December 21, 2011
NBA's TV schedule for India released: Here are the must-watch games
Yes, yes, my fellow NBA fans in Hindustan - or as I like to dub them, my fellow 'Hoopistanis'! - the NBA has finally released the live TV broadcast schedule for games in India. Rarely do early mornings excite me so, but it's time to get ready for a shortened season full of rising before the sun and NBA breakfasts!
Like last season, live games in India will once again be shown on Ten Sports & Sony PIX this year, as well as one game being streamed live per week on NBA.com/India. Bookmark this page for the full broadcast schedule of NBA games in India this season.
At this point, the NBA will be showing four live games on TV every week in India and an additional game streamed live on the NBA-India website. After the opening night blitz, PIX is scheduled to show live games on Thursday and Saturday morning, while Ten Sports will show games on Friday and Sunday morning. I'm optimistic that the game frequency will increase as the regular season progresses: by the end of last season, I remember that the TV channels in India were showing six live NBA games per week!
As you may already know by now, the NBA season starts with an absolute BANG on Christmas Day to help make up for the Lockout Dark Ages this offseason. Five games are scheduled on the NBA calender on December 25th, two of which will be shown in India. The first game of the year? Boston Celtics vs. my beloved New York Knicks on Ten Sports, live from the world's most famous arena, the Madison Square Garden, on Christmas Night. Yes, the last time I received a Christmas present so awesome was when my mother/Santa got me He-Man's Castle Grayskull toy in 1989. A few hours later, in the wee hours of the morning of December 26th, PIX will be showing two of the most historically popular franchises open their season against each other: Bulls @ Lakers!
If you're like me, you're probably going to try and watch as many live games as possible this year. But if you can't, here is my list of can't-miss NBA regular season games to be shown on PIX and Ten Sports live this year:
December 25th 10:30 PM: Celtics @ Knicks (Ten Sports) - Can it get any better for me as a Knicks and an NBA fan? The first game this season features my favourite team, freshly rebooted with the addition NBA champion Center Tyson Chandler from the Mavs, taking on one of the NBA's most stories franchises, the Celtics. There are enough Celtic fans in India to enjoy this matchup: Rondo, Ray, KG and Pierce versus Melo, Amare, and Chandler. But this game is more than an exciting start to the season: with the Knicks getting stronger and the Celtics getting older, this could be a big statement to determine who becomes the best team in the Atlantic Division. Remember, it was Boston who swept the Knicks in the first round of last season's playoffs. Will the Knicks beat their most immediate division rivals and announce their place amongst the contenders? Or will the Celtics show the world that they haven't grown too old just yet?
December 26th 3:30 AM: Bulls @ Lakers (PIX) - One team on the rise, is the other on the fall? The league's reigning MVP Derrick Rose takes his squad to the Staples Center to take on the Kobe and the Lakers. All eyes will be on how Lakers will respond to their strange off-season, where they lost the legendary coach Phil Jackson, didn't get Chris Paul, traded away an unhappy Lamar Odom, and are still mulling about sending out Andrew Bynum in exchange for Dwight Howard. Bynum won't play this game - suspended for his JJ Barea clothesline from last season - but it will be a chance for Kobe and Gasol to show they have enough in their tank. Plus, it will be the regular season debut of a man named Metta World Peace or formerly, Ron Artest. Chicago were the league's best regular season team last year. Can D-Rose set a positive tone for this season with a win on opening night?
December 30th 6:30 AM: Mavericks @ Thunder (Ten Sports) - A rematch of last year's conference finals and your first look at the reigning NBA champions Mavericks and the Finals MVP Dirk Nowitzki. We'll get to see how the Mavs carry themselves with the target of being champions, especially now that they're without Chandler and Barea, but reloaded with Lamar Odom and Vince Carter. On the other side, you have OKC Thunder, everyone's favourite young team who is now a year older and a year wiser. To rise to become the best in the west, the Thunder has to go through the Mavs - are they up to it yet?
December 31st 9 AM: Bulls @ Clippers (PIX) - Your first look at the new look Clippers, plus an excellent battle between the NBA's two best point guards, Derrick Rose vs. Chris Paul. This game is sure to be a firecracker, and what a way to say goodbye to 2011!
January 20th 6:30 AM: Lakers @ Heat (Ten Sports) - Kobe vs. LeBron. Did I say Kobe vs. LeBron? I don't think any further selling points are needed. But if you need another, then there's Dwyane Wade, too.
January 26th 9 AM: Clippers @ Lakers (PIX) - The New Battle of Los Angeles. For the first time in like, ever, both LA teams are strong. Are Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and the Clippers good enough to defeat the bigger brothers? Expect real fireworks and the start of a great rivalry of two exciting teams who share the same home court. Plus, remember that Chris Paul was nearly a Laker. This is gonna be epic.
January 27th 6:30 AM Celtics @ Magic (Ten Sports) - Will Dwight Howard still be a Magic player by this game? (what do you call a Magic player, anyways? A magician?) How will the old Celtics be dealing with a packed, grueling schedule this time of the year? I have many questions - this game will answer some.
February 23rd 7:30 AM: Warriors @ Suns (PIX) - Don't bother waking up for this if you like defense.
March 30th 5:30 AM: Mavericks @ Heat (Ten Sports) - After opening night, this will be the second match-up of the season between the last 2 NBA finalists. What is interesting is that this game falls so late in the season, and thus, a lot will be at stake. Depending on how the regular seasons are proceeding for the two teams, this game could even determine home court advantage if the two teams are to meet in the Finals again. I'll have my eye on how LeBron responds to his awful performances versus the Mavs in the Finals. Will Dirk/Terry/Marion etc still hold the psychological advantage over him?
April 21st 7:30 AM: Thunder @ Kings (PIX) - This could be a battle between two teams on the opposite ends of the spectrum in the Western conference, but it will also be a battle between two very exciting young teams. Thunder you know all about, but I'm excited for the Kings for this upcoming year: between Tyreke Evans, DeMarcus Cousins, and the newly-added rookie Jimmer Fredette, the Kings will at least entertain (even when they lose).
I am also happy to announce that I will be back as a feature writer for NBA.com/India this season, and will be reviewing a lot of the games that I watch live here. What games are you most looking forward to watching this year?