CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 21: Santa Claus performs during the game between the Chicago Bulls and the Philadelphia 76ers on December 21, 2010 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls won 121-76. Copyright 2010 NBAE (Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)
The NBA isn't committed enough to Basketball On Christmas. We need more. The Hook presents its 15-game Christmas schedule. You're up, Newfoundland.
The NBA will unveil its full 2012-13 schedule Thursday evening. SBNation.com will have full coverage. Eyes will be drawn immediately to a couple of places from the national perspective, and tops on that list will be Christmas Day. This is what the NBA wants. The NBA wants us all to write lots of stories about the Christmas games. It's the league's hallmark "casual fan" day, so every bit of promotion helps. That's why the Christmas schedule always leaks out. That's why the league doesn't mind debates on whether Basketball On Christmas is ruining America. It's all free promotion.
I have come to not only accept, but to embrace the NBA's greatest excesses long ago, Basketball On Christmas chief among them. In fact, I'm of the mind that the NBA isn't committed enough to the whole Basketball On Christmas deal. Have you ever tried to watch A Christmas Story eight straight times? Have you sat in front of that damn TV firelog for more than five minutes? We don't need less basketball, no. We need more. The NBA helps entertain those who need their fix from noon to midnight ET on Christmas Day. But what about those of us who need a fix on Christmas Eve while trying to assemble contraptions deceivingly referred to as "toys"? What about those of us stumbling in from Midnight Mass? Or the folks who have to work during prime Christmas basketball hours? What is the NBA doing for us?
I'm here to help. Here is my 15-game proposed schedule for Christmas Eve and Christmas. All times ET. You're welcome, NBA.
1:30 p.m.: Magic at Pacers
The white collar special. Most office workers get to leave early on Christmas Eve -- haven't you ever seen A Christmas Carol? -- so they need something to ease them into the holiday. A little Dwight Howard-Roy Hibbert dance will do.
4 p.m.: Suns at Hornets
The Robin Lopez Game! I actually just look forward to the personal battle between Austin Rivers and Kendall Marshall. (Note: I don't actually look forward to anything from this game.)
6:30 p.m.: Nuggets at Jazz
You can never go wrong with two potential eight seeds or JaVale McGee.
9:00 p.m.: Mavericks vs. Spurs in Mexico City
Did I say Mexico City? I meant outdoors in Mexico City, at Estadio Azteca. I don't think we can get 100,000 people to watch Mavs-Spurs live outdoors, but I'm willing to try.
11:30 p.m.: Blazers at Warriors
I'm convinced that the NBA scheduled Blazers vs. Warriors for the late night game about 14 times last year and no one noticed.
2 a.m.: Timberwolves vs. Wizards in Prague
Minnesota has Alexey Shved and possibly Andrei Kirilenko. Do Russian fans travel? Would Russian fans travel to see them? Let's find out! The Wizards have the league's only two Czechs, Jan Vesely and Tomas Satoransky. Vesely has been entertaining enough off the court for me to deeply value the Czech Republic's potential contributions to the league. Let's hook those kids.
4:30 a.m.: Bobcats vs. Kings aboard the U.S.S. Carl Vinson in the Persian Gulf with fireworks set to go off whenever a player makes a jump shot [note: not many fireworks will be required]
How you feel about this matchup says everything I need to know about you as a person.
7 a.m.: Cavaliers at Raptors in St. John's, Newfoundland
St. John's is 90 minutes ahead of Eastern Time, so we aren't making Kyrie Irving and friends wake up as early as it seems. But a game on the easternmost point in North America seems appropriate if we're trying to fit in as many games as possible with as little overlap as possible. NBA scheduling really is a logistical nightmare!
9:30 a.m.: 76ers at Hawks
The official "let's go back to bed" game. A victim of the overnight Bobcats vs. Kings extravaganza.
Noon: Bulls at Celtics
If Derrick Rose isn't back by Christmas, I demand we get the Coachella folks to hand over Hologram Derrick Rose. (Note: Hologram Derrick Rose would definitely be the second best guard on the Bulls, and would probably shoot better than Rondo.)
2:30 p.m.: Rockets at Knicks
Just edging Rockets-Bulls here. I have a hunch the catcalls for Jeremy Lin will be slightly larger than they'd have been for Omer Asik. This will also mark the day from which the New York Post's back page can never recover.
2:30 p.m.: Grizzlies at Thunder
This is the game scheduled for 2:30 that people will actually want to watch for basketball reasons instead of soap opera values.
5 p.m.: Lakers at Clippers
Nash vs. CP3. Blake vs. Bynum. Kobe vs. everyone, including himself. Vinny vs. Mike. L.A. vs. L.A. This is pure entertainment.
7:30 p.m.: Heat at Nets
Knicks at Nets is an easy pick, but we're apparently getting that on opening night. For our day of ultimate basketball excess, let's have ultimate basketball excess meet ultimate basketball excess in a palace of ultimate basketball excess.
10 p.m.: Pistons at Bucks in Seattle
"Oh yeah, Seattle. You really want NBA basketball back? PROVE IT. Sell out this game."
It's not perfect, but how could it be? The Pistons and Hawks and Raptors all exist. If the NBA doesn't go all the way, it's not serving all of its customers. Don't do it halfway, David Stern. Go all the way. Give us what we need: 35 straight hours of basketball on our biggest holiday.
The Hook is a daily NBA column by Tom Ziller. See the archives.