It's official: Bulls-Lakers on Christmas
The NBA has tweeted out the Christmas Day schedule, and the Bulls will be facing the Lakers in Los Angeles at 4 CT on ABC to open their season.
"Prime time," Derrick Rose said Thursday. "It's going to be exciting, not only for our team but for Chicago and for our fans all over the world."
The Celtics take on the Knicks at 11 CT, followed by the Heat vs. Mavericks at 1:30 CT. The Magic and Thunder are at 7 CT, followed by the Clippers and Warriors.
"Whenever you play on a holiday, whether it's Christmas/New Year's, it's a few games and everybody's celebrating the holidays," Bulls guard Ronnie Brewer said. "I think it's a privilege to be able to perform on the highest level for those people. It's going to be a tough test for us, they're a great team. Whenever you face one of the greatest players to play the game in Kobe Bryant, with those other guys they have on their team, it's always good."
The contest will mark the second consecutive season the Bulls have played a Christmas Day game. They lost to the New York Knicks 103-95 on Dec. 25, 2010.
Facing off against one of the NBA's historical juggernauts only adds to the intrigue for a team coming off a 62-win season.
"Everyone is looking at that first game like it's a championship game," Luol Deng said. "We're excited. It's 66 games [this season]. That's one of 66. I think we're going to be prepared. Just not going for that one first game and that's it. We want to come out ready. But it's 66 games, we've got to look forward to."