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Posted on Sat, Dec 24, 2011 : 3:49 p.m.

The NBA is back: Your favorite Christmas gift or a lump of coal?

By Staff


A sparse crowd watches as Detroit Pistons guard Ben Gordon (8) shoots a free throw during a preseason game against the Cleveland Cavaliers at The Palace in Auburn Hills last Friday. Will fan interest return?

AP Photo

The NBA opens its shortened season on Christmas Day and television networks think enough people are interested to run a full day of programming.

It starts at noon with a Celtics-Knicks matchup on TNT and keeps on rolling through the Heat-Mavericks (2:30 p.m., ABC), Bulls-Lakers (5 p.m., ABC), Magic-Thunder (8 p.m., ESPN) and Clippers-Warriors (10:30 p.m., ESPN).

After months of lockouts, salary caps and mediation, the popularity of the NBA takes another hit in southeastern Michigan because of the current state of the Detroit Pistons. In the latest Glanz-Culver NBA championship odds, the Pistons are tied for last place with the Toronto Raptors, Washington WIzards and Sacramento Kings at 150-to-1. The result was a paltry crowd at the Pistons' preseason game against the Cavaliers last Friday.

The Pistons are hoping to turn things around under first-year coach Lawrence Frank and the addition of rookie guard Brandon Knight.

The fan hunger is already there in other markets. The Associated Press reported that the Clippers sold out their game preseason game against the Lakers, and the first in that series was the most viewed preseason game in NBATV history.

The Timberwolves had 15,000 people attend their home preseason game against the Bucks, and another 2,500 turned out for a free practice on a Monday afternoon just to get a glimpse of Ricky Rubio.

More than 10,000 fans watched a free practice with the New York Knicks, and the Thunder's rabid fan base packed the arena for Kevin Durant's return to the court.

All that has us wondering:



Sun, Dec 25, 2011 : 7:57 p.m.

If the Pistons were raising banners, all the hypocrites would come out and buy season tickets. Im not buying it. I'll watch because its a part of Christmas tradition to watch the NBA. Good games today too! merry christmas to all.