The NBA announced today that the ’11-12 season will tip off on Christmas Day with a five-game slate, provided the ratification of the new CBA goes smoothly. Set your holiday schedules accordingly, as TNT, ABC and ESPN will carry five games on December 25, starting with the Celtics visiting the Knicks at noon and wrapping up with Clippers at Warriors in a late-night matchup. The NBA season will feature each team playing a 66-game schedule, which will be released at a future date. The full Christmas schedule, and details, from the NBA:
Kia NBA Tip-Off ’11 will launch on TNT with one of the NBA’s oldest and most intense rivalries. The Boston Celtics, featuring their All-Star foursome of Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Rajon Rondo, visit the New York Knicks (12 p.m. ET) with their dynamic tandem of Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire. Kia Motors, the Official Automotive Partner of the NBA, is in its second consecutive season as the title partner of NBA Tip-Off.
The action then will shift to ABC for an afternoon doubleheader when in a rematch of The Finals, 2011 Finals MVP Dirk Nowitzki and All-Star Jason Kidd lead the reigning champion Dallas Mavericks against the Miami Heat and its power trio of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh in the first game (2:30 p.m. ET). Prior to tip-off, Dallas will raise its NBA championship banner. The second game features 2011 Kia NBA MVP Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls, who won a league-best 62 games last season, visiting the Los Angeles Lakers (5 p.m. ET) with perennial All-Star Kobe Bryant making his record-tying 13th Christmas Day appearance.
ESPN will round out the day with a pair of matchups. Two-time NBA scoring champion Kevin Durant leads the Oklahoma City Thunder against the Orlando Magic, which features three-time Kia NBA Defensive Player of the Year Dwight Howard (8 p.m. ET). Afterward, the Los Angeles Clippers and 2010-11 NBA Rookie of the Year Blake Griffin visit the Golden State Warriors and rookie head coach and former NBA great Mark Jackson (10:30 p.m. ET).
Game Time Network
Boston Celtics at New York Knicks 12 p.m. ET TNT
Miami Heat at Dallas Mavericks 2:30 p.m. ET ABC
Chicago Bulls at Los Angeles Lakers 5 p.m. ET ABC
Orlando Magic at Oklahoma City Thunder 8 p.m. ET ESPN
Los Angeles Clippers at Golden State Warriors 10:30 p.m. ET ESPN