Basketball Sundays: ABC, Lakers, and Celtics
The two week period between the divisional championship and the Super Bowl is a well deserved break for the NFL. Last weekend was the first since late August that no professional football was played. The familiar Sunday routine – two sets of afternoon games and one night game – is on hold for another season. But the Celtics – Heat and Lakers – Thunder matchups on ABC made a case for the NBA to fill that Sunday sports role.
ABC’s Sunday NBA doubleheader began with the Boston Celtics winning in double overtime against the Miami Heat. The heated rivalry featured a game tying three from Lebron James, a tough defensive stop from Paul Pierce on Dwyane Wade at the end of the first overtime, and a vintage Paul Pierce hesitation jumper to win the game. However, the most important storyline took place off the court with breaking in-game news that Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo would be out for the season with an ACL injury. Paul Pierce’s surprise and hurt at this realization tells the story:
The Lakers – Thunder matchup featured the same framework idea as the Celtics – Heat without the animosity. The Lakers, the old guard going for broke. The Thunder, the young team with a bright future and the game’s second best player. Similar to the game earlier, it was an old reliable, this time Kobe Bryant, who took over and eventually won the game. Kobe capped off a stretch of games with double digit assists with 14 here, drawing talk that he had indeed changed his game into a facilitating role – one which also changed his team from the biggest disappointment back to title contenders.
With the sports schedule clear, Spring Sundays once again become an opportunity for the NBA to showcase its best. The two matchups on Sunday were a synthesis of important storylines and more than enough entertainment and drama sports fans expect. A larger lesson is the importance to place time with a sport – from college football Saturdays, to TNT Thursdays, and now ABC Sunday basketball.