Around the Association: NBA on Christmas Day, Morant is Back (But Memphis Fans Aren't Happy?), Half of LeBron's Life, More

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Around the Association: NBA on Christmas Day, Morant is Back (But Memphis Fans Aren’t Happy?), Half of LeBron’s Life, More

Chicago Bulls

We’re just a few days from Christmas and one of the coolest sports holiday viewing experiences of the year, the NBA, on Christmas Day! That is if COVID doesn’t manage to ruin it. For now, everything is a go on Christmas Day, but the NBA has warned the teams involved to be ready for potential changes in the next few days if necessary.

NBA on Christmas Day (or Not?)

NBA on Christmas Day is the hoops equivalent of the NFL on Thanksgiving, a yearly tradition; COVID will once again impact that like everything else in life. The NBA has told teams to be prepared for game times to shift as late as Christmas Eve, according to Adrian Wojnarowski.

Wojnarowski goes on to report that filling the ABC windows of 1:30 (ct), 5:00 (ct), and 8:00 (ct) are the priorities for the league. As it stands right now, there are ten teams scheduled to play. Here’s what the schedule looks like for the time being:

•   11:00 AM (CT): Atlanta Hawks vs. New York Knicks (ABC)
•   1:30 PM (CT): Boston Celtics vs. Milwaukee Bucks (ABC)
•   4:00 PM (CT): Golden State Warriors vs. Pheonix Suns (ABC)
•   7:00 PM (CT): Brooklyn Nets vs. Los Angeles Lakers (ABC)
•   9:30 PM (CT): Dallas Mavericks vs. Utah Jazz (ESPN)

So, as it stands, we have five games for our viewing pleasure on Christmas Day, and by the sounds of the NBA’s memo, we’ll have at least three in the trio of ABC time slots that they’re placing importance on if COVID issues force the league to postpone games during the holiday. To this point, the NBA has postponed seven games due to COVID, and there are more than 70 players in the NBA’s Health & Safety Protocols at the time of publishing.

As far as the Christmas Day games are concerned, here’s a list of players on the teams involved currently in the protocols with the date that they entered in parentheses:

•   Atlanta Hawks: Clint Capela (Dec. 21), Danilo Gallinari (Dec. 21), Trae Young (Dec. 19)
•   New York Knicks: Miles McBride (Dec. 18), Immanuel Quickley (Dec. 17), Kevin Knox II (Dec. 16), Quentin Grimes (Dec. 14), R.J. Barrett (Dec. 12), Obi Toppin (Dec. 11)
•   Boston Celtics: Josh Richardson (Dec. 19), Brodric Thomas (Dec. 18), Jabari Parker (Dec. 16), Al Horford (Dec. 17), Grant Williams (Dec. 17), Juancho Hernagomez (Dec. 17)
•   Milwaukee Bucks: Bobby Portis (Dec. 16), Giannis Antetokounmpo (Dec. 14), Donte DiVincenzo (Dec. 14), Wesley Matthews (Dec. 14)
•   Golden State Warriors: Andrew Wiggins (Dec. 19), Jordan Poole (Dec. 17)
•   Pheonix Suns: NONE
•   Brooklyn Nets: Kevin Durant (Dec. 18), Kyrie Irving (Dec. 18), Day’Ron Sharpe (Dec. 18), LaMarcus Aldridge (Dec. 14), DeAndre’ Bembry (Dec. 14), Bruce Brown (Dec. 14), Jevon Carter (Dec. 14), James Harden (Dec. 14), James Johnson (Dec. 14), Paul Millsap (Dec. 13)
•   Los Angeles Lakers: Kent Bazemore (Dec. 19), Austin Reaves (Dec. 17), Avery Bradley (Dec. 16)
•   Dallas Mavericks: Maxi Kleber (Dec. 20), Josh Green (Dec. 19), Reggie Bullock (Dec. 17)
•.  Utah Jazz: NONE

Toronto’s Outbreak, Bulls Game in Jeopardy

The Chicago Bulls are supposed to be playing the Toronto Raptors tomorrow night at the United Center, but the Raptors now have seven players in the H&S Protocols, including four new positive cases today, so who knows if that game actually gets played.

The Raptors join six other teams with at least five players in the protocols (the Bulls are one of them) as of this afternoon, as COVID continues to materially impact the NBA’s schedule in a way that didn’t seem like a concern just a few months ago. The Bulls continue to deal with their outbreak and have signed Mac McClung and Ersan Ilyasova on the hardship exemption. The Bulls have won back-to-back games against the Lakers and Rockets since returning for their week-long pause that included a matchup with the Raptors in Toronto last week, but the team is still missing Zach LaVine, Ayo Dosunmu, Matt Thomas, Troy Brown Jr., Alize Johnson, and now Devon Dotson.

Morant is Back, Fans Are Wack

After missing nearly a month, Ja Morant returned from a sprained left knee suffered on November 26 last night in Memphis’ contest with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Remember what happened last time these two got together? Spoiler: It didn’t happen last night. Oklahoma City topped Memphis, but Morant scored 16 points and logged six rebounds, eight assists, and a pair of steals while shooting 50 percent from the floor in 28 minutes of action.

It’s nice to see Morant back in action. The former No. 2 overall pick in the NBA Draft and NBA Rookie of the Year is averaging career bests in points (24.1), rebounds (4.3), and steals (1.6) in his third season. But what was up with the fans in Memphis last night!?

A “lackluster” performance? Lol, what?

Sixteen points on 6-of-12 shooting, six rebounds, and eight assists in 28 minutes after missing a month of game-action is considered “lackluster” in Memphis these days!? But, apparently, there are people in Memphis who think the Grizzlies would be better off without Morant, which is absolutely mind-boggling.

That’s crazy talk. Like it or not, he’s back. Just ask him:

Odds and Ends

•   Find you someone who loves you as much as this fan loves Boogie Cousins (or as much as the usher loves following the rules)!

•   Russell Westbrook wasn’t even remotely interested in trying to grab a rebound here:

•   Benny the Bull stays undefeated:

•   LeBron James has been playing in the NBA for half of his lifetime! 🤯

•   That got me thinking… I was 13 years and one month old when LeBron was drafted on June 26, 2003, meaning that LeBron has been in the NBA for 58.5 percent of my lifetime.

•   Position-less basketball…



Author: Patrick K. Flowers

Patrick is the Lead NFL Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @PatrickKFlowers.