MIAMI, FL - MARCH 10: LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat posts up Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers during a game at American Airlines Arena on March 10, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
The NBA released its 2011-12 schedule this week, so it's time to go through some of the best games on the schedule, along with some expert analysis from the people who couldn't care less. (All photos via Getty Images)
All throughout the NBA lockout, the comments would flood sites all around the internet. You could write pretty much anything about the lockout, and like clockwork, somebody would chime in with, "WHO CARES? If the NBA's gone, I'm sure nobody is gonna miss it."
But it's not just random internet commenters raining on everyone's parade. Everybody has friends who hate the NBA no matter what happens, and then there's the mainstream columnists who like to remind us how little anyone cares about the NBA. Like this, from the St. Paul Pioneer Press, which posted a day after this year's lockout resolution. The lede:
"Gone With the Wind" was playing on the AMC network Saturday morning. Upon hearing that the NBA lockout likely was ending, my reaction was similar to Rhett Butler's at the end of the movie: "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn." End the lockout. Keep it going. Most of the planet doesn't care...
The NBA's coming back, but will anyone even notice? OK, maybe YOU will, seeing as you clicked on this article and probably have at least a passing interest in the NBA this year. But everybody else? Meh. These people probably don't watch the games, but they don't need to.
So with that in mind, since the NBA released its schedule on Wednesday, here's a preview of some of this year's games, plus commentary from the NBA expert who doesn't watch the NBA. All times Eastern, and the dates were mostly picked at random. Enjoy, or revel in the apathy.
Celtics at Knicks, 12 pm, TNT
Storylines: The first game of the NBA season!
Expert Analysis: "The NBA seriously thinks people care about watching basketball at NOON on Christmas Day? I'm all for Christmas Miracles, but even the North Pole can't save these clowns."
Heat at Mavericks, 2:30 pm, ABC
Storylines: America gets one last chance to relive the 2011 Finals, right before LeBron James comes out and murders the feel-good Mavs, becoming the villain all over again.
Expert Analysis: "Dirk Nowitzki ... Now there's a guy I can get behind. Not gonna watch him play, but man oh man what a story. The guy just wants it more. Wish I could say the same for QUEEN James."
Bulls at Lakers, 5:00 p.m., ABC
Storylines: Derrick Rose vs. Kobe Bryant in a battle of MVP candidates, Carlos Boozer vs. Pau Gasol in a battle of superstars each team secretly hates, and Joakim Noah coming in to annoy the crap out of everyone for a solid 35 minutes. Let's do it!
Expert Analysis: "Every year at Christmas the family gets together to watch The Santa Clause. Such a classic. When Tim Allen falls off the roof? Gets me every time. Maybe next year, KOBE ..."
Thunder at T'Wolves, 8 p.m.
Storylines: Durant, Westbrook, Rubio, Love, and absolutely no defense.
Expert Analysis: "NEWSFLASH, PEOPLE: THEY NEVER PLAY DEFENSE."
Grizzlies at Spurs, 8:30 p.m.
Storylines: A rematch of the biggest playoff upset we've seen in a decade. More importantly: ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ-BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.
Expert Analysis: "Zach Randolph, huh? Now THERE'S a real NBA role model."
Mavericks at Oklahoma City, 8 p.m., TNT
Storylines: Yeah yeah yeah, an early battle between two teams that'll be competing for the Western Conference Championship all year. But really ... Durant and Dirk, man. Durant and Dirk.
Expert Analysis: "Dirk just wants it more. You can see it in his eyes."
Knicks at Lakers, 10:30 pm, TNT
Storylines: The Knicks are good again? Kinda!
Expert Analysis: "You expect me to believe these jokers are gonna give a hundred percent a week into the season? Sorry guys. I was born in the morning, but not yesterday morning."
Pacers at Celtics, 7:30 p.m.
Storylines: Larry Bird brings his new team to play his old team, prompting legions of Celtics fans to get wistful, boo KG and Rondo, and pine for a hard-working player like Tyler Hansbrough.
Expert Analysis: "LARRY EFFIN LEGEND ... Hey, now THERE'S a guy who worked his tail off. Never had much talent, but it didn't matter, did it? Guy just WORKED his whole life. Now? HA! You'll see a Queen James FLIP the bird before he WORKS like one."
Blazers at Suns, 10:30 p.m.
Storylines: Get a lil' Steve Nash in your life, plus some much-needed LaMarcus.
Expert Analysis: "One the players is named LAMARCUS?"
Thunder at Grizzlies, 8 p.m.
Storylines: Because last year's playoff series could have gone 77 games, and that would have been pretty much fine with everybody.
Expert Analysis: "Why does Memphis even have a basketball team? No offense to the masterminds at the NBA, but does every city on earth need a basketball team? I say send 'em all to Pluto!"
Pistons at Bobcats, 7 p.m.
Storylines: OK, so this is a game that makes me depressed.
Expert Analysis: "Not like that Lions-Panthers shootout a few weeks back."
Bulls at Celtics, 8 p.m., ESPN
Storylines: Rajon Rondo and Derrick Rose hate each other, the Bulls and Celtics will be fighting for the East all year long, and Joakim Noah screwing with KG will never not be hilarious.
Expert Analysis: "Noah's the one with the ponytail, right? What a clown."
Lakers at Heat, 8 p.m., TNT
Storylines: During last year's Heat-Lakers game in Miami, we found out Kobe is a sociopath!
Expert Analysis: "Blah blah blah Queen James and Kobe Cryant, blah blah blah. If I wanted to watch a bunch of primadonnas have a catfight on cable TV, I'd turn on that Jersey Shore crud.
Kings at Jazz, 10:30 p.m.
Storylines: Jimmer returns to Utah!
Expert Analysis: "Really curious to see how Jimmer does this year. All the sacrifices he made at BYU? Crazy! Talk about a guy who puts team first. Just worry the pros may be too selfish for a guy like Jimmer."
Bulls at Heat, 3:30 p.m., ABC
Storylines: If they don't already, it's only a matter of time before the Heat and Bulls hate each other more than any two teams in the league. Also: LeBron wants his MVP back.
Expert Analysis: "Tower Heist? Great, great flick."
Clippers at Nuggets, 8 p.m.
Storylines: After this happened last year ... MOZGOV GETS REVENGE.
Expert Analysis: "[/farts loudly] [/looks around sheepishly] [/bends over][/sniffs]"
Clippers at Magic, 7 p.m.
Storylines: Where Blake Griffin attempts to dunk on Dwight Howard for 48 minutes.
Expert Analysis: "Griffin's athletic, so what. I don't get what the big deal is. How'd his TEAM finish last year? We're supposed to act like this guy's Michael Jordan just because he can dunk?"
Thunder at Blazers, 10 p.m.
The I-5 Rivalry! No matter what happens to Greg Oden or Brandon Roy, this is the annual game that reminds Blazers fans they've have no business feeling sorry for themselves.
Expert Analysis: "You ask me, those loonies in Portland deserve the NBA circus."
Lakers at Celtics, 8 p.m., TNT
Storylines: Kobe Bryant is harassed by drunk fans for two-and-a-half hours, and a bunch of screeching Celtics fans most likely go home unhappy. Everybody wins!
Expert Analysis: "I remember back when Larry Bird played the Lakers on a broken leg. AND HE WON. You wanna talk about courage? You wanna talk about heart? LARRY LEGEND HAD HEART."
Warriors at Nuggets, 9 p.m.
Storylines: Games like this are the NBA equivalent to Arena League Football. In the best way possible.
Expert Analysis: "Meh."
Celtics at Mavericks, 8 p.m., TNT
Storylines: Does Dirk realize his title has a giant asterisk next to it? Just sayin, the Celtics have still never lost a playoff series with Kendrick Perkins.
Expert Analysis: "That Stevenson fella seems like a bad egg."
Blazers at Lakers, 10:30 p.m., TNT
Storylines: This is the year when LaMarcus eclipses Pau as the best low-post scorer in the game.
Expert Analysis: "What happened to a name like 'Larry'? Or 'Kevin'? Or, I don't know... LAMARCUS?! Why do all these clowns have to turn their name into a friggin tongue twister."
Magic at Nets, 7:30 p.m.
Storylines: Dwight Howard against his new team!
Expert Analysis: "These 'superteams' are what's wrong with pro basketball these days. Used to be guys had one team, and the true winners won titles without any help. Like Larry Bird. Did you see Larry Bird out there parading around trying to play with Magic Johnson? Of course not."
Lakers at Mavericks, 9 p.m.
Expert Analysis: "The Germans don't just make cars, you know. Turns out, they also make Champions."
All Star Saturday Night in Orlando, TNT
Storylines: Dunk contest! Other stuff! All sponsored by KIA.
Expert Analysis: "No offense, but I've got better things to do with my Saturday night than watch a bunch of clowns try dunk a basketball. Call me when one of them learns to PASS."
The 61st NBA All-Star Game in Orlando, TNT
Storylines: Who looks hungover? Will Kobe take 30 shots again? How many players will stop the game say what's up to Drake? Seriously though, Zach Randolph looks soooooo hungover.
Expert Analysis: "Tell you what, you'll never see a guy like Dustin Pedroia playing in an NBA All-Star Game. Think about that for a second."
Lakers at Wizards, 7 pm
Storylines: If Andray Blatche is the homeless man's Lamar Odom (and he absolutely is), what's the homeless man's version of Khloe Kardashian? Does Jim Buss have a daughter yet?
Expert Analysis: "What's the deal with all these airlines chargin me extra to pay for bags? It's like, we already paid for the ticket! Everything's a scam these days."
Celtics at Lakers, 3:30 pm, ABC
Storylines: This seems like the game where Andrew Bynum fractures his foot. Again.
Expert Analysis: "The Lakers and Celtics had some classics back in the '80s, but so did Bruce Springsteen. Now? Bruce is walkin and talkin like some Tibetan freedom fighter, and some guy named 'Rajon' is playing Danny Ainge's position. Times they are a changin'.
Warriors at Clippers, 9:30 pm
Storylines: Arena League NBA, but with Blake Griffin playing Slamball.
Expert Analysis: "You know I'm no basketball expert, but if Blake Griffin could set a screen now and then, his team might actually win a few games. You know who could set screens? Karl Malone. THE MAILMAN! Him and Stockton were something else, weren't they?"
Clippers at Hornets, 8 pm
Storylines: Only mentioned because it could be Chris Paul's rematch with his old team.
Expert Analysis: "This country's going to hell in a handbasket if somebody doesn't step in soon."
Mavericks at Heat, 8 pm, TNT
Storylines: The Heat will have the best record in the league at this point, the Mavs will probably be fourth in the West, and Dirk will win this game somehow, setting off a brand new round of "Can LeBron and the Heat win when it matters?" articles.
Expert Analysis: "More LeBron? Quick! Throw me an alley-oop. I need the remote."
Thunder at Lakers, 10:30 pm, TNT
Storylines: Is Kobe secretly mentoring Russell Westbrook to try and sabotage KD?
Expert Analysis: "Seriously? 10:30? Do they think we're a bunch of vampires?
Celtics at T'Wolves, 8 pm
Storylines: Rubio vs. Rondo is going to be fun for like, a solid a 10 years.
Expert Analysis: "This Ricky Rubio character sounds like an underwear model."
Kings at Jazz, 9 pm
Storylines: JIMMER'S HOMECOMING: PART DEUX
Expert Analysis: "Just a gut feeling: Jimmer's a winner."
Blazers at Clippers, 10:30 pm, ESPN
Storylines: Two Western Conference sleepers, plus the two best young fowards in basketball going one-on-one.
Expert Analysis: "What's a Clipper? Seriously, where do they come up with this stuff?
Bulls at Thunder, 1:00 pm, ABC
Storylines: Did you know Kevin Durant and Derrick Rose were born five days apart in 1988? Sure, that makes you feel old, but how bout these two Libras takin' the basketball world by storm!
Expert Analysis: "Oh man, can't wait till the Masters. Ol Lefty could take it this year!"
Heat at Celtics, 3:30 pm, ABC
Storylines: This is still f***ing hilarious.
Expert Analysis: "So if you ask LeBron for a dollar..."
T'Wolves at Blazers, 9 pm
Storylines: David Kahn returns to his old stomping grounds, gets wistful for his good ol' days as journalist, back when he was writing about how Karl Malone had psychic powers.
Expert Analysis: "This is a zoo. Sooner or later there's gonna be an NBA player who walks around calling himself, 'JaLaDeQuantez'. You guys call me old fashioned if you want, but if you're asking for my opinion, I take 'Tim Tebow' over 'LaMarcus' any day of the week."
76ers at Nets, 7:30 pm
Storylines: Possible playoff implications!
Expert Analysis: "Mikhail Prokhorov seems suspicious."
Knicks at Bulls, 9:30 pm, ESPN
Storylines: A late-season litmus test for the Knicks. Or CP3-Derrick Rose if THAT happens.
Expert Analysis: "CP3 to the Knicks? The Nets? The moon? DON'T CARE."
Heat at Bulls, 8 pm, TNT
Storylines: Again, the best rivalry in the NBA for the next five years.
Expert Analysis: "Don't go comparing Tim Tebow to Queen James, okay? The difference between Team-First and Me-First is two letters and a thousand miles of heart."
Clippers at T'Wolves, 8 pm
Storylines: No defense, Blake, Rubio, Kevin Love ... Let's do it!
Expert Analysis: "Hey, who needs defense? Why even have refs? Let's turn the whole sport into a dunk contest? Oh wait, they already did that."
Thunder at Clippers, 10:30 pm
Storylines: Blake Griffin and Kevin Durant on the same court.
Expert Analysis: "Facebook really fascinates me. What's the next step?"
Warriors at Mavericks, 8:30 pm
Storylines: Where Monta Ellis looks at Jason Terry and thinks, "Yeah. Yeah, I can win a title playing this way."
Expert Analysis: "I look at Jason Terry and think, 'Why is he waving his arms like a seven year-old?' Basketball can be fun, but at some point you gotta have some respect.'"
Clippers at Knicks, 7:30
Storylines: The BLAKE SHOW comes to MSG. Bonus points if this involves Knicks fans having to watch Chris Paul in a Clippers uniform.
Expert Analysis: "The Blake Show? Sorry, I'm more of a Leno guy."
Nuggets at Thunder, 9:30
Storylines: A reprise of the most entertaining first-round series we had last year.
Expert Analysis: "Can someone please sing a TRADITIONAL National Anthem for once? Jeez."
Lakers at Kings, 10:30
Storylines: The last game of the year.
Expert Analysis: "Oh great, the last game of the year. Can't wait to watch the playoff team bench its starters while the last place team tries to lose on purpose. Can't wait!"
... Or you know, it could be an overtime thriller where the Kings battle back from a double-digit hole in the fourth quarter, Kobe hits a three to tie it in the final seconds, and we end up with one of the most memorable games of the year. That's the beauty of the NBA; if you actually watch the games, you never know when you'll see something to remember forever ...