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Open Court, classic games lead busy week on NBA TV

Kobe and Reggie Miller's last games, the debuts of LeBron James and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and more

If things were normal, Wednesday night would have marked the end of the 2019-20 regular season. Alas, it’s been more than a month since the season was put on hiatus and it’s going to be a while before we see live basketball again.

But we still have our history, games we’ve watched multiple times before and some we’ve never seen. The most exciting games and biggest performances from both current stars and Hall of Famers are the next best thing to live games.

This week’s NBA TV schedule features a new episode of Open Court, three Hall of Famers discussing some of the biggest matchups of the 1980s and some new “Pop Up” versions of classic games.

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Monday: Kobe, Open Court, and the “Choke” game

8 p.m. ET: Jazz at Lakers, April 13, 2016

Relive Kobe Bryant’s last game on its fourth anniversary, when he scored an incredible 60 points in a win over the Utah Jazz.

10 p.m. ET: Open Court

Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Dwyane Wade, Isiah Thomas and Chris Webber come together for a new episode of Open Court. They discuss life during the pandemic, the 2019-20 NBA season, and the effects of the layoff on today’s players.

11 p.m. ET: Pacers at Knicks, June 1, 1994 (Pop Up Edition)

Reggie Miller scored 25 of his 39 points in the fourth quarter and got into it with Spike Lee as the Knicks blew (or “choked” away) what was a 12-point lead after three and the Pacers took a 3-2 series lead in the Eastern Conference finals.

Tuesday: LeBron’s debut

8 p.m. ET: Cavaliers at Kings, Oct. 29, 2003 (Pop Up Edition)

NBA TV will broadcast some of the best rookie performances in history throughout the day, a slate highlighted by was one of the most anticipated debuts in NBA history. No. 1 pick LeBron James, perhaps the most-hyped high school prospect we’ve ever seen, played his first NBA game against one of the best teams in the league.

10 p.m. ET: Celtics at Pistons, June 3, 1988 (Film room with Isiah & McHale)

Hall of Famers Isiah Thomas and Kevin McHale watch Game 6 of the 1988 Eastern Conference finals and discuss the Pistons reaching The Finals for the first time in 32 years after being eliminated by Boston in two of the previous three seasons. McHale led all scorers with 33 points.

Wednesday: Rookie Iverson drops 50

8 p.m. ET: 76ers at Cavaliers, Apr. 12, 1997 (Pop Up Edition)

At the end of a second straight day of big rookie performances, watch Allen Iverson record the first of 15 career 50-point games and the first 50-point game for a rookie since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar scored 51 in February of 1970. The eventual Rookie of the Year shot 17-for-32, including 5-for-9 from 3-point range.

10 p.m. ET: Pistons at Celtics, May 30, 1987 (Film room with McHale, Isiah & Mahorn)

The Pistons came within a possession or two of upsetting the Celtics in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals at Boston Garden. But they couldn’t stop Larry Bird (39 points, nine rebounds and nine assists) and Danny Ainge hit a couple of big jumpers down the stretch as the Celtics earned their fourth straight trip to The Finals. Isiah Thomas (25 points and nine assists), Rick Mahorn (7 points, 7 rebounds) and Kevin McHale (22 points and 10 boards) watch and discuss.

Thursday: Happy Birthday to ‘The Captain!’

8 p.m. ET: Lakers at Celtics, June 9, 1985 (Film room with Kareem)

Celebrate Abdul-Jabbar’s 73rd birthday with a full day of games from the league’s all-time leading scorer. It starts with his NBA debut (Oct. 18, 1969) at 7 a.m. ET.

At 8 p.m., Kareem will provide his commentary as he watches his Lakers win their third of five championships in the 80s. It was the ninth time the Celtics and Lakers met in The Finals and the first time that L.A. came out on top. They got it done on the road, with Abdul-Jabbar scoring a team-high 29 points and with Magic Johnson recording a triple-double.

Friday: Reggie’s Final Buckets

8:30 p.m. ET: Pistons at Pacers, May 19, 2005 (Pop Up Edition)

Reggie Miller went out strong, scoring 27 points on 11-for-16 shooting. But it wasn’t enough, and his career came to an end as the Pistons, on their way to a second straight trip to The Finals, beat the Pacers in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

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John Schuhmann is a senior stats analyst for You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter.

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