If you like NBA basketball, if you have league pass (or if you are of legal age and know a good watering hole with league pass), and if you got the time, tonight is going to be entertaining. There are eight games tonight, and 5 of them look like they ought to be exciting. Tell your girl or boy that you love them but you got basketball to watch. They'll be mad the Celtics aren't even on. To the games.
All game times Eastern, all games league pass unless otherwise noted (in parenthesis)
Toronto at Atlanta 7:00pm
Indiana at Cleveland 7:00pm (NBA TV)
Minnesota at Washington 7:00pm
LA Clippers at New Jersey 7:30pm (YES in NY)
Detroit at Memphis 8:00pm
Seattle at Chicago 8:30pm
Portland at Utah 9:00pm
San Antonio at Golden State 10:30pm
Click below for so called "in-depth" previews, check out the Games thread!For Previews..
Toronto at Atlanta
Two teams coming off of two hot wins. Atlanta just beat the supposed class of the east, the Orlando Magic last night by 11 points. Toronto on the other hand just beat a team I still have faith in, the Houston Rockets on Sunday. Another thing the teams have in common is that both are second in their respective divisions, and both are back from first by considerable margins (7 for Toronto, 5 for Atlanta). These teams are both capable of beating any team in the league if they're hot (but who isn't), and thats what this is going to come down to. It will be close, but Toronto's depth and superior guard play will win out.
Matchup to watch: Chris Bosh vs Al Horford- Toronto's win against the Rockets was great for the team, sure. The bigger point however was Chris Bosh's exemplary performance. 21 points 10 rebounds and 4 blocks, seems like Chris Bosh is starting to play like Chris Bosh again. Neither Marvin Williams nor Zaza Pachulia can defend Bosh if he's playing like he's supposed to, and they can't focus all their energies on him either, because Toronto has too many weapons to constantly double up on him. Should be another big night for Bosh.
Indiana at Cleveland
Indiana, you are in for a world of hurt. If you'd played the Cavaliers on just any night, maybe when they'd been 2-2 in their last 4 games, then you might've won. But they've dropped SIX straight games, starting when Lebron left the Pistons game in the second quarter. Tonight is the return of the king, and Lebron may be a lot of things, but he most certainly is a man that knows how to put on a show, Lebron puts up 75,000 points and receives a key to the city, Cavs win.
Matchup of the night: Lebron James vs the Pacers- The Pacers can't defend him, not with Jermaine O'Neal hurting.
Minnesota at Washington
I read an interesting snippet regarding he Timberwolves: 'They're not bad, they're young'. Its the truth; the Wolves just beat the Suns (after a 5 game skid), but the problem with the young kids today is that they're just not consistent. The Wizards however have been pretty consistent going 6-2 at home since 11/14, mostly due to Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison's stepped up play. Heck, even Antonio Daniels has become a consistent and somewhat efficient ball distributer. Wizards ought to win, and they will. That's what separates an experienced team from a young one; you win the games you ought to win.
Matchup of the night: Caron Butler vs Ryan Gomes/ Corey Brewer- Butler has been a monster since Arenas had his knee reevaluated. His game is well rounded, he's not much from down town but in the month of December so far he's averaging 24 pts, 5.5 boards, 4.8 assists and 2.5 steals. Ryan Gomes is a nice guy and all, but he's not going to slow down Mr. Butler much.
LA Clippers at New Jersey
Classic scenario: two currently bad teams meet, but one of them travels 3000 miles to make the tip off. Almost always take the home team..almost. This whole Jason Kidd thing screams oddity. This New Jersey team obviously isn't all on the same page, and when there isn't a 5 on the team averaging over 5 points per game this team doesn't have the tools to consistently win games. Sure, if Nenad Kristic can get healthy they'll have a frontcourt again, but until then, and Sean Williams becomes consistent, this team will continue to surprise, in a good way for us, a bad way for them. That said, I'm picking Mr. Migraines to show the Clippers how much they miss Sam Cassell.
Matchup of the game: Jason Kidd vs Brevin Knight- Jason Kidd sat out Friday's game with a 'migraine'...whatever, Jason Kidd may or may not have had one, but one thing is for sure, he's not happy, and he saw fit to follow up Friday's game with one 10-7-7 game and one 12-15-12 game. Maybe him missing time wasn't a statement, but the games since sure have been one. Brevin Knight plays average defense, and that won't be enough. Kidd should eat him up.
Detroit at Memphis
I really like this game, mostly because I really like both teams' talent levels. Detroit is the better team right now, but the Grizzlies are dangerous. They're still adjusting to new players and a new coach, and by my count they've got one quality win against the Houston Rockets, but who doesn't with the way they're playing. Mark my words though, one of these days as long as Gasol is happy, the Griz will come together. Probably won't be tonight though. Pistons win.
Matchup of the game: Pau Gasol vs Rasheed Wallace- Darko Milicic or whoever plays the minutes at the other post position won't draw the ire of (for my money) the league's best post defender. Wallace will hassle Gasol all night, but the Grizzlies are a little too diverse for the Pistons to just center on the tall Spaniard. Lets see if Gasol can rise to the challenge.
Seattle at Chicago
Seattle is bad....real bad. Not bad like a young team should be bad, they're bad like a team that wins games by accident. They haven't won a road game since Mid-November. Chicago seems like a team thats pulling things together (slowly), and that ought to be enough to take down a Sonics team that is scared of a W.
Matchup of the game: Kevin Durant vs Luol Deng- The Bulls may put Ty Thomas on Durant, but I doubt it. Deng is their best defender for a player with Durant's talents, despite the difference in height. It will be a good challenge for Mr. 17 FGA's a game.
Portland at Utah
Big game for Portland here. Utah is a division rival, and they won't be taking Portland lightly. The TrailBlazers aren't a bad team, and if they were in the Eastern Conference, they'd be close or above .500. As it is, they're 8-12 with some nice wins over Detroit Dallas and New Orleans. Funny thing about that is every single big win has come at home. This is a great chance for them to win a big game away from mom and dad's house against a really good team. I'm picking them to take another step forward without training wheels here, and take another step towards becoming a really decent team.
Matchup of the game: Brandon Roy vs Ronnie Brewer- Travis Outlaw is a decent scorer, so is Lamarcus Aldridge. Steve Blake can make some outside shots; and thats how the Blazers win games. Thats because Brandon Roy can actually operate. Ronnie Brewer is still learning the ropes as an effective defender on the wing, and I expect Brandon Roy, the most underrated 2 guard in the league to teach him another lesson tonight.
San Antonio at Golden State
Can you beleive it? Another great game! Well, maybe not. I'm going to explain this very simply. Golden State thrives on creating chaos, clogging passing lanes, running like Marion Jones...on the juice. They need the other squad to get frustrated, break ranks, and try to force things. The Spurs won't play along.
Matchup of the game: Baron Davis vs Tony Parker- Baron Davis is too talented to be held back by Tony Parker, and the Warriors are too potent to be contained like a one trick Cavalier. Baron Davis ought to have a good game. He ought to, but the Warriors won't.
Well folks, hope you enjoyed the previews, and hope ya enjoy the games. Be safe and have a pleasant tomorrow.