NBA Lockout: Could Santa Please Leave Lakers-Bulls Under Our Christmas Tree?

The NBA's players and owners have finally reached a tentative agreement to start the regular season on Christmas Day, and for legions of disgruntled fans, I couldn't think of a better gift on that day.

Christmas Day is unofficially the tip-off for the NBA's national TV schedule, and the holiday is usually reserved for some of the league's juiciest match-ups and 2011 is no exception.

Games involving Miami, Dallas, Chicago and the Los Angeles Lakers were all on the slate for Christmas 2011, but from a Lakers fan's perspective, the proposed Bulls-Lakers game was certainly the most intriguing.

Storylines abound. Chicago and Los Angeles offer two of the league's truly elite players in Derrick Rose and Kobe Bryant respectively, and the two teams boast the NBA's most dominant frontlines as well.

Lakers center Andrew Bynum and forward Pau Gasol may get more recognition, but the Bulls' post duo of Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer was just as impressive last season.

Bynum and Gasol averaged 25.7 points per game and 19.6 rebounds during the 2010-11 regular season, while Noah and Boozer averaged a combined 21.3 points and 19.9 rebounds of their own.

As a team, the Bulls averaged 44.2 rebounds per game while only allowing their opponents to score 91.3 points per game, and the Lakers averaged 44.0 rebounds per game while allowing their opponents to score an average of 95.4 points.

Those numbers were good enough to make the Lakers and Bulls two of the best defensive and rebounding teams in the NBA, and when you add in the fact that Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau would be the coach with more tenure in a matchup, things really get interesting.

For Lakers fans, the Christmas Day matchup with Chicago would be the first regular season glimpse of new head coach Mike Brown, and a high-profile game with the Bulls would not only provide an immediate test for the Lakers, but it would als...

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