ESPN Films’ Latest Release Debuts April 17th

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN Films debuts the latest release in its 30 for 30 series next month.

Bad Boys, the latest film from ESPN Films’ hit series, premieres Thursday, April 17th at 8pm ET on ESPN.  The film was produced by NBA Entertainment and helmed by Zak Levitt.  The film’s story centers on the Detroit Pistons’ heyday of the late 80s and early 90s.  The Pistons of the 80s and 90s was one of those teams that fans either loved or hated.  There was no in between for this squad.  Those that loved the team called it a group of men that wasn’t afraid to work hard and really get in the paint.  It was a team, to those fans, that was afraid of no one.  That same win at all costs mentality is also what led many to despise the team.

The film highlights the highs and lows of the team’s heyday through interviews with the likes of Isiah Thomas, Bill Laimbeer, Joe Dumars, Dennis Rodman, Adrian Dantley, and Mark Aguirre among others.  The interviews give viewers a more personal look at what made the team one of the league’s most talked about. Also included are personal insights from some of the biggest names to face Detroit during the late 80s and early 90s. Those names include: Michael Jordan, Clyde Drexler, Patrick Ewing, Kevin McHale, Dominique Wilkins, and James Worthy.  Former NBA Commissioner David Stern also shares his thoughts on what made the team such a lightning rod in the league at that time.

The premiere of Bad Boys will be followed immediately by Grantland’s Bad Boys Remix, a special one-hour presentation featuring Bill Simmons and Jalen Rose.  The pair will be joined by Isiah Thomas and Doug Collins to discuss the film.  The pair will also share more thoughts on the highs and lows of the Pistons.  Along with their appearance on Grantland’s Bad Boys Remix, Thomas and Collins will be part of Grantland’s “Detroit Week” package, kicking off April 14th.  Grantland’s “Detroit Week” will include written features about the city of Detroit and its history as well as Detroit-themed podcasts on the Grantland Network.

More information on ESPN Films and its hit 30 for 30 series is available online at http://www.facebook.com/espn30for30, http://twitter.com/30for30, and http://www.espn.com/30for30.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

ESPN Championship Week Presented By Dick’s Sporting Goods Tips Off This Weekend

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

Things are heating up in the world of NCAA basketball.  And as things start to get hot, so is ESPN’s coverage of college basketball.  Beginning Friday, March 7th, ESPN’s Championship Week Presented by Dick’s Sporting Goods will present ninety-two men’s college basketball conference tournament games from twenty-three conferences across the ESPN family of networks.

ESPN’s Championship Week Presented by Dick’s Sporting Goods starts Friday, March 7th with nine games from the Big South, Ohio Valley, and Southern Conference tournaments.  Those games will be broadcast online on ESPNU and ESPN3.   It all winds down on Sunday, March 16th with the title games for the ACC, Sun Belt, and SEC Championships.  The ACC Championship will air on ESPN, while the Sun Belt and SEC Championship games will be broadcast on ESPN2 and ESPN respectively at 1pm ET and 3:15pm ET.

As an added bonus for fans, ESPN Films will debut the latest addition to its 30 for 30 series Requiem for the BIG EAST Sunday, March 16th at 9pm ET.  The film, directed by Peabody Award-winning filmmaker Ezra Edelman, follows the rise and eventual move of the Big East conference.  The story is told thanks in large part to interviews with Big East coaches such as Jim Boeheim, Lou Carnesecca, Rick Pitino and John Thompson, former Big East Commissioner Mike Tranghese, and former Big East standouts Patrick Ewing, Chris Mullin and Ed Pinckney.

Along with the new 30 for 30 film, the ESPN family of networks will also offer special coverage on ESPN Radio, WatchESPN, and ESPN.com.  ESPN’s SportsCenter will also offer a special two-hour broadcast of its special Bracketology Presented by Staples at 7pm ET and again at 9pm ET on ESPN following the conclusion of the SEC Championship.

The complete schedule for ESPN’s Championship Week Presented by Dick’s Sporting Goods is listed below.

                                    Championship Week Presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods Schedule

Date Network Time (ET) Game / Commentators Site
Fri 3/7 ESPN3 11 a.m. Southern Conference Tournament: First Round

Darren Goldwater & Dean Keender

Asheville, N.C.
ESPN3 Noon Big South Conference Tournament: Quarterfinal #1

Matt Hogue & Nate Ross

Myrtle Beach, S.C.
ESPN3 1:30 p.m. Southern Conference Tournament: First Round

Darren Goldwater & Dean Keender

Asheville, N.C.
ESPN3 2 p.m. Big South Conference Tournament: Quarterfinal #2

Matt Hogue & Nate Ross

Myrtle Beach, S.C.
ESPN3 4:30 p.m. Southern Conference Tournament: First Round

Darren Goldwater & Dean Keender

Asheville, N.C.
ESPN3 6 p.m. Big South Conference Tournament: Quarterfinal #3

Patrick Kinas & Ralph Patterson

Myrtle Beach, S.C.
ESPNU 7:30 p.m. Ohio Valley Conference Tournament: Semifinal #1

Rich Hollenberg & Adrian Branch

Nashville, Tenn.
ESPN3 8 p.m. Big South Conference Tournament: Quarterfinal #4

Patrick Kinas & Ralph Patterson

Myrtle Beach, S.C.
ESPNU 9:30 p.m. Ohio Valley Conference Tournament: Semifinal #2

Rich Hollenberg & Adrian Branch

Nashville, Tenn.
Sat, 3/8 ESPN3 Noon Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament: Quarterfinal #1

Doug Sherman & Rob Kennedy

Springfield, Mass.
ESPN3 Noon America East Conference Tournament: Quarterfinal #1

Eric Frede & Frank Sullivan

Albany, N.Y.
ESPN3 Noon Big South Conference Tournament: Semifinal #1

Patrick Kinas & Ralph Patterson

Myrtle Beach, S.C.
ESPN3 Noon Southern Conference Tournament: Quarterfinal #1

Darren Goldwater & Dean Keender

Asheville, N.C.
ESPN3 2 p.m. Big South Conference Tournament: Semifinal #2

Patrick Kinas & Ralph Patterson

Myrtle Beach, S.C.
ESPN3 2 p.m. America East Conference Tournament: Quarterfinal #2

Eric Frede & Frank Sullivan

Albany, N.Y.
ESPN3 2:30 p.m. Southern Conference Tournament: Quarterfinal #2

Darren Goldwater & Dean Keender

Asheville, N.C.
ESPN3 2:30 p.m. Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament: Quarterfinal #2

Doug Sherman & Rob Kennedy

Springfield, Mass.
ESPN3 6 p.m. Southern Conference Tournament: Quarterfinal #3

Darren Goldwater & Dean Keender

Asheville, N.C.
ESPN3 6 p.m. America East Conference Tournament: Quarterfinal #3

Eric Frede & Frank Sullivan

Albany, N.Y.
ESPN3 6:30 p.m. Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament: Quarterfinal #3

Doug Sherman & Rob Kennedy

Springfield, Mass.
ESPN2 7 p.m. Ohio Valley Conference: Championship

Rich Hollenberg & Adrian Branch

Nashville, Tenn.
ESPN3 7 p.m. Horizon League Tournament: Semifinal #1 *

Jim Barbar & Malcolm Huckaby

Green Bay, Wis.
ESPN3 8 p.m. America East Conference Tournament: Quarterfinal #4

Eric Frede & Frank Sullivan

Albany, N.Y.
ESPN3 8:30 p.m. Southern Conference Tournament: Quarterfinal #4

Darren Goldwater & Dean Keender

Asheville, N.C.
ESPN2 9 p.m. West Coast Conference Tournament: Quarterfinal #3

Dave Flemming & Sean Farnham

Las Vegas, Nev.
ESPN3 9 p.m. Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament: Quarterfinal #4

Doug Sherman & Rob Kennedy

Springfield, Mass.
ESPNU 9:30 p.m. Horizon League Tournament: Semifinal #2

Jim Barbar & Malcolm Huckaby

Green Bay, Wis.
ESPN2 11 p.m. West Coast Conference Tournament: Quarterfinal #4

Dave Flemming & Sean Farnham

Las Vegas, Nev.
Sun 3/9 ESPN2 Noon Big South Tournament: Championship

Roy Philpott & Paul Biancardi

Myrtle Beach, S.C.
ESPN2 2 p.m. Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament: Championship

Jason Benetti & Cory Alexander

TBD
ESPN3 4:30 p.m. Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament: Semifinal #1

Doug Sherman & Rob Kennedy

Springfield, Mass.
ESPN3 5 p.m. America East Conference Tournament: Semifinal #1

Eric Frede & Frank Sullivan

Albany, N.Y.
ESPN3 7 p.m. Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament: Semifinal #2

Doug Sherman & Rob Kennedy

Springfield, Mass.
ESPN3 7:30 p.m. America East Conference Tournament: Semifinal #2

Eric Frede & Frank Sullivan

Albany, N.Y.
Mon 3/10 ESPN2 7 p.m. Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament: Championship

Doug Sherman & Tim Welsh

Springfield, Mass.
ESPN 9 p.m. West Coast Conference Tournament: Semifinal #1

Dave Flemming & Sean Farnham

Las Vegas, Nev.
ESPN2 9 p.m. Southern Conference Tournament: Championship

Adam Amin & Mark Adams

Asheville, N.C.
ESPN2 11:30 p.m. West Coast Conference Tournament: Semifinal #2

Dave Flemming & Sean Farnham

Las Vegas, Nev.
Tue 3/11 ESPN 7 p.m. Horizon League Tournament: Championship

Bob Wischusen & TBD

TBD
ESPN2 7 p.m. Northeast Conference Tournament: Championship

Mike Crispino & Miles Simon

TBD
ESPN 9 p.m. West Coast Conference Tournament: Championship

Dave Flemming & Sean Farnham

Las Vegas, Nev.
ESPN2 9 p.m. Summit League Tournament: Championship

Clay Matvick & Darrin Horn

Sioux Falls, S.D.
Wed 3/12 ESPN2 1 p.m. ACC Tournament: First Round #1

Sean McDonough, Jay Bilas & Jeannine Edwards

Greensboro, N.C.
ESPN2 3 p.m. ACC Tournament: First Round #2

Sean McDonough, Jay Bilas & Jeannine Edwards

Greensboro, N.C.
ESPN2 7 p.m. ACC Tournament: First Round #3

Dan Shulman, Sean Farnham & Jeannine Edwards

Greensboro, N.C.
ESPNU 7 p.m. American Men’s Basketball Championship: First Round #1

Mike Patrick & Len Elmore

Memphis, Tenn.
ESPN2 9:30 p.m. American Men’s Basketball Championship: First Round #2

Dave O’Brien & Doris Burke

Memphis, Tenn.
Thu 3/13 ESPN Noon ACC Tournament: Second Round #1

Sean McDonough, Jay Bilas & Jeannine Edwards

Greensboro, N.C.
ESPN2 12:30 p.m. Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship: Quarterfinal #1

Brent Musburger, Fran Fraschilla & Holly Rowe

Kansas City, Mo.
ESPNU 1 p.m. American Men’s Basketball Championship: Quarterfinal #1

Mike Patrick, Len Elmore & Andy Katz

Memphis, Tenn.
ESPN 2 p.m. ACC Tournament: Second Round #2

Sean McDonough, Jay Bilas & Jeannine Edwards

Greensboro, N.C.
ESPN2 2:30 p.m. Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship: Quarterfinal #2

Brent Musburger, Fran Fraschilla & Holly Rowe

Kansas City, Mo.
ESPNU 3 p.m. American Men’s Basketball Championship: Quarterfinal #2

Mike Patrick, Len Elmore & Andy Katz

Memphis, Tenn.
ESPN2 6:30 p.m. Big Ten Conference Tournament: First Round #3

Mike Tirico, Dan Dakich & Allison Williams

Indianapolis, Ind.
ESPN 7 p.m. ACC Tournament: Second Round #3

Dan Shulman, Sean Farnham & Jeannine Edwards

Greensboro, N.C.
ESPNU 7 p.m. American Men’s Basketball Championship: Quarterfinal #3

Dave O’Brien, Doris Burke & Andy Katz

Memphis, Tenn.
ESPN2 8:30 p.m. Big Ten Conference Tournament: First Round #4

Mike Tirico, Dan Dakich & Allison Williams

Indianapolis, Ind.
ESPN 9 p.m. ACC Tournament: Second Round #4

Dan Shulman, Sean Farnham & Jeannine Edwards

Greensboro, N.C.
ESPNU 9 p.m. American Men’s Basketball Championship: Quarterfinal #4

Dave O’Brien, Doris Burke & Andy Katz

Memphis, Tenn.
Fri 3/14 ESPN or ESPN2 Noon Big Ten Conference Tournament: Quarterfinal #1

Mike Tirico, Dan Dakich & Allison Williams

Indianapolis, Ind.
ESPN or ESPN2 Noon ACC Tournament: Quarterfinal #1

Sean McDonough, Jay Bilas & Jeannine Edwards

Greensboro, N.C.
ESPNU 1 p.m. SEC Tournament: Quarterfinal #1

Brad Nessler, Jimmy Dykes & Shannon Spake

Atlanta, Ga.
ESPN or ESPN2 2:30 p.m. Big Ten Conference Tournament: Quarterfinal #2

Mike Tirico, Dan Dakich & Allison Williams

Indianapolis, Ind.
ESPN or ESPN2 2:30 p.m. ACC Tournament: Quarterfinal #2

Sean McDonough, Jay Bilas & Jeannine Edwards

Greensboro, N.C.
ESPNU 3 p.m. SEC Tournament: Quarterfinal #2

Brad Nessler, Jimmy Dykes & Shannon Spake

Atlanta, Ga.
ESPN3 6 p.m. Southland Conference Tournament: Semifinal #1 Katy, Texas
ESPN or ESPN2 7 p.m. ACC Tournament: Quarterfinal #3

Dan Shulman, Sean Farnham & Jeannine Edwards

Greensboro, N.C.
ESPN or ESPN2 7 p.m. American Men’s Basketball Championship: Semifinal #1

Dave O’Brien, Doris Burke & Andy Katz

Memphis, Tenn.
ESPNU ^ 7 p.m. Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship: Semifinal #1

Brent Musburger, Fran Fraschilla & Holly Rowe

Kansas City, Mo.
ESPN3 8:30 p.m. Southland Conference Tournament: Semifinal #2 Katy, Texas
ESPN or ESPN2 9:30 p.m. ACC Tournament: Quarterfinal #4

Dan Shulman, Sean Farnham & Jeannine Edwards

Greensboro, N.C.
ESPN or ESPN2 9:30 p.m. American Men’s Basketball Championship: Semifinal #2

Dave O’Brien, Doris Burke & Andy Katz

Memphis, Tenn.
ESPNU ^ 9:30 p.m. Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship: Semifinal #2

Brent Musburger, Fran Fraschilla & Holly Rowe

Kansas City, Mo.
Sat 3/15 ESPNU 12 a.m. Big West Conference Tournament: Semifinal #2

Mark Jones & Miles Simon

Anaheim, Calif.
ESPNU 2 a.m. Big West Conference Tournament: Semifinal #1 **

Mark Jones & Miles Simon

Anaheim, Calif.
ESPN2 11:30 a.m. America East Conference Tournament: Championship

Bob Picozzi & Tim Welsh

TBD
ESPN 1 p.m. ACC Tournament: Semifinal #1

Dan Shulman, Dick Vitale or Jay Bilas & Jeannine Edwards

Greensboro, N.C.
ABC 1 p.m. SEC Tournament: Semifinal #1

Brad Nessler, Jimmy Dykes & Shannon Spake

Atlanta, Ga.
ESPN 3 p.m. ACC Tournament: Semifinal #2

Dan Shulman, Dick Vitale or Jay Bilas & Jeannine Edwards

Greensboro, N.C.
ABC 3 p.m. SEC Tournament: Semifinal #2

Brad Nessler, Jimmy Dykes & Shannon Spake

Atlanta, Ga.
ESPN2 4:30 p.m. Southwestern Athletic Conference Tournament: Championship

Mark Neely & Jarron Collins

Houston, Texas
ESPN 6 p.m. American Men’s Basketball Championship: Championship

Dave O’Brien, Doris Burke & Andy Katz

Memphis, Tenn.
ESPNU 6 p.m. Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Tournament: Championship

Tom Hart & Stan Lewter

Norfolk, Va.
ESPN2 6:30 p.m. Mid-American Conference Tournament: Championship

Bob Wischusen & LaPhonso Ellis

Cleveland, Ohio
ESPNU 8 p.m. Big Sky Conference Tournament: Championship

Roxy Bernstein & Corey Williams

Ogden, Texas
ESPN2 8:30 p.m. Southland Conference Tournament: Championship

Carter Blackburn & Stephen Howard

Katy, Texas
ESPN 9 p.m. Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship: Championship

Brent Musburger, Fran Fraschilla & Holly Rowe

Kansas City, Mo.
ESPNU 10 p.m. Western Athletic Conference Tournament: Championship

Steve Quis & Jon Crispin

Las Vegas, Nev.
ESPN2 10:30 p.m. Big West Conference Tournament: Championship

Mark Jones & Miles Simon

Anaheim, Calif.
Sun 3/16 ESPN 1 p.m. ACC Tournament: Championship

Dan Shulman, Dick Vitale & Jeannine Edwards

Greensboro, N.C.
ESPN2 1 p.m. Sun Belt Conference Tournament: Championship

Rich Hollenberg & Mark Adams

New Orleans, La.
ESPN 3:15 p.m. SEC Tournament: Championship

Brad Nessler, Jimmy Dykes & Shannon Spake

Atlanta, Ga.

More information on Championship Week Presented by Dick’s Sporting Goods is available online at http://espn.go.com/mens-college-basketball.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

ABC, ESPN Networks Carrying Seven Playoff Games This Weekend

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

NBA fans have plenty of reason to be happy this weekend.  ABC and ESPN have seven games on tap this weekend.  Three of those games will air on ESPN Friday night beginning with a matchup between the Knicks and Celtics.  The Knicks will look to extend their two-game lead over Boston as the teams face off in game three of that series Friday night at 8pm.  It will air on ESPN and ESPN Radio affiliates across the country.  Fans can also catch the game online and via mobile access through WatchESPN and the WatchESPN app.  Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy, and Heather Cox will have the call on ESPN.  Marc Kestecher and Dr. Jack Ramsey will call the game for ESPN Radio.  The game is scheduled to start at 8pm EST.      

The second of the night’s triple header sees the Spurs and Lakers face off in the third game of their series, too.  The Spurs are up two games to none in that best-of-seven series.  Injuries have plagued the Lakers, who are looking to get their footing again Friday night.  The game is scheduled to start at 10:30pm EST.  It will air live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes.  Fans can also watch the game online and on mobile devices through WatchESPN and the WatchESPN app.  Mike Tirico, Hubie Brown, and Chris Broussard will have the call on ESPN.  They will be joined by Alvaro Martin and Carlos Morales for ESPN Deportes.

Also at 10:30, the Warriors will look to break the one-game time with the Nuggets when the teams head back to Oakland.  The Warriors come into Friday’s game with some momentum.  The team as a whole shot nearly sixty-five percent and made 14 of 25 three-point shots.  Four of the team’s players scored twenty points in game two Tuesday night.  The Warriors have also outrebounded the Nuggets 91 to 71 over the course of the series’ first two games.  The Nuggets are looking to regain some footing Friday night when they are hoping to get Kenneth Faried back in the lineup after having lost him in Game 1 to a sprained ankle.  Friday’s matchup will air on ESPN2 and can be viewed online and on mobile devices through WatchESPN and the WatchESPN app.  Dave Pasch, Jon Barry, and Holly Rowe will have all the action and news throughout the game.

The weekend showcase closes out with a Sunday doubleheader pitting the Knicks and Celtics against each other again for Game Four in the teams’ best-of-seven series first.  The game will air at 1pm on ABC and on ESPN Radio affiliates across the nation.  Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy and Heather Cox will be back to call the action again for the game, while Marc Kestecher and Dr. Jack Ramsay will have the call for ESPN Radio. 

The day’s second game tips off at 3:30pm EST.  The Bucks are hoping to dig out of a two game hole right now with game three tonight at 7pm.  Game four will be Sunday afternoon on ABC and ESPN Deportes.  Mike Tirico, Hubie Brown, and Chris Broussard will be on hand for ESPN.  Alvaro Martin and Carlos Morales will call all the action for ESPN Deportes.  It all starts with the Kia NBA Countdown at 12:30pm EST.  Hosts Magic Johnson, Bill Simmons, Jalen Rose, and Michael Wilbon will discuss the weekend’s previous games and their implications as the NBA post season rolls on, as well as Sunday’s games on tap.  Fans can catch the Countdown on ABC.

A full schedule of the weekend’s games is available below.

Date Time (ET) Game / Commentators Networks
Fri, Apr 26 8 p.m. New York Knicks at Boston Celtics (Gm. 3)

ESPN: Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy, Heather Cox

ESPN Radio: Marc Kestecher, Dr. Jack Ramsay

ESPN, ESPN Radio, WatchESPN
  10:30 p.m. San Antonio Spurs at Los Angeles Lakers (Gm. 3)

ESPN: Mike Tirico, Hubie Brown, Chris Broussard

ESPN Deportes: Alvaro Martin, Carlos Morales

ESPN, WatchESPN, ESPN Deportes
  10:30 p.m. Denver Nuggets at Golden State Warriors (Gm. 3)

ESPN: Dave Pasch, Jon Barry, Holly Rowe

ESPN2, WatchESPN
Sat, Apr 27 7 p.m. Indiana Pacers at Atlanta Hawks (Gm. 3)

ESPN: Mark Jones, Doris Burke, Holly Rowe

ESPN, WatchESPN
  9:30 p.m. Oklahoma City Thunder at Houston Rockets (Gm. 3)

ESPN: Dave Pasch, Jon Barry, Samantha Ponder

ESPN Radio: Kevin Calabro, Chris Mullin

ESPN Deportes: Alvaro Martin, Carlos Morales

ESPN, ESPN Radio, WatchESPN, ESPN Deportes
Sun, Apr 28 12:30 p.m. KIA NBA Countdown

Magic Johnson, Bill Simmons, Jalen Rose, Michael Wilbon

ABC
  1 p.m. New York Knicks at Boston Celtics (Gm. 4)

ESPN: Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy, Heather Cox

ESPN Radio: Marc Kestecher, Dr. Jack Ramsay

ABC, ESPN Radio
  3:30 p.m. Miami Heat at Milwaukee Bucks (Gm. 4)

ESPN: Mike Tirico, Hubie Brown, Chris Broussard

ESPN Deportes: Alvaro Martin, Carlos Morales

ABC, ESPN Deportes

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

ESPN Debuting New NBA Countdown Set

ESPN is set to debut a brand new set for its NBA broadcasts.  The new Kia NBA Countdown set will debut Christmas Day at 2:30pm EST.  When it debuts, the Kia NBA Countdown set will be the largest set at ESPN’s Los Angeles Production Center.  It will include: six new automated, mobile video monitors, a total of four LED monitors that measure eight feet by five feet each, a larger oval shaped desk and an LED surround curtain that changes color throughout the show.  The set’s new desk was designed with the intent of creating a more free-flowing, conversational style show.

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

Along with the new physical changes, audiences will also notice the studios massive amount of space.  The increased space will allow the hosts—Magic Johnson, Michael Wilbon, and new additions Bill Simmons and Jalen Rose—more room to move throughout the show.  Fans will also notice more video to complement the discussions raised during the Countdown.  The new set and new co-hosts will debut Christmas Day just before the start of ABC’s mega-double header that starts with a bi-coastal matchup facing the Knicks against the host Lakers.  The second game of the day pits the Thunder against the Heat in a matchup of last season’s NBA Finals.  That game is set to start at 5:30pm EST.

Fans who miss the new set on the Countdown need not worry as they’ll get to see it when Johnson and company re-join audiences during half time of both games and between games to offer their thoughts on the games.  Should audiences be travelling or with family and friends on Christmas, there are no worries there.  The Kia NBA Countdown airs every Wednesday and Friday on ESPN and on ABC every Sunday before the network’s weekly game.

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it or its companion page, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Reel-Reviews/381028148587141.   Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.