As is usually the case, the Lakers’ season schedule is highly anticipated, except this time around, fans will get to look forward to watching Steve Nash dress in purple and gold and wonder what they did wrong in their past lives to inherit a world in which the NBA’s most respected player goes to one of the NBA’s most hated teams.
Of course, it was a foregone conclusion that the Lake Show will be playing on Christmas Day, one of the most holiest, single basketball days ever. Usually, the Los Angeles Lakers play a team that has a significant storyline that the media can hype up or, at the very least, is a possible NBA Finals matchup.
This year, though? The NBA dropped the ball, and now the Lakers will be playing the middling, sloppy New York Knicks.
Why did this happen? Perhaps the NBA got lazy and thought, “Hey, let’s have the two largest markets the NBA has to offer play against one another on the NBA’s most marketable day, rhyme or reason be damned.”
Because while the Lakers are title contenders, the New York Knicks are merely supposed to be title contenders.
Plus, the only thing of note that happened in the past few years has been Kobe dropping 61 points at the Madison Square Garden in 2009 and Jeremy Lin dropping 38 on the Lakers at the height of Linsanity last year.
Of course, had Lin been re-signed by James Dolan — one of the worst NBA owners this side of Donald Sterling — then perhaps this match-up had a little more flair than it does now.
So here we are, bitching about the Lakers’ Christmas Day match-up, but are there better solutions? It can’t be the Oklahoma City Thunder, the team that knocked us out of the playoffs in 2012, because they’re slated to have a rematch with the NBA champion Miami Heat. It can’t be the Celtics because, let’s be honest, the rivalry was great when both were at the top of their conference, and a match-up with the Nets might be more desirable for Boston anyway.
But what about the L.A. Clippers, who will instead play the Denver Nuggets (for basketball reasons, we’re sure)? The Lakers and Clippers have developed a hell of a rivalry beginning with Chris Paul’s controversial trade to the Clippers after David Stern vetoed his trade to the Lakers. That translated into a testy a pair of preseason — preseason! – match-ups which ultimately translated into some tightly-contested regular season match-ups, which in turn brought about this:
Both teams are obviously large-market teams with premier superstars in Chris Paul, Kobe Bryant, Blake Griffin and Steve Nash.
But nah, the NBA somehow thought that the Knicks would be a much more intriguing match-up because Carmelo Anthony and Kobe Bryant could shoot their respective teams out of the game so much, it could go to a triple overtime game.
Whatever, dude. David Stern has screwed us again.