It's been a year since basketball was returned to us suddenly over Thanksgiving weekend, and for that we are thankful. The lockout was stupid, cruel and petty, but now is not the time to revisit past grievances. Now is the time to rejoice in the Association and all it has given us.
We are thankful for Chris Paul lobs, Rajon Rondo dimes and Kyrie Irving bombs. We are thankful for Sheed for three and Z-bounds. Mostly we are thankful for League Pass so we can ignore our family during this joyous holiday. Here's what we'll be watching this week.
What you'll be watching: Clippers at San Antonio (8:30 p.m.)
Two questions here. One, is Chris Paul the second-best player in the league? He creates offense for himself with a minimal amount of possessions while at the same time creating chances for players like DeAndre Jordan and Caron Butler, who need all the help they can get. It's as if God and John Hollinger came together to create a perfect point guard in both substance and numerology, which is probably illegal in the state of Texas. Second, can we please get the Clipper broadcast for this one? Thanks, in advance.
What the Twitterati will be watching: Denver at Memphis (8 p.m.)
Grit and grind versus run and gun with enough hot buttered Kenneth Faried versus Z-Bo (Zach Randolph) action to make you delay those holiday travel plans.
League Pass After Dark: Houston at Utah (9 p.m.)
I'm intrigued by the Utah big lineup as much as anyone, but what does Alec Burks have to do get some run around here?
What you'll be watching: New York at New Orleans (8 p.m.)
There are only three games, so it's either this or an episode of Nature in which Paul Giamatti narrates the world of ducks.
What the Twitterati will be watching: Toronto at Philadelphia (7 p.m.)
Andrew Bynum has gone from foolish to fool right quick, but the perpetually broken big man did raise a good point: If his knees gave out trying to pick up a 7-10 split, how would they hold up when he tried to dunk on Jonas Valanciunus? A lot will be said about the danger of investing in immature young players, but fragile 7-footers have been a basketball theme forever. The Sixers knew the risks when they made the deal and I'd be willing to bet they'd still do it again.
League Pass After Dark: Brooklyn at Lakers (10:30 p.m.)
All hail Mike D'Antoni who is living Phil Jackson's dream by coaching practices and letting Bernie Bickerstaff handle the games. The Lakers might go for 130 against the Nets' porous interior defense. Why, it's almost as if the Lakers have really good players. Crazy.
What you'll be watching: Clippers at Oklahoma City (7:30 p.m.)
There are 14 games on Thanksgiving Eve, which should be enough to wear you out long before the tryptophan kicks in. But this right here is what you call appointment viewing. With the obvious, and very large exception of Kevin Durant, is there one matchup that you would give the definitive edge to the Thunder?
What the Twitterati will be watching: San Antonio at Boston (7:30 p.m.)
This is one of my favorite underrated rivalries in the league. Doc Rivers has always cited Gregg Popovich as one of his coaching influences and there's a good chance one of them will be the next Olympic coach in 2016. You have Tony Parker, who should have been drafted by Boston -- known locally as the time Chris Wallace let Red take Joe Forte. Then there's Kevin Garnett versus Tim Duncan, who aren't exactly the best of friends. By the way, Rajon Rondo's assist streak is about the seventh-most interesting thing about his game, but whatever.
League Pass After Dark: Brooklyn at Golden State (10:30 p.m.)
I'm still not buying the Nets as a legit contender until their defense improves, but Andray Blatche is turning me into a believer. Yes, that sentence exists.
What you'll be watching: Football
Didn't we vote Kid Rock out of the Thanksgiving halftime show?
What you'll be watching: New York at Houston (8 p.m.)
Sometimes things work out the way they should, and while I was in the camp that the Knicks were batshit insane to let Jeremy Lin walk, it's best for all involved that Lin has the chance to develop far, far away from the unrelenting glare of the NYC tabloids. I don't have any idea if Lin will ultimately be worth the $25 million he got out of Darryl Morey, but I'm pretty sure he was being set up to fail in New York. And, it's worked out better for the Knicks than anyone thought possible. So just enjoy what you have and play nice.
What the Twitterati will be watching: Lakers at Memphis (8 p.m.)
One time when Tony Allen was in Boston, I asked him about guarding Kobe Bryant. His response: "What you don't understand is I just want to play." Yeah, but T.A., this is a big matchup, "Man, I just want to play." Thus concluded the interview.
League Pass After Dark: Minnesota at Portland (10 p.m.)
Brandon Roy is having knee surgery this week, which is awful and sad, but still not as awful and sad as ending a career before its time. If Roy thought he had anything left to give he owed it to himself to find out because the only thing worse than a life without knee cartilage is a life filled with regret.
What you'll be watching: Cleveland at Miami (7:30 p.m.)
Do people still care about this?
What the Twitterati will be watching: Chicago at Milwaukee (9 p.m.)
If the Bucks were on the West Coast we'd call them the Warriors. They're playing at a breakneck pace with a funky point guard, way too many bigs who may or may not be any good and that's before we mention Dub alums Monta Ellis and Epke Udoh. The Bulls will muck it up because that's what the Bulls do, but Milwaukee is the sneakiest-fun team in the league.
League Pass After Dark: Utah at Sacramento (10 p.m.)
The first NBA game I ever attended in person was on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. There was a huge crowd at the Meadowlands because if the Nets won, all fans in attendance could redeem their ticket stub for a free White Castle hamburger. These were huge stakes. I also vaguely remember Chris Dudley making a free throw that helped the Nets win and a 5-mile backup off the Turnpike to get one of those delicious free burgers. All of that is to suggest that I have nothing to say about this game.
What you'll be watching: New Orleans at Denver (8 p.m.)
Everyone wants to talk about Portland's Damian Lillard as the league's best rookie, but Anthony Davis is very quietly averaging 16 and 8 and posting a PER of 25.8. The Hornets are still a long way from being good, but Davis is going to take them there, whether Eric Gordon is along for the ride.
What the Twitterati will be watching: Phoenix at Philadelphia (6 p.m.)
Paul Coro, ace beat reporter for the Arizona Republic, notes that Michael Beasley is dealing with a sore pinky. That's the main reason why Beasley's shooting has gone in the tank, but he racked up nine assists in a loss to the Lakers. Hence the following quote from Super Cool Beas: "I was just making the logical decision and playing the game of basketball." That feels like a good place to end this week.