was not part of the Lakers’ regular rotation, playing in just 24 games. He can still knock down a shot if he has space and can set his feet, and he still has a high hoops IQ and can see the floor, but his athleticism has faded, and that can leave him exposed. Particularly on defense.
Players are being waived now so they clear in time for teams to sign them by March 1, after that said players are not eligible for playoff rosters.
There are better players to hit the waiver wire in the coming days — D-Will, Andrew Bogut, Matt Barnes — but Calderon is going to land somewhere. He’d be a solid third point guard and veteran presence for a playoff run.
Marquese Chriss blocks Bobby Portis, who gets testy (video)
The time off during the All-Star break did Dwyane Wade some good.
The Bulls guard turned back the clock on Friday night, leading the Bulls with 23 points and topping it off with this dunk that proved to be the dagger, sealing a Chicago win. The Suns were convinced Wade was going to run the shot clock way down before making his move and they lollygagged into position — so he just blew past everyone for the poster slam.
With a couple of minutes left to go in the second quarter, Isaiah Thomas made the steal when DeMar DeRozan lost the ball on a drive, and Thomas was off to the races. Trying to prevent a lay-up, Carroll decided to foul Thomas far from the basket, but did so with a forearm shove that sent Thomas sprawling on the ground.