It used to be just one featured NBA game on Christmas Day, then two.
Now there are five games being played on Christmas Day -- all five of them are on national television, three on ESPN, two on ABC. Such is the power of national TV money. Derrick Rose said the other day that it would be tough to be away from his family on Christmas, but he understood that this is his job. Joakim Noah said yesterday about the Bulls playing in his hometown with him unable to play -- they won't be back until April -- as "It's the worst."
Coach Tom Thibodeau has been pleased with the play of Kurt Thomas replacing Noah, so Thomas will continue to get starts, as Taj Gibson works his way back into playing shape following the concussion he suffered a week ago. This will be a reunion day for Thomas -- he played seven seasons in New York, and also was a teammate of new Knick Amare Stoudemire for two years in Phoenix.
You'll have to get to your television early for this one. The game begins at 11 a.m. CST. It will be televised on WGN with Neil Funk and Stacey King in Chicago, and nationally on ESPN.