Jan 11, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward Metta World Peace (15) and Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) at the Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports

NBA On ABC Preview: Ray Allen Returns To The Garden With The Miami Heat And The Lakers Get A Second Chance Against The Thunder

The 82-game NBA season is a long affair that runs from late October through April. Safe to say, it has its ups and downs and at times, it feels like a grind, even for fans. However, every week fans are presented with two silver linings.

On Thursdays, TNT takes over the NBA landscape and we get to watch the NBA’s best teams face off with an incredibly hilarious/pitiful half-time show in the middle. And then on Sundays, the first thing fans do after having their morning breakfast/recovering from a raging hangover is turn the TV on to ABC and watch the best NBA match-ups of the week. This week will be no different.

Tomorrow’s double-header will be starting with the Miami Heat, who will be taking on the Boston Celtics in TD Garden. The last time these two teams were together in Boston, LeBron James scored 45 points in what some might consider his best playoff performance. It tied the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics and 3-3 and set the tone for the rest of the series. The game also marked the last time that former Celtics guard, Ray Allen was in the building. Here’s what he has to say about his impending return, via Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports:

Everywhere you go when you’re on the road you’re going to get booed anyway, I expect that because I’m on the other team now… They prioritized who they wanted to sign and then they came to me matter-of-factly. Then you tell me I’m going to come off the bench and take less minutes… … At the end of the day whether it makes sense to you or not, you’re not showing me that you really need me back or want me back.

Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Ray Allen’s decision came as a surprise to many people in the Celtics organization, despite his alleged issues with starting point guard Rajon Rondo, including Doc Rivers who apparently has no bad blood towards his former player:

I hope Ray is treated like a king in his return. We shouldn’t focus on why he left or where he went. We should embrace and celebrate what he did for us when he was a Celtic. And he was a great Celtic.

Needless to say, tomorrow’s match-up, scheduled for 1 PM EST on ABC, will be filled with emotion, both for fans and players. The Boston Celtics are at the end of their days, and what has been a career-long rivalry for LeBron James may finally be coming to an end. One thing is certain though: whenever James faces off against the Celtics, there’s always a story.  This is a game that fans are not going to want to miss.

On the other side of the nation, the otherworldly Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma Thunder will be travelling to Los Angeles to take on the Lakers at 3:30 PM EST, following the Boston-Miami match-up. The last time these two teams faced off, Durant drained a then season-high 42 points (he decided he’d drop 52 on Dallas a little while ago) while Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard were sidelined. The Thunder cruised to a rather easy win.

Since then, the Lakers have gone 3-4, hindering their playoff chances with each loss. If not for last night’s victory against the Jazz, they’d be heading into this game with a 4-game losing streak under their belts. Dwight Howard made a few lofty promises, managed to get injured and recover within that 7 game stretch. Meanwhile, Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak criticized the Lakers effort while defending head coach Mike D’Antoni. Make no mistakes, despite Los Angeles’ abysmal record, all eyes will be on what the guys in purple and gold bring to the floor tomorrow afternoon.

Last night against the Jazz, Kobe Bryant record 14 points and 14 assists… a dramatic change from his usual stat line of 26 points on 30 shots. And if Dwight Howard is serious about his efforts to dominate defensively, the Lakers might have a shot at salvaging their season yet. Tomorrow’s game should be a good indicator of their ability to do just that.
Be sure to tune in to Fansided for full coverage of tomorrow’s action!

Tags: Boston Celtics Los Angeles Lakers Miami Heat NBA Oklahoma City Thunder

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