The NBA schedule will be released in about a week, but some of the marquee games are beginning to leak. Christmas Day has evolved into the most important day of the NBA regular season, and for the past two seasons the Los Angeles Clippers have played the Golden State Warriors, a burgeoning rivalry between two teams that harbor intense dislike for one another.
But in 2013 and 2014 it was the upstart Warriors challenging the more established Clippers -- that all changed last June when the Warriors won the NBA Title. So the league is apparently going with a Finals rematch of the Warriors versus the Cavaliers on Christmas Day. It's hard to argue with that decision -- interconference games happen just twice a season, so the Warriors and Cavs will be a more scarce commodity. Plus, you know, Stephen Curry and LeBron James.
Although there have been no specific leaks regarding the Clippers (the only other game that's been reported is the Heat and the Pelicans) it is almost certain that the LAC will be on the Christmas Day slate. The Clippers have been a national TV fixture on Christmas ever since Chris Paul joined Blake Griffin in LA, and that's not about to change -- not with the Clippers featuring what figures to be their best ever team. There's also the simple matter of time zones. Assuming the Warriors game is aired at a coveted time slot in the middle of the day, there really aren't any decent Pacific Time Zone teams to showcase in the late game.
The Lakers remain de rigeur on Christmas despite being terrible. This could be Kobe Bryant's last go 'round and he'll be chasing lots of records, so they'll be all over the national TV schedule all season. A Christmas night Battle of LA is a pretty decent choice.
Or the league could go for broke and schedule the Clippers against the Mavericks. If they can manipulate the schedule such that it's the first meeting of the season between the teams, the first time they will face each other since DeAndre Jordan broke Chandler Parson's heart, that would qualify as must-see TV. I'm not sure how the NBA will be able to resist it. The only downside is that the Mavs wouldn't otherwise make the cut, and there simply may not be enough games to get them on there.
As they say on TV, stay tuned. We'll know soon enough.