You could easily talk me into the Nets getting a Christmas Day game, but they don't deserve to play the Celtics. The Celtics should be reserved for a more marquee matchup.
And if you read the headline, you know that matchup should be against the Lakers.
Why? Well there are several reasons.
First of all, it's the best rivalry in basketball. Wilt vs. Russell, Magic vs. Bird, Kobe vs. Garnett—we've seen countless amazing matchups between these two legendary teams. At this point, the two are even more recognizable together than they are apart.
Putting the Celtics in New York last year made sense because the Knicks were finally back on the map, and in years past, the Lakers have been locked into games with LeBron James.
For the first time since 2008, the Lakers and Celtics are both available.
And considering the tuneups both teams have made, I'd say having them play each other would be a good test of how much they really improved.
The Lakers added Steve Nash and Antawn Jamison, and may very well bring in Dwight Howard. The Celtics meanwhile have completely revitalized their bench with Jason Terry, Courtney Lee, Jeff Green and Jared Sullinger. Both teams are better than they were last year.
Finally, imagine the ratings bonanza of having the league's two highest profile franchises playing in the second most important game of the day.
It's really quite simple. The NBA should have waited until Christmas for a Knicks-Nets "battle for New York" game (which every New Yorker would have watched considering how surprisingly big this rivalry has gotten), then had the Lakers play the Celtics in a prelude to their marquee matchup of the day: Heat-Thunder.
Doesn't that slate sound more appealing to you than Celtics-Nets then Lakers-Knicks? It sure does to me.
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