Lockout levity: Welcome back, Blazers

Merry Christmas everyone! Who would have figured entering Friday afternoon that we'd come out of Thanksgiving weekend with a tentative labor agreement and an NBA season that is scheduled to start on Dec. 25.

The expectation is a 66-game season, meaning only 16 fewer games than a normal 82-game grind, but in about a month-and-a-half shorter time span.

Had that 82-game grind not been interrupted by a lockout, the Portland Trail Blazers would have been in town tonight for the first meeting since the Dallas Mavericks ousted them from the first round of the playoffs.

The lockout isn't quite over, but it's getting awfully close.

Today's canceled game: vs. Portland

Game No.: 15

Mavs pretend record: 9-5

Last season's matchup: Oh my, did any game last season provide more angst for Mavs fans than the Blazers' 104-96 win at the Rose Garden on April 3? Jason Kidd looked gassed and the Mavs looked done as the regular season was winding down. It was the third consecutive loss on a season-long six-game road trip and there was little positivity flowing after that. Well, that would be the last game Kidd would play for a week as he recharged for the playoffs, and we all know how that ended up. ... Of course Portland can also be greatly credited for righting the Mavs in the playoffs. Brandon Roy and the Blazers made the ridiculous comeback in Game 4 to tie the series at 2-2, Dallas sucked it up and then won seven in a row as Dallas lost just three more times on its championship run.

What might have been: It's always good to see local lad LaMarcus Aldridge back in Dallas. It will be interesting to see if Roy is back on the club or if Portland uses the amnesty clause on their hobbled and beloved shooting guard.

What's been missed: The Mavs have obviously missed getting their championship rings and raising the banner. Among the first 15 games canceled, four division games have been wiped out, plus always fun matchups against the Nuggets and Oklahoma City.

Next canceled game: Wednesday vs. Cleveland Cavaliers