NBA Disrespects Bucks With 2021 Christmas Schedule

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The NBA released the ten teams that will be playing on Christmas, the unofficial opening day of the season. The Christmas day schedule features a playoff rematch, both conference champions from last season, and other 2022 NBA Finals favorites. The one problem is that the league dissed the champions from last season to placate the fanbase of teams who may not even reach the Finals. 

December 25th will be the kickoff for the NBA season in Madison Square Garden as the New York Knicks host the Atlanta Hawks in a “revenge” matchup from last season playoff series. Of course, it would take several “Christmas Day” wins over Atlanta for the Knicks to purge the bitter taste of defeat the Hawks gave them last postseason, but rest assured that the NBA will do their best to convince you Atlanta struggled to win their playoff matchup and New York is in the driver’s seat in this game. Not exactly Ali/Frasier, but for noon Eastern Time it’s an OK game to start off with.

The day’s second game proves 1 thing:

  1. There is still a lack of respect for the Milwaukee Bucks.

The fact that the Bucks are being pushed into the schedule at this time slot (2:30?!) instead of later in the day is a complete sign of disrespect to the franchise and the league’s best player Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Would it have killed the NBA to let the Bucks enjoy Christmas morning and play this game later in the afternoon, even if they didn’t want them on in primetime. Or was the NBA worried that a Browns/Packers matchup would overshadow them in the television ratings, so they opted to have Giannis Antetokounmpo start his game two hours earlier. Either way, this doesn’t say much for the NBA when it comes to how they view their best player and the reigning champs.

Not to be outdone, not even the Western Conference champion Phoenix Suns can get a primetime game this season, as they are stuck in the middle of the day’s five-game schedule as they host the Golden State Warriors shortly after the NFL kicks off their doubleheader. The Suns, as you might remember, went from leading 2-0 to never winning another game and losing the NBA Finals to Milwaukee; yet Phoenix lands the later Christmas Day game.

True, the Suns might be the sacrificial lamb for the NBA since they are going head’s up against the better of the two NFL games that day, but there’s no reason why the Suns couldn’t rise at noon and let the Bucks have the later tip-off time. Clearly the NBA believes Golden State/Phoenix is a better game than Celtics/Bucks is; but if it is, it the league’s fault, not the players involved in the game.

Going head-to-head with the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts and Arizona Cardinals primetime game are the Brooklyn Nets and the Los Angeles Lakers in what is surely going to be billed as a “Finals’ preview.” While it remains to be seen if either of these teams will make good on their status of betting favorites to reach the Finals, putting these teams on at 8:00 PM ET is lazy, and is the NBA’s best effort to avoid being blown away in the ratings by having teams from NY and LA square off. Because by having two teams who didn’t make the conference finals last year in this time slot it’s only about geography. 

The final game of the day, Mavericks at Jazz, is further proof that three games is enough on Christmas Day, with four or five games only pushing things too far for anyone other than hardcore basketball fans. I, for one know that spending 12 hours watching basketball in December is not happening for me and having the Mavericks play the Jazz is not necessary on Christmas Day. 

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