There are many great games on the NBA 2010/11 December calendar, but two stand out above the rest, and they both involve a player that rhymes with SaJohn Lames. (And no, that didn't make any sense. Sorry). Here are the ten games you need to watch in December.
10. Los Angeles Lakers at San Antonio Spurs: December 28, 8:30 p.m.
The Lakers-Spurs rivalry is kind of old at this point, considering they haven't met in the playoffs since 2008 (and before that, 2004). However, with the Spurs retooled and younger this season, thanks to newcomers Tiago Splitter and James Anderson, they could be the biggest threat to LA in the West. This might be an early tuneup for both.
9. Denver Nuggets at New York Knicks: December 12, Noon
"WE WANT MELO! WE WANT MELO!"
8. Miami Heat at New York Knicks: December 17, 7:00 p.m., ESPN
The first of several "return games" of sorts for LeBron James on this list. No, he never played in New York, and no, New York never hated his guts. But many Knicks fans still feel the team threw away two years to get him, and in the end, he went elsewhere. I look forward to seeing what kind of reception he'll get.
7. Miami Heat at Washington Wizards: December 18, 7:00 p.m., NBATV
6. Phoenix Suns at Dallas Mavericks: December 17, 9:30 p.m., ESPN
The Suns may have a completely new look this year, because of the loss of Amare Stoudemire, but whenever Steve Nash plays Dirk Nowitzki, fun things happen. Mavericks-Suns games rarely disappoint, no matter where either is in the standings, and I don't expect that to change on this night. Get ready for some great offense and a great finish.
5. Washington Wizards at Sacramento Kings: December 8, 10:00 p.m.
College teammates John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins will play each other for the first time. Considering just how much each player raised the other's stock while in college (Wall needed a big man like Cousins who could finish anything around the basket; Cousins needed an elite PG like Wall to get him the ball), it'll probably be odd for both to be on opposite teams.
4. Sacramento Kings at Oklahoma City Thunder: December 17, 8:00 p.m.
The casual NBA fan probably thinks this is way too high. But here's the thing: if there's any team poised for a Thunder-like breakout this year, it's the Kings. They already have their franchise cornerstone in Tyreke Evans, who is probably going to make a major jump this year. They have Cousins, who could dominate inside from Day 1. Finally, they have some other nice young players and a coach (Paul Westphal) that can deal with all the pieces. (Okay, maybe I'm reaching on that last one, but work with me here). Maybe the Kings disappoint, but there's a chance this could be Young Guns I vs. Young Guns II.
3. Boston Celtics at Orlando Magic: December 25, 2:30 p.m., ABC
A rematch of the Eastern Conference Finals. Will Dwight Howard be able to score on the Celtics one-on-one with Kendrick Perkins injured?
2. Miami Heat at Los Angeles Lakers: December 25, 5:00 p.m., ABC
For obvious reasons.
1. Miami Heat at Cleveland Cavaliers: December 2, 8:00 p.m, TNT
For more obvious reasons.