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Merry Shaq-mas

Happy holidays from M&T Bank Stadium, where kickoff between the Ravens and Vikings is half an hour away. If you're still pondering making the trip, well - the streets are clear and the lots aren't full yet, if ya know what I mean. This might set another attendance record, as long as they count tickets sold, but bodies in the seats might be a little low.

The games this afternoon were worth it. The Pistons kept right on being the best team in the NBA; they completely handled the Spurs, although I was caught a little off guard by the sight of Manu Ginobili being interviewed in street clothes in the stands. He's been out for a while, and apparently isn't close to getting back.

Shaq and Kobe remain as warm toward each other as always. Good to see Lisa Salters, longtime ESPN West Coast reporter (back when I was on the coast as well) getting some network face-time - except that she got mostly top-of-the-head time in her postgame on-court interview with Shaq. Maybe the greatest on-air reporter-athlete height differential since at least the days when Bob Costas was working games. To no one's surprise, when she asked Shaq the inevitable question about whether anything has thawed with Kobe, he gave her the silent stare. She re-phrased it, and he gave the same answer. It's his standard response now. He still does dead silence better, funnier and more effectively than anyone else. Shaq did give her the no-offense-intended hug afterward.

Too bad ABC didn't stick around long enough to figure out why Gary Payton and Lamar Odom had to be separated after the game. But at least we saw Kobe miss the game-winner at the buzzer for the second straight Christmas.

I would say something insightful about the Bears-Packers game, but I'd rather say something insightful about my sister's collard greens, which were getting more of my attention at the time.

More once the game starts...

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