About four hours ago, some extremely tired looking gentlemen in loosened ties announced in midtown that the NBA lockout is, essentially, over. The players and owners came to a handshake agreement on a deal that, if ratified by the majority of owners and players, will allow an abbreviated 66-game season to begin on Christmas Day. (All told, 66 games isn't bad. Most sports fans don't notice the first 16 games anyway.) There are all sorts of little details about which side won on which issues, but, of course, who cares. The NBA will return Christmas Day, pulling back at the last possible second from a catastrophic canceled season. (Though we will say this: The deal will make it more difficult for the Knicks and the then-Brooklyn Nets to just outspend everybody else, like they'd like to.) Training camps begin December 9, which is, like, in two weeks. The first game of the season, by the way: Boston Celtics vs. New York Knicks, at the Garden, noon on Christmas. Yay, all. (Though we're not sure what this means for our video game simulation.) So: Good morning! Basketball! Everybody in the NBA suddenly has a lot of work to do. Thank heavens.