Who's ready for some NBA basketball? Fans will receive the gift they really wanted for Christmas, the return of the NBA, with a star-studded slate of games on Christmas Day to open up the 2011-12 lockout-shortened 66-game season.
Of course, the very first game is the best one - the Boston Celtics and New York Knicks. OK, maybe it's not the best, but it's a good one. Anytime you get teams from Boston and New York together, fans are generally in for a good game.
The Knicks, led by Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire, are looking to improve upon their 42-40 record from one season ago in their first full season with Anthony. New York also brought in Tyson Chandler to help plug up the middle and also signed Baron Davis, who will miss some time at the start of the season with an injury.
Boston is looking to make one last run at banner No. 18 with the current Big Four of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo. The C's lost Glen Davis, Delonte West, Shaquille O'Neal and Troy Murphy, among others, this offseason but brought in Brandon Bass in a trade with the Orlando Magic for Davis and also added Chris Wilcox, Keyon Dooling, Marquis Daniels, Sasha Pavlovic and Greg Stiemsma via free agency.
Pierce's status for Sunday's game is still unknown, but head coach Doc Rivers said he is "doubtful" that Pierce will play in the game. Pavlovic, who the team signed towards the end of last season, would likely start in his place, leaving Daniels to back him up off the bench.
Who's it going to be? Celtics or Knicks? We'll find out in a matter of hours.