If the NBA lockout lifts, the Celtics will reportedly visit the New York Knicks on Christmas Day. (Barbara Barker, Twitter)
Knicks to host the Celtics on Xmas day, league source tells me. Provided, of course, there is a season.
Last year, the Celtics played the Miami Heat on opening night and the Magic on Christmas Day (an Eastern Conference Finals rematch). The year before that, the C’s played Lebron’s Cavs on opening night and the Orlando Magic on Christmas (when Orlando was the defending Eastern Conference champion). Am I crazy to think scheduling Boston to play the Knicks on Christmas — in New York, no less — means the league expects the Celtics to fade into mediocrity?
Maybe I am. Perhaps the NBA just wants to capitalize on the two biggest East Coast markets and some of the league’s most intriguing matchups (Amare Stoudemire vs. Kevin Garnett, Carmelo Anthony vs. Paul Pierce and Chauncey Billups vs. Rajon Rondo). The game would surely draw a good rating if it’s played, which I guess is the point. And playing it at Madison Square Garden can’t hurt the buzz.
But facts are facts: the Knicks were the 6th seed in the Eastern Conference last season and got swept in the first round of the playoffs (by the Celtics, no less). After a few seasons of playing the league’s marquee games against the league’s most competitive opponents, the Celtics are scheduled to play the mediocre Knicks on Christmas Day . . . and the C’s don’t even get to host the game. Maybe that’s not a slap in the face from the NBA schedule makers. Maybe it just makes the most sense for the TV guys. But it sure feels like a slap in the face.
Am I crazy for thinking that?
P.S. – If the league thinks Boston is no longer a contender, the league might be right.
Damn it, I have to go. I need to grab a box of tissues, eat twelve gallons of ice cream and listen to “Song Cry” on repeat.