The NBA is off to one of its most compelling, intriguing and entertaining regular season starts ever and as the calendar turns from 2010 to 2011, the drama that is encompassed in the league on a nightly basis will only continue to intensify as the year progresses.
Two cable television networks that are commonly associated with their coverage of the NBA, ESPN and TNT, are reporting increased ratings of 30 percent from last year's totals at this time.
On opening night, the Heat and Celtics drew a 5.6 overnight rating, up 75 percent from the 2009 opener between Boston and Cleveland. It was the most-viewed opening night game on TNT and the overall rating shares were up 125 percent from 2008.
In addition, the featured Dec. 25 contest between the Heat and Lakers drew a 6.4—the highest-rated regular season game since '04, when Miami and Los Angeles met on Christmas Day.
The league also announced that the five-game lineup on Christmas Day on ESPN and ABC posted its highest cumulative audience ever. Ratings increased by 45 percent on ABC from last year and 20 percent on ESPN.
The first two months of the season have been quite the roller coaster. We went from dubbing the Celtics and Lakers as hands-down favorites to win the Finals to now having six or seven teams with a seemingly legitimate chance of claiming the championship.
Miami couldn't live up to the hype surrounding their epic offseason...for the first month of the season at least. Now the Heat have reeled off 16 wins in 17 games and suddenly look like the juggernaut many expected them to be.
John Wall and Blake Griffin appeared to be neck-and-neck in their Rookie of the Year battle, but injuries have slowed down Wall and Griffin's incredible performance over the last month now has him featured as the Association's next superstar.
These are just a few examples of the ups-and-downs that both individuals and teams have experienced from October to December. Many more are sure to come in the next calendar year. So let's take a look at some regular and postseason storylines that you won't want to miss heading into 2011.