Tag: NBA Christmas

Carmelo Anthony

Knick show better poise, execution in clutch to beat Celtics


If we told you first thing this morning that the team that executed better at the end, that showed the more poise under pressure — and after the whistle — was going to win the season opener between the Knicks and Celtics, we all would have thought it would be the veteran combo from Boston.

Nope. Carmelo Anthony drew the late foul (on a borderline call but the refs will blow the whistle on the reach from behind almost every time) and sank free throws, while both Marquis Daniels and Kevin Garnett missed good looks and the Knicks come away with the 106-104 win at Madison Square Garden.

The Celtics were playing without Paul Pierce, and they could have used his offense and shot creation against a spotty Knicks defense — there were moments at the rim with Tyson Chandler and other spots the Knicks looked good, then there was the whole third quarter where they looked like the Knicks of old.

This game pretty much summed up what we can expect from the start of this NBA season — sloppy and inconsistent. That’s what you get after shortened training camps.

To start the game the Knicks ball movement was spectacular — they had 34 points on just 24 possessions in the first, according to John Schuhmann of NBA.com. The Knicks were up 10 at the half and the Garden faithful were loving it.

Then in the second half the Celtics cranked up the defensive pressure and the Knicks were suddenly an ugly isolation team again. Meanwhile, Ray Allen found his stroke (he finished with 20) and Rajon Rondo was being aggressive like he will need to be all season for Boston (31 points and 13 assists).

The game was tied at 104-104 with just under a minute when the sloppiness impacted the game — first Carmelo lost the handle coming off an Amare Stoudemire screen and the ball rolled out of bounds. Then the Celtics were forced to pass to the open man — Brandon Bass three feet from the rim — but Chandler sent one ball back and Bass got stripped on the recovery.

Next time down the Knicks halfcourt offense was non-existent so Tony Douglas threw a dangerous lob to Carmelo, who caught it at the elbow and tried to spin toward the basket, only to have Marquis Daniels reach from behind, get almost all ball but also get the call. (Note to Celtics fans, that call is not why you lost, the first half might be a better reason for one.) Anthony drained two free throws.

Again the Celtics depth hurt them on their first try late in the game, the Knicks did a good job taking away a few options including Rondo’s drive so he kicked to Daniels for a wide open corner three, which he missed. Daniels was in because Pierce was out. But Rondo tracked down the rebound and Celtics got another chance with 4.4 seconds left.

And it was a good look and chance — Bill Walker of the Knicks essentially picked his own man (Chandler) off Garnett who had the ball (Walker was trying to track down Rondo). Garnett got a clean look from about 16 feet out, with Walker on a late close. KG missed.

Then this happened.

Nice poise, KG. Shouldn’t be any fines or suspensions on this one, but the Knicks are not going to back down from Celtics is the message. They are feeling good about themselves.

Carmelo had a game-high 37 points, Stoudemire had 21. Brandon Bass had 20 in a nice showing for Boston.

What a way to start the season, and it’s going to be fun when these two meet again.

Magic vs. Thunder rounds out NBA Christmas Day

Kevin Durant dunks

The real question is will Dwight Howard be in a Magic uniform for the game

But we now know the fifth and final Christmas Day game will be the Orlando Magic at the Oklahoma City Thunder, the league just confirmed it via its official twitter account.

Again, this game is the kind of big stars and big splash the NBA is going for on its new opening day. Orlando will be a story whatever happens with Dwight Howard, and Kevin Durant is the league’s newest superstar (well, he and Derrick Rose can arm wrestle for the title).

A source told PBT that Magic staffers were emailed and told to prepare for a Dec. 26 or 27 home opener (it did not mention this game). So it will be a quick turnaround for the Magic players, but with the condensed schedule everyone had better get used to that.

The other Christmas Day games are the Celtics at the Knicks, the Heat at the Mavericks, the Bulls at the Lakers and the Clippers at the Warriors.

Clippers vs. Warriors to be last Christmas Day game

Los Angeles Clippers v Dallas Mavericks
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Looks like Blake Griffin and Stephen Curry are going to have to work on Christmas.

The Warriors are going to host the last of five Christmas Day games, with the Clippers as the opponent, according to CSNBayArea.com. (Marcus Thompson of the Contra Costa Times broke the story.)

This will be the last game of the five-game day. It will open with Boston against the Knicks, followed by the Heat against Mavericks then the Lakers hosting the Bulls. We do not yet know the fifth and final game of the NBA’s opening day.

NBA Christmas Day openers likely to see finals rematch

Nowitzki LeBron James

It’s not official yet (and may not be for a couple weeks) but we have a pretty good idea what the new NBA opening day will look like.

Which is exactly what the old Christmas Day schedule looked like.

That slate of games was to and most likely will start where the NBA labor talks were settled — New York City — where the Knicks will host the Boston Celtics. Two marquee franchises looking to challenge the Heat and Bulls for supremacy in the East.

That will be followed by a rematch of the NBA finals, with the Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks hosting the Miami Heat. Dirk Nowitzki vs. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade again. That game would be broadcast on ABC.

Finally, the Chicago Bulls and MVP Derrick Rose will travel to Los Angeles to take on Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers. That game also was to be on ABC.

After that the schedule is anybody’s guess. To cram 66 games into the amount of time left will mean a more condensed schedule than the 50-game one we saw after the 1999 lockout. It’s going to produce some tired legs and sloppy games. And we have no idea which direction this season will go.

But pretty much know how it will start.

Hunter: League about to cancel games through Christmas


Bah humbug.

Among all the information thrown out there during the NBA players union press conference rejecting David Stern’s ultimatum offer, there was this little bit from director Billy Hunter:

He has heard the league is going to cancel games through Christmas if there is no deal by 5 p.m. Wednesday (his drop-dead date).

The league denied that is the case.

But it’s getting close to that time. Even if the two sides reached a deal this week it would take about 30 days to ramp up and have regular season games. That already leaves very little margin for error to get a deal done and games on Christmas.

And Christmas is huge — it is a second opening day for the league. It is the first games on national broadcast television. It is when the average NBA fan really starts to pay attention.

Miss Christmas Day and that is a huge black eye for the league.

Not that the hardline owners care.