The NBA Christmas Day tradition continues with a five-game ESPN NBA Christmas Special Presented by Theraflu including a blockbuster doubleheader on ABC highlighted by the Los Angeles Lakers and Kobe Bryant hosting the Miami Heat and its core of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh on Saturday, Dec. 25, at 5 p.m. ET. It will mark the first meeting between the star-studded teams this season. Mike Breen will call the game with analysts Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy and reporter Lisa Salters. ESPN Radio will also broadcast the game (beginning at 4:15 p.m.) with commentary by Kevin Calabro and analyst Dr. Jack Ramsay.
The ABC doubleheader will tip off when the Boston Celtics and its nucleus of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen visit the Orlando Magic, with Dwight Howard and recently acquired Gilbert Arenas, Hedo Turkoglu and Jason Richardson, at 2:30 p.m. Mike Tirico will provide commentary with analyst Hubie Brown and reporter Heather Cox. The Buick Regal NBA Countdown pregame show, with host Stuart Scott and analysts Magic Johnson, Jon Barry and Michael Wilbon, will preview the games at 2 p.m.
In addition to ABC’s doubleheader, ESPN will televise three Christmas Day games starting with the New York Knicks and Amar’e Stoudemire hosting the Chicago Bulls and Derrick Rose at noon. Dan Shulman will call the game with analyst Doris Burke on ESPN. The Knicks/Bulls game will also be available on ESPN 3D, just the second 3D NBA telecast ever (Heat/Knicks, Dec. 17).
ESPN will also televise a Christmas Day evening doubleheader — Denver and Carmelo Anthony at Oklahoma City and Kevin Durant at 8 p.m., followed by Golden State and Monta Ellis hosting Portland and Brandon Roy at 10:30 p.m. Mark Jones and analyst Tim Legler will be on hand for Nuggets/Thunder with Terry Gannon, analyst Fran Fraschilla and reporter Ric Bucher at Warriors/Trail Blazers.
ESPN’s games will also be available via ESPN3.com and ESPN Mobile TV. ESPN Deportes will televise the Bulls/Knicks and Nuggets/Thunder matchups.
Mariah Carey Holiday Music Videos
Mariah Carey’s music video “Oh Santa,” along with a specially-produced “All I Want for Christmas” clip, will air throughout the day during NBA game and studio content.
ESPN and ABC’s NBA Christmas Day schedule
(Saturday, Dec. 25):
Chicago at New York
ESPN, ESPN 3D, ESPN3.com, ESPN Mobile TV, ESPN Deportes
Boston at Orlando*
Miami at L.A. Lakers*
ABC, ESPN Radio (4:15 p.m.)
Denver at Oklahoma City
ESPN, ESPN3.com, ESPN Mobile TV, ESPN Deportes
Portland at Golden State
ESPN, ESPN3.com, ESPN Mobile TV
*denotes SAP available
ESPN Viewership Up 35 Percent; Network’s Best Start for NBA Season
ESPN is averaging 2,193,000 viewers through 24 telecasts, up 35 percent over last season (through 26 telecasts) and an increase of 31 percent when compared to 2002-03 (through 23 telecasts), ESPN’s previous best start to an NBA season. The corresponding household impressions are up 34 percent over last year (1,252,000) and 25 percent over 2002-03 (1,345,000). ESPN’s 1.7 rating is an improvement of 31 percent compared to last year’s 1.3 rating and 13 percent versus a 1.5 season-to-date rating in 2002-03. (Ratings according to Nielsen)
Additionally, ESPN.com’s NBA section has received a 26 percent spike in unique users, a 17 percent increase in page views, and a 10 percent gain in video starts when compared to the same time last season (according to Omniture data).
NBA content on ESPN3.com has more than doubled total hours consumed with a 128 percent increase over last year and the Orlando/Miami Opening Week game on Friday, Oct. 29, delivered the most unique viewers ever for a regular-season game.
ESPN Mobile’s NBA section has seen a 78 percent improvement versus last year in daily unique visitors and a 57 percent jump in page views.
ESPN.com’s Comprehensive Christmas Day Coverage
ESPN.com will provide extensive pregame, in-game and postgame NBA Christmas Day coverage and robust Heat/Lakers offerings including:
§ Weekend Dime with Marc Stein’s popular weekend notebook column focusing on all five matchups
§ “Collision Course,” with Heat Index and ESPNLosAngeles.com reporters taking on topics all-things Heat/Lakers
§ Special video previews for each game
§ Local coverage via ESPNChicago.com, ESPNNewYork.com, ESPNBoston.com, ESPNLosAngeles.com and the Heat Index
§ TrueHoop Network previews of each game
§ Daily Dime Live from noon to 1 a.m. featuring lively discussion from ESPN.com experts and fans
§ ESPN3.com simulcasts of all ESPN games
§ ESPNRadio.com live streaming audio of the Heat/Lakers game
§ Live Gamecast, play-by-play, shot charts, stats and box scores
§ Special postgame coverage from columnists Stein and J.A. Adande
§ Instant analysis and in-depth coverage from the Heat Index and local sites
§ TrueHoop Network postgame reports
§ Highlights, recaps, box scores and stats
§ The Crossovers – a recap of the players who considered joining the opposite teams in the offseason (Derek Fisher, Lamar Odom, Mike Miller, etc.) and the reasons why they chose their current team
§ The Teammates – reaction from players who have played with either Kobe Bryant or LeBron James on their differences in style, approach, etc.
§ A multi-part series examining Kobe and LeBron in clutch situations
§ What If? – a piece speculating what it would be like if Phil Jackson was the current coach of the Heat
§ Timeline – a look at the careers of Jackson and Pat Riley and their similarities
§ An X’s and O’s piece on “Should the Heat run L.A.’s Triangle Offense?”
§ Ron Artest – a feature on his transformation since joining the Lakers
§ What Should LeBron Do? – how Bryant’s prior road through crisis can provide a map for James
§ Five Guys Under $5 Million – players below the $5 million standing who could influence the matchup
§ Who will win, why, and what it will mean
§ What to Watch – a gameday rundown of key questions heading into the showdown
ESPN Classic 12-Hour NBA Christmas Marathon
ESPN Classic will televise a 12-hour NBA Christmas marathon beginning Christmas Eve, Friday, Dec. 24, at noon including:
§ noon, Denver vs. Oklahoma City (2009) – Carmelo Anthony hits a game-winning shot with 5.3 seconds left for a 114-113 victory
§ 2 p.m., Chicago vs. New York, 1993 Eastern Conference Finals, Game 2 – the Knicks win 96-91 behind Patrick Ewing’s 26 points
§ 4 p.m., Chicago vs. New York, 1993 Eastern Conference Finals, Game 5 – Charles Smith misses a layup as the clock ticks down and the Bulls win 97-94
§ 6 p.m., Boston vs. Orlando, 2010 Eastern Conference Finals, Game 1 – Ray Allen and Paul Pierce lead the way as the Celtics win 92-88
§ 8 p.m., Miami vs. L.A. Lakers (2004) – the Heat defeat the Lakers in overtime behind Dwyane Wade and Eddie Jones in the extra frame
§ 10 p.m., Miami vs. L.A. Lakers (2009) – Kobe hits a last-second shot over Dwyane Wade to give the Lakers the 108-107 win