By Matt Mueller Culture Editor Published Aug 08, 2018 at 9:06 AM Photography: David Bernacchi

Not even including the new arena, the Milwaukee Bucks should be really fun to watch this upcoming season (*knocks on all the wood in the area code*). For the first time in years, there's a solid, strategy-savvy coach in place. The team's made several unflashy but positive moves to improve its roster. And, oh yeah, Giannis is still around (while LeBron isn't, now in the Western Conference).  

Well, the NBA and ESPN finally noticed, and as a result, the Bucks scored a featured Christmas Day televised game against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden, as first reported by the New York Times.

The Christmas Day duel will tip-off at 11 a.m. on ESPN, starting the league's traditional day of marquee basketball games – including the Oklahoma City Thunder versus the Houston Rockets, the Philadelphia 76ers versus the Boston Celtics, the LeBron-enhanced Los Angeles Lakers against the defending champion Golden State Warriors, and the Portland Trail Blazers battling the Utah Jazz. 

As far as the on-the-court action goes, the game could be big as New York Knicks star Kristaps Porzingis might be back from his torn ACL injury in time for the high-profile spat – plus there's more optimism for the Knicks this season after a solid draft, an impressive Summer League showing from rookie Kevin Knox, and an off-season uncharacteristically low on awful trades and signings. 

But off the court, even several months out from tip-off, the game's a big deal for the Bucks and Milwaukee, a city often overlooked by television thanks to its small TV market. (Just ask the Wild Card leading Brewers, a myth to ESPN.) Obviously with Giannis, things have changed for the Bucks, and last year marked a strong year with multiple national TV appearances. But a Christmas Day game is the NBA's largest regular season spotlight, one the Bucks haven't claimed since 1977. 

The NBA will announce the matchups for its opening week and MLK Day games later today, with the rest of the teams' schedules expected sometime shortly after. Stay tuned to OnMilwaukee for more updates on the Bucks' upcoming season. 

Matt Mueller Culture Editor

As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.

When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.