ORLANDO, Fla. – Magic coach Stan Van Gundy has gone from being a Scrooge about playing on Christmas to perhaps spreading a little too much holiday cheer.
Van Gundy sarcastically suggested Saturday that the NBA go from five to 10 games on Christmas and start them at midnight.
Orlando was hosting Boston for the second straight year on Christmas. Van Gundy has said the Magic were hit with a "hefty" fine for his critical comments last year about playing on the holiday. He has refrained from making such remarks again to avoid another fine from NBA Commissioner David Stern.
Instead, he went a different route this year.
"I have no comments at all on Christmas Day games," Van Gundy began. "My suggestion to my staff this morning was that I think the NBA is so important to Christmas that what we really need to do is increase from five games to 10, and we need to start them at midnight on what would have been Christmas Eve and play them all through the day so there's not a minute of Christmas Day where there's not an NBA game on TV. Because, it's great.
"The NBA is Christmas, to me, anyway. It's what it's all about."
Lakers coach Phil Jackson and Miami's LeBron James are among those who have expressed their discontent for playing on Christmas this year, saying they would rather be home with their families. Celtics Doc Rivers said he had accepted the fact the NBA was going to play games on Christmas and considered it an honor to be one of the marquee games.
He even agreed with Van Gundy's suggestion to increase games.
"They did 24 hours of college basketball early in the year. I think that's a great idea by Stan. Tell Stan I'm on board with it," Rivers said, chuckling. "I want the 12 o'clock game. I want the midnight game. That would be phenomenal because I'm up anyway."