ESPN and ABC are heavily promoting their five Christmas Day NBA games, including the Oklahoma City Thunder at the New York Knicks at 1:30 p.m. on ABC. Unfortunately for NBA fans, the five telecasts aren't nearly as attractive as when they were scheduled because of injuries to stars Derrick Rose and Kobe Bryant and subpar play from the Knicks and Brooklyn Nets.
“Those things are done way ahead of time,” ESPN/ABC analyst Jeff Van Gundy said on a recent conference call. “You just hope for the best matchups. Unfortunately, the Derrick Rose injury puts Chicago in a tough spot. Brooklyn and New York have not played particularly well. ... But I still think people will watch. It's Christmas Day, and people still care deeply about the Bulls and about the Knicks, even though they haven't played particularly well of late.”
The Thunder-Knicks game will be the second of five telecasts. Mike Breen, Hubie Brown and reporter Lisa Salters will call the game from Madison Square Garden.
The rest of the TV lineup and announcers:
*11 a.m., Chicago at Brooklyn, ESPN: Ryan Ruocco, Doris Burke, reporter Chris Broussard.
*4 p.m., Miami Heat at L.A. Lakers, ABC: Mike Tirico, Jeff Van Gundy, reporter Heather Cox.
*7 p.m., Houston at San Antonio, ESPN: Mark Jones, George Karl, reporter Israel Gutierrez.
*9:30 p.m., L.A. Clippers at Golden State, ESPN: Dave Pasch, Jon Barry, reporter J.A. Adande.
Grammy-nominated recording artist Leona Lewis will lend her voice to the telecasts. Lewis' rendition of “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday,” from her first holiday album, “Christmas, With Love,” will be featured prominently before each game.
TOP SEC TELECASTS FEATURED
CBS Sports Network is counting down the top 10 SEC on CBS telecasts ever from 7 p.m. Thursday through New Year's Eve. The list, selected by a panel of experts, includes seven Alabama games.
* No. 10, Alabama at Texas A&M (Sept. 14, 2013), 7 p.m. Thursday. Alabama got revenge on Texas A&M with a 49-42 win in College Station behind AJ McCarron's four passing touchdowns.
* No. 8, LSU at Alabama (Nov. 5, 2011), 4 p.m. Saturday. The “Game of the Century” didn't feature any touchdowns, but it had an exciting finish as LSU won 9-6 on a 25-yard field goal in overtime.