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NBA Game Previews, 11/9

Well, Friday is finally here, and not only do we have a homegame to look forward to, we've also got a night full of action around the NBA. There are an absolute ton of games tonight so whether its at the party or at the house, make sure you check in on them. My match-up of the night (well other than the Celtics): San Antonio vs New Orleans at 8:00pm.

I don't know if League Pass is still available for free, could someone post in the comments section the status of that?

In any case, here's the lineup:

Toronto at Philadelphia 7:00pm
Indiana at Charlotte 7:00pm
Phoenix at Miami 7:30pm
Orlando at NY Knicks 7:30pm (MSG in NY)
San Antonio at New Orleans
LA Clippers at Detroit 8:00pm
Denver at Washington
8:00pm (ESPN)
Milwaukee at Houston
Memphis at Portland
Minnesota at LA Lakers 10:30pm
Cleveland at Sacramento 10:30pm (ESPN)
Utah at Seattle 10:30pm

Here's the Games Thread

And don't forget to click below....For Previews  

Toronto at Philadelphia 7:00pm
The Raptors are in the midst of a three game skid, while Philadelphia sits a half game ahead at 2-2. Every inter-division game is a big game, especially with New York, New Jersey and Boston sporting shiny winning records. Toronto is obviously deeper, and they won the season opener against the 76ers, so they have to have an edge here. Andre Miller is good and everything, but he's not as fast as TJ Ford or Jose Calderon, and he doesn't have as many options as the Raptors to pass to. Also, as we all know, the Raptors are extremely deep, so I have to give the edge to Toronto here to get back to .500.
Player to watch: Chris Bosh-Bosh has not been himself yet this season, and I'm starting to beleive the rumors of lingering health issues for him. He'll have a streaky defender in Dalembert to deal with tonight, give him a look and see if he's not jumping a little less or a step slow.

Indiana at Charlotte 7:00pm
The Pacers are hot right now, but they're coming off of a home loss to the Clippers. The Bobcats are 2-2 but they're coming off of consecutive blowout losses to Phoenix and Philadelphia. They're also probably without point man and proclaimed team motor Raymond Felton (if he does play, it will not be at 100%), and if the last 2 games are any indication, that means big problems. Obie has Indy playing just the way he likes, and I'm picking the Pacers to advance to 5-1.
Player to watch: Jason Richardson-J-Rich has been p for most of the year, until the last 2 games, in which his numbers have been drastically down. If the Bobcats are going to have a snowballs chance, they're going to need to find points from somewhere, lets see if Richardson can get hot.

Phoenix at Miami 7:30pm
Phoneix is coming off a loss against the completely unpredictable Hawks, and Miami is winless so far this season. Every game is huge until you win one, so expect Miami to come out motivated. Personally I don't know what the deal with Phoenix is, but there is something going on here; absolutely no consistency. If Phoenix comes to play hard, and they get a decent fg% I don't see how Miami pulls this one out, but if Phoenix is cold, its been shown that anyone can beat them. Miami is at home,and I'm picking them to win, but this is absolutely a shot in the dark.
Player to watch: Shaquille O'neal- Amare Stoudamire has missed the last 3 games with a knee injury, and if he sits out the game tomorrow Shaq should have the lane all to his lonesome. It's fitting too, because if Miami is going to win any games, it seems like someone has got to step up and be a leader by example. What better opportunity than to put up 20-12 against a good but streaky Suns squad?

Orlando at NY Knicks 7:30pm (MSG in NY)
Orlando is sitting pretty atop the Southeast division, coming off of a big road win against the Toronto Raptors. The Knicks are coming off of a huge home win against the Nuggets, so both teams should come in to the Garden ready to play. I hate to say it, but the Knicks look like they match up better inside against the Magic. Dwight Howard can only play defense (dominating as it may be) against one of the two towers at a time, and more than likely that will be Eddy Curry due to his strength. Rashard Lewis will probably draw Zach Randolph as a defensive assignment, and the results will not be pretty. Neither guy will be able to stop one another at either end of the court. I still believe Stephan Marbury is a better player than Jameer Nelson, and thats why I'm giving this game to New York.
Player to watch: Dwight Howard-Eddy Curry, say hello to futility, at least for tonight. Dwight Howard is as strong, he's faster, and he's more driven than Curry, and expect Big Dwight to dominate on the defensive end of the court. The real test, however, will be if he can get 15+ on the offensive end. If Howard can do that, the Magic ought to win the game.

San Antonio at New Orleans 8:00pm
This ought to be a pretty darn good game. Both teams from the SouthBestern division are 4-1 and in the middle of a love-triangle for the division lead. I feel like this game will be won or lost on the wings and at the point. Tony "The Blur" Parker will take his best roadrunner impression to New Orleans to faceoff against Chris Paul (who I feel is playing the best basketball right now out of any pg in the league). Chris Paul is the more talented player, and I feel he ought to edge out this matchup; but thats not where the real difference will be made. Manu Ginobli, Micheal Finely and Bruce Bowen face off against Morris Peterson and Peja Stojakovic, and its pretty obviousy the Spurs have a hefty edge here. This will decide the game..well this and Tim Duncan.
Player to watch: Chris Paul- CP3 has been playing out of this world basketball so far this season, and I don't really expect the Spurs to be able to slow him down much. If Chris Paul can put up 20 points and 10+ assists again, he gives New Orleans a chance to beat anyone.

LA Clippers at Detroit 8:00pm
The red hot and undefeated Clippers take their winning streak to the newest team to exit the unbeaten club, Detroit. Detroit just lost to the Chicago Bulls, giving them their first win of the season in a close game on the road, count on a fired up Rasheed Wallace and Rip Hamilton to devaste the Clippers. Thats right, I said devastate. Call me a hater if you will but I just don't beleive this Clippers team is for real, and I fully expect the Pistons to expose them on the road. Big game for Chauncy Billups, Pistons win.
Player to watch: Corey Maggette-Maggette leads the Clips in scoring, and he's relishing the role. Sure, he doesn't have much if any of an outside shot, but he doesn't seem to mean it. After watching the Bulls-Pistons game I can attest that the Pistons' previously vaunted defense is not much on the interior anymore. Sure, Rasheed is still a great defender, but Maxiell is still young, and McDyess is too old. If Maggette wants to give 110% against Detroit, he'll have his chances to score.

Denver at Washington 8:00pm (ESPN)
The Nuggets must be feeling pretty low right now. They're in the midst of a three game losing streak, and we all know they didn't even get in the game against the Celtics. The only thing worse than a three game losing streak is a four game losing streak, and the only thing worse than a four game losing streak (other than a 5,6,7,8..etc streak) is still waiting for your first win. Luckily for Denver, Washington embodies both of those things. Washington just lost a heartbreaker against New Jersey last night, so they also ought to be somewhat drained. Also, I firmly believe Denver is deeper, and has the better team. All that being said, however, I think Washington pulls this one out. Denver is on game 3 of a 4 game road trip, so they ought to be a bit weary. Washington played New Jersey really tough last night, and now that they're at home, rested, they ought to have the better legs of the two teams. Picking Washington to win.
Player to watch: Gilbert Arenas (again)-Arenas may have more pressure on him than any point guard in the league. Not only is he the face of the franchise, he's the leading scorer, and the team's emotional leader. As goes the Gilbert, so goes the Wizards, and that must weigh on a guy. Here's hoping he can man up and whoop on Denver. 

Milwaukee at Houston 8:30pm
Milwaukee comes in at 2-2 against a very good Houston Rockets squad. Milwaukee has wins over a (then) seemingly helpless Bulls squad and more importantly, a very capable Toronto Raptors squad. They shot lights out against the Raptors (60% from the field), and I don't count on lightening striking twice here. The Rockets are a solid squad, already achieving wins against the Spurs, the Jazz and the Lakers. The thing that jumps out at me, however is that in the Rocket's most recent win, against the Spurs, Tracy McGrady went off for a very medicore 12 points. Yao Ming however scored 28 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and dished out 6 assists. That is huge for the Rockets, because if Yao Ming is on his game, the Rockets can beat anyone. They're my favorites (again) to get out of the West (barring injury), and they are easily going to take the Bucks tonight at home.
Player to watch: Yao Ming-Nobody trually has the size to effectively defend Yao Ming, but the Bucks don't have the size or the skill. Since Mo Williams and Micheal Redd aren't exactly defensive phenoms, Tracy Mcgrady will be able to get pretty much anywhere on the court, and with Yao having 2 days of rest and a roaming McGrady, he ought to be primed for another big night. Also don't underestimate how fired up McGrady gets when Yao is playing to ability. McGrady doesn't like to have to score 45 points to win, but you have to think he is pleased as pie that maybe one of his teammates could if he could just feed them the ball.

Memphis at Portland 10:00pm
Memphis is 3-1 this season, losing to the talented Spurs and the streaking Indiana Pacers, while beating the young, inexperienced and still adjusting Seattle Supersonics. Lucky for the Grizzlies that the Sonics aren't the only young pups on the block. The Trailblazers will host the Grizzlies tonight, and even though the Blazers' one win this season came against a very good New Orleans team, I don't give them much of a chance against the Griz. In the New Orleans win, David West and Chris Paul played well, but the rest of the squad shot terribly. Memphis is much more atheltic, and they have their own sharpshooter in Mike Miller on the wings, along with a huge overmatch in Pau Gasol and an improved Darko Milicic in the frontcourt. Memphis is hungry to prove that last season was not a representation of what they can do as a squad, while the Blazers are still struggling to find consistency and an identity. I think the score will be close, but never really a question as to who will pull it out. Griz to win.
Player to watch: Rudy Gay-Rudy is coming off of a 25 and 10 performance on Wednesday, and he ought to perform pretty well tonight also. I don't think Brandon Roy (heel injury) is 100% physically yet and Rudy Gay is an athletic monster. Martell Webster is not quick enough or good enough defensively to get in front of Rudy to stop the drives to the basket. With all the attention Mike Miller and Pau Gasol should recieve tonight, it leaves a lot of 1 on 1 situations for Rudy Gay to take advantage of.

Minnesota at LA Lakers 10:30pm
I hate to say it, but the Lakers are good. They've played 4 really good, playoff calibur teams so far this season, and beaten two of them. This is supposed to be a team in turmoil a team distracted by a malcontent superstar and a less than able surrounding cast, with their second best player out to open the season with a shoulder injury. Now, I wouldn't call them consistent, but they're fiesty. The Timberwolves are 0-3, and I don't know when that first number is going to change, but despite our boy's best efforts, I don't think it will be tonight.
Player to watch: Lamar Odom-Mr. Versitility should be back in action starting for the Lakers on Friday night, and the team from LA with the worst record should get substantially better. I'm eager for Odom to come back, and I'm also a fan of his game. Watch to see how well the rust falls off and watch to see if the Lakers are any better with him on the floor. I know it sounds crazy but I think the Lakers have a decent thing going right now, and for the first few games Odom may not be an improvement. 

Cleveland at Sacramento 10:30pm (ESPN)
The Cavaliers are 2-3 and the Sacramento Kings are 1-3, that should tell you that neither team is operating at 100% yet (well at least that the Cavs are not). Lebron James has been great at times, but he's also been uninspiring at times. Personally, this game looks kind of uninspiring to me. Every time the Kings have played a good team they've lost, and when they've played another winless team (like the Sonics) they've won. At 2-3 I think the Cavs are a little too good for the Kings, so I'm anticipating an ugly, low scoring game that the Cavs will eventually win.
Player to watch: Kevin Martin-Well the Kings are not so good, but Kevin Martin has been playing very well. Averaging 26 points per game this season, this kid has been shooting pretty well at 45%, but his 3pt percentage has been 33% so far. That should gradually get better, but in the meantime take a look at one of the league's most promising young scorers.

Utah at Seattle 10:30pm
Seattle is 0-5 so far this season and the Jazz, while they're not really playing to their ability, they're still playing pretty well. Carlos Boozer and Deron Williams should absolutely just dominate their Seattle counterparts (Chris Wilcox and Delonte West/Earl Watson/Luke Ridnour, respectively), while in a very interesting matchup Kevin Durant should try his best to put some points on the board vs Andrei Kirilenko. It will be interesting to see Durant go against one of the better defenders in the NBA.
Player to watch: Deron Williams-Deron Williams and Chris Paul are having a contest to see who is the better young point guard. Right now I think Chris Paul is winning, but Deron gave himself a good headstart in the postseason last spring. Williams also has a weapon Paul does not; he's shootin 47% from 3 point land so far this season.
Well, thats it for tonight, hope you enjoy the games and please check out the Games Thread . Also, I won't be able to do the preview for tomorrow or Sunday, as I will be getting 3 kinds of crazy in Bristol, Conneticut, so if you live in Bristol and see a fat furry guy with a backwards Celtics hat and embarassed friends, make sure you say hi. 

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