The NBA owners’ lockout has not yet ended, but the league announced Friday the revised Christmas Day/Opening Night schedule.
The abbreviated 2011-12 NBA season is scheduled to begin on Christmas Day with the Celtics facing the Knicks on TNT at Noon ET. The game was originally scheduled to air on ESPN.
TNT will begin its coverage with an hour-long pregame show at 11 AM featuring the studio team of Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith, Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley. The network’s lead announcing team of Marv Albert, Steve Kerr, and Craig Sager will call the game itself.
Later in the day, ABC will air the same doubleheader it was originally scheduled to televise, carrying Heat/Mavericks at 2:30 PM and Bulls/Lakers at 5:00 PM.
With ESPN losing Celtics/Knicks, the network has been compensated with a primetime doubleheader. The 8 PM game will pit the Magic against the Thunder, and the 10:30 PM game will feature the Clippers against the Warriors.
Both primetime games will air opposite Sunday Night Football on NBC, featuring the Bears against the undefeated Packers.
The Christmas Day games and the entire 2011-12 NBA season are contingent on the NBA and National Basketball Players Association ratifying the tentative collective bargaining agreement the sides agreed to last week. Once the deal is ratified, the owners are expected to lift the lockout of players they began in July.
The 2011 NBA owners’ lockout, the fourth owner-imposed lockout in league history, resulted in the formal cancellation of the first six weeks of the season.
(Friday’s news from NBA.com, additional information from Turner Sports)