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NBA Christmas 2013 shows need for flex scheduling

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There are a number of traditions that are practiced during the holiday season that are meant to bring people closer together. For sports fans one of the best is to sit around the television to enjoy nearly 12 hours of NBA action. However, the word “enjoy” may not be used to describe the results of the five games that were featured during NBA Christmas 2013. In fact, these games are a crying example as to why the NBA could use flex scheduling in some form or fashion.

The teams that are chosen to play during this day are usually coming off of a strong performance the season before and draw a large amount of media coverage. However this year all of those groups haven't been playing up to standard at this point of the season. The New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets, Los Angeles Lakers and the Chicago Bulls were playing on Christmas, but none of these groups have a winning record. Having these teams play on a day where only the NBA is on television opened the sport up to a wide range of criticism.

While the Nets and Bulls played each other, that didn't stop Brooklyn from losing by 17 points on their home floor. The Knicks were trounced by 29 by the visiting Oklahoma City Thunder. The Lakers kept the game against the Miami Heat very interesting but were unable to pull out a win on their home floor. Even the San Antonio Spurs were defeated by the Houston Rockets by 13 points but that matchup was more anticipated because it featured two winning Western Conference teams. The late game between the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers provided all of the excitement for the day as it came down to the last moments.

What frustrated so many is that it was clear that these games would end in blowout losses. These teams are struggling with poor play and injuries that have hampered them to this point. But teams such as the Indiana Pacers and Portland Trail Blazers were left off of the schedule. Perhaps this was due to a lack of big name stars on these rosters or being housed in smaller sports media markets; either way, the NBA community wasn't done a great justice by keeping these winning groups off of the schedule.

Going forward the NBA needs to create the option to flex games to avoid this from occurring. For example, the NFL has the ability to move around high profile games that deserve the most attention. The pending matchup between the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys to decide the 2013 NFC East champion is an example of a game that has been moved to accommodate better coverage.

With so much time leading into the Christmas games, the NBA should take this year as reasoning for them to create the same system. Better match ups against high profile teams will present the sport in a much better light than the blowouts that the public was forced to sit through on Wednesday. The National Basketball Association would only benefit from better games when the world is watching.

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