NBA to Open Season on ABC & ESPN with Christmas Day Quadruple Header
ESPN's multiplatform coverage of the 2011-12 NBA regular season will include 90 games, highlighted by 15 exclusive broadcasts on ABC - the home of The Finals - and 75 ESPN telecasts. Games airing on ABC and ESPN are subject to flexible scheduling, providing the best matchups throughout the season. All games will be available in high definition, with ESPN telecasts also generally available via ESPN3, ESPN Mobile TV and the Watch ESPN App. Additionally, ESPN Radio will broadcast 24 regular-season games and ESPN Deportes will present 19 telecasts.
ABC and ESPN will tip off the season with a quadruple header on Christmas Day opening with a blockbuster doubleheader on ABC - a Finals rematch when the reigning NBA Champion Dallas Mavericks and Finals MVP Dirk Nowitzki host the Miami Heat and All-Stars LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh on Sunday, Dec. 25, at 2:30 p.m. ET, followed by the Chicago Bulls and league MVP Derrick Rose visiting the Los Angeles Lakers and perennial All-Star Kobe Bryant at 5 p.m. The Kia NBA Countdown pregame show will preview the ABC doubleheader at 2 p.m.
NBA Christmas Day action will continue on ESPN with a primetime doubleheader tipping off with the Oklahoma City Thunder and two-time NBA scoring leader Kevin Durant hosting the Orlando Magic and three-time Defensive Player of the Year Dwight Howard at 8 p.m. In the Christmas nightcap, former ESPN analyst Mark Jackson will make his head coaching debut with the Golden State Warriors and Monte Ellis hosting the Los Angeles Clippers and All-Star Blake Griffin at 10:30 p.m. ESPN Deportes will also televise the primetime doubleheader.
ESPN Radio, entering its 17th season of NBA action, will broadcast two Christmas Day games - the Boston Celtics and its core four of Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett visiting the New York Knicks and stars Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire with coverage beginning at 11 a.m., followed by Heat at Mavericks.
ABC & ESPN Schedule Highlights
ABC and ESPN will combine to showcase some of the top teams in the league, including 16 appearances by the Heat (the maximum allowed across both networks), 15 by the Bulls and Lakers, 14 by the Celtics and Knicks, 12 by the Mavericks, 11 by the Thunder and 10 by the Clippers and Magic.
· 15 exclusive broadcasts;
· flexible schedule allowing for the best possible matchups throughout the season;
· a special Christmas Day doubleheader including a Finals rematch between the Heat and Mavericks at 2:30 p.m., followed by the Lakers hosting the Bulls at 5 p.m.;
· five NBA Sunday doubleheaders - Dec. 25, Feb. 19, March 4, April 1 and 15;
· six appearances by the Heat; five appearances by the Lakers and Bulls; four appearances by the Celtics and Knicks; and three appearances by the Mavericks;
· Eastern Conference Finals rematch between the Bulls and Heat on Sunday, Jan. 29, at 3:30 p.m.;
· Blockbuster matchup with the Lakers hosting the Heat on Sunday, March 4, at 3:30 p.m.;
· a rematch of the 2008 and 2010 Finals with the Lakers hosting Boston on Sunday, March 11, at 3:30 p.m.;
· multiple appearances by the Thunder and Kevin Durant - hosting Chicago on Sunday, April 1, at 1 p.m. and visiting the Lakers on Sunday, April 22, at 3:30 p.m.;
· NBA Countdown will preview all games/doubleheaders 30 minutes prior to broadcast start times.
· 75-game flexible schedule allowing for the best possible games throughout the season;
· 30 doubleheaders and one tripleheader;
· 10 appearances - the most permitted - by the Bulls, Celtics, Clippers, Heat, Knicks and Lakers;
· nine appearances by the Magic, Mavericks, Suns and Thunder; eight appearances by the Spurs; seven appearances by the Nuggets and Trail Blazers; and six appearances by the Hawks, Jazz, Sixers and Warriors;
· special holiday afternoon telecasts on Martin Luther King Day - Chicago at Memphis, home of the National Civil Rights Museum, Monday, Jan. 16, at 1 p.m. - and Presidents Day - Atlanta at Chicago on Monday, Feb. 20, at 4 p.m.;
· a series of compelling matchups including the Heat's All-Star trio of James, Wade and Bosh hosting the Knicks with Anthony and Stoudemire (Friday, Jan. 27, at 8 p.m.); Kobe Bryant and the Lakers visiting Madison Square Garden to face the Knicks (Fri., Feb. 10, at 8 p.m.); and the Bulls - the team with the best record in the league last season - hosting the Heat on Wed., March 14, at 8 p.m.;
· an exciting Oklahoma City team, led by Durant, hosting the Heat on Sun., March 25, at 8 p.m., then visiting the Heat on Wed., April 4, at 8 p.m.;
· a highly-anticipated doubleheader Tuesday, April 10, beginning at 7 p.m. with the Heat hosting the Celtics and followed by the Knicks visiting the Bulls at 9:30 p.m.;
· a unique tripleheader Saturday, April 21, tipping off at 5:30 p.m. and highlighted by the Bulls hosting the Mavericks at 8 p.m.;
· 10 games over the final week of the regular season (April 18-25) as part of the push to the playoffs.