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Why Absence of Nets and Knicks on Christmas is Very Un-Merry

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On one of the league's biggest days in the regular season, two of its biggest markets will be sitting home. And that makes Christmas much less merry.

Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

The Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks don’t strike fear in the hearts the NBA’s elite.

But fans in the Big Apple eat, sleep and breathe basketball like few other markets in the world. And there’s something to be said for that.

Combined, New York and Brooklyn are scheduled to make it on national TV just eight times in 2015-16 -- seven for the ‘Bockers, one for Brooklyn (and it’s against the Knicks).

By comparison, the second market  Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers will get a combined 43 national games.

The Los Angeles teams are much bigger national draws at this point, with Kobe Bryant leading a green gang of youngsters and Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan set to be a top team in the Western Conference once again.

More than five times more coverage than the New York squads is a lot. But it’s hard to argue against it.

The only problem fans of either N.Y. team might have is on Christmas. How are the Knicks and Nets both left off the slate?

There are a few absolutely must-see contests. An NBA Finals rematch between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors is probably the marquee event. San Antonio Spurs-Houston Rockets could make for a fireworks show, too.

How come the New Yorkers don’t get in on the action, though?

Prior to a semi-respectable showing against the Washington Wizards last year, the Knicks got demolished by the Oklahoma City Thunder, 123-94, in 2013-14. That same season, Brooklyn got handed a beating of epic proportions by a Derrick Rose-less Bulls team, 95-78.

Alright, alright -- both teams aren’t exactly top competition for the other powerhouses people want to see, and nothing is worse than a Christmas snoozer.

One possible solution? Simple. Just let them play each other.

Let Phil Jackson either look like a genius or a fool for ridding his team of (and taking shots at) new Nets Shane Larkin and Andrea Bargnani. Let Carmelo Anthony play hero at Madison Square Garden or villain in Brooklyn. Let twin brothers Brook and Robin Lopez go at it, just like they used to in the backyard.

Let Nets and Knicks fans have, even for a day, what they’ve been clamoring for: a real rivalry.

That’s all well and good, and many fans (regardless of their allegiance) would be pleased to see the Nets and Knicks coming for blood against one another.

But who gets bumped in that case?

Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans? Nope, he’s the league’s next big thing. The Miami Heat or Chicago Bulls? It’d be unwise to rob fans of D-Rose and D-Wade. The other two matchups are untouchable, and then there’s the other hometown rival game, LAL vs. LAC.

And with the starpower that battle carries, there’s no chance Nets-Knicks would be a better show.

Basketball -- in the city, the borough and the entire league -  is better when the New York teams are relevant.

Until then, it'll be a sad sight to see two of the biggest markets with two of the most passionate fanbases sitting home instead of earning a bout on the league’s strongest regular-season card.