Monday, December 26, 2011

#LeaguePassAlert: Top Games for Dec. 26-Jan. 1


NBA League Pass is one of the greatest inventions of our time. You get to watch all the out-of-market games (in HD, depending on your provider) and the TV service is bundled with a broadband option that allows you to watch up to four games at once, plus watch replays of full games the next day. This year, the service even includes the mobile option, allowing you to watch games on your phone or iPad.

For me, this means that with my setup at home (one TV, two computers, two mobile phones, one iPad), I could conceivably watch every NBA game simultaneously all season long, since I don't think there's a single timeslot this year that has more than 12 games being played.

Realistically, though, if you try to pay attention to more than two games at once, you eventually aren't really watching any of them. So with that in mind, I've decided to go through the schedule and pick the top 1 or 2 League Pass games every night (for the purposes of this weekly feature, "League Pass Games" includes any game not on ABC, ESPN, TNT or NBATV. Some of these games will be blacked out in my area or yours due to being local games, but I'm not accounting for that.).

Monday, Dec. 26

Nets at Wizards, 7 ET
Deron Williams vs. John Wall. Need I say more?

Oklahoma City Thunder at Minnesota Timberwolves, 8 ET
If you didn't get enough of OKC on opening night, you get a second look on Monday. But let's be honest, everyone's tuning in to this one for the NBA regular-season debut of Ricky Rubio. I'm thinking 8 points, 9 assists, 2 steals, 2 passes into the 4th row.

Monday's national games: Rockets at Magic (7 ET, NBA TV), Lakers at Kings (10 ET, NBA TV)

Tuesday, Dec. 27

Hawks at Nets, 7:30 ET
Outside of the national slate, it's slim pickings on Tuesday, so if you're not watching the TNT games, why not check out Hawks-Nets. It's the first game of the night, and the first time we'll get to see Atlanta this season.

Tuesday's national games: Celtics at Heat (8 ET, TNT), Jazz at Lakers (10:30 ET, TNT)
Wednesday, Dec. 28

Clippers at Spurs, 8:30 ET
Even though the national TV schedule was set before the Clippers acquired Chris Paul, the Clippers are on national TV 23 times this season, so they won't show up on League Pass as often as you'd think. But when they do, don't miss a chance to check out Lob City.

Wednesday's national games: Thunder at Grizzlies (8 ET, NBA TV), Knicks at Warriors (10:30 ET, NBA TV)

Thursday, Dec. 29


Nuggets at Trail Blazers, 10 ET
Once again the best games are on national TV, which is to be expected. Nets-Magic might have been intriguing had Brook Lopez been playing -- or if Dwight Howard had already been traded -- but in leiu of that, take some time to check out Nuggets-Blazers, a pair of teams who should be in the playoff mix out west.

Thursday's national games: Mavericks at Thunder (8 ET, TNT), Knicks at Lakers (10:30 ET, TNT)

Friday, Dec. 30


Heat at Timberwolves, 8 ET
Given what we saw from the Heat on Christmas Day, I'm not sure you're going to want to skip any of their games, even against inferior opponents. Assuming Miami's "Oregon" offense is firing on all cylindars and this one turns into a blowout, you can always flip over to what should be a competitive Rockets-Grizzlies game (also tipping at 8 ET).

Friday's national games: Suns at Hornets (8 ET, NBA TV), Bulls at Clippers (10:30 ET, NBA TV)

Saturday, Dec. 31
Nuggets at Lakers, 3:30 ET
With the shortening of his suspension, Andrew Bynum will be making his 2011-12 season debut in this game. It'll also mark the end of a 5-in-7 stretch for the Lakers (one that becomes a 6-in-8 on Sunday), so Denver could be primed for an upset.

Saturday's national game: Jazz at Spurs (8:30 ET, NBA TV)

Sunday, Jan. 1

Grizzlies at Bulls, 8 ET
By catching the Lakers and Nuggets on Saturday, you free up your Sunday to skip the rematch in Denver and watch last season's MVP take on the darlings of the 2011 playoffs.

Sunday's national game: Celtics at Wizards (6 ET, NBA TV)

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