This wasn’t how the NBA schedule-makers envisioned Christmas Day.
When they pitted the Lakers and Heat, they had visions of LeBron James going head-to-head with Kobe Bryant at Staples Center. Instead, they’ll likely get LeBron versus. . . . Wesley Johnson?
When they pitted the Bulls and the Nets, they had visions of Derrick Rose crossing over Deron Williams at Barclays Center. Instead, they’ll settle for Williams versus. . . . D.J. Augustin?
When they pitted the Spurs and the Rockets, they had visions of James Harden pulling the Euro step on Euro step king Manu Ginobili. Instead, Ginobili could be Eurostepping . . . Francisco Garcia?
And when pitted the Thunder against the Knicks, they had visions of a scoring duel between Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony. Instead, the crowd at Madison Square Garden could see Durant versus . . . Iman Shumpert?
Unfortunately for the league, injuries are playing tricks on them. The injury bug bit Rose (torn meniscus, out for the season) and Kobe (knee fracture, out six weeks) hard, while Harden and Anthony are game-time decisions because of sprained ankles. That’s two former league MVPs definitely out, and possibly the reigning scoring champion and former sixth man of the year missing from the NBA Christmas showcase.
The Knicks star left Monday night’s win against the Orlando Magic, and Mike Woodson told ESPN radio that the team will closely monitor his status.
“We got to weigh it out,” Woodson said. “He came in and got treatment today and he’ll get treatment through probably the evening and then tomorrow when he wakes up and comes in we’ll have to assess it at that time.”
The Lakers may have the worst luck when it comes to injuries. Aside from Kobe’s broken bone in his kneecap, Steve Nash has only appeared in a handful of games due to nerve damage to his neck. His two backups, Steve Blake and Jordan Farmar, are also out. Blake is dealing with a torn ligament in his elbow, while Farmar has a bad hamstring.
Mike D’Antoni is so fed up with the injuries he told Lakers Nation to follow another ballclub. He later apologized for that temporary lapse in judgment.
The sprained ankle monster nearly swallowed LeBron. But league honchos David Stern and Adam Silver can rest easy because The King isn’t expected to miss the Heat’s game in L.A. If LeBron were to miss the Christmas Day game, the NBA might was well cancel the rest of the schedule.
On a much, much, much smaller scope, J.J. Redick will miss the Clippers-Warriors matchup. Had to throw that in there to keep the theme going. Good news is, the Splash Brothers, Chris and Cliff Paul, Blake Griffin and the Griffin Force are all healthy so the nightcap could live up to the hype.
Joel Huerto is the editor and publisher of OneManFastBreak.net. Follow him on Twitter @onemanfastbreak.