Monday, January 28th: Rockets @ Jazz, 9:00 ET, NBALP: Tonight’s schedule is the type that’ll interest only the most dedicated League Pass fanatics. Personally, I plan to spend the evening channel surfing… but I definitely intend to check on the Jazz and the Rockets. A matchup of the seventh and eighth seeds in the West, it figures to be a competitive tilt. Additionally, James Harden is always a delight, and Jamaal Tinsley — you never know what sort of streetball trickery he might have up his sleeve.
Tuesday, January 29th: Pelicans @ Lakers, 10:30 ET, NBATV: As the Grizzlies learned on Sunday night, the Pelicans are not to be slept on. Though their four-game win streak ended a week or so ago, they’re still having a strong month of January at 8-6. With a sizable point guard like Greivis Vasquez and mobile, jump-shooting bigs like Ryan Anderson and Jason Smith, New Orleans certainly presents some matchup issues from a Lakers point of view. Everybody’s going to be talking about it, so you may as well see it for yourself.
Wesneday, January 30th: Clippers @ Timberwolves, 8:00 ET, NBALP: Rick Adelman will return to the bench, but most importantly, Nikola Pekovic is rumored to be returning to the court. It was actually against the Clippers that Pekovic suffered what must’ve been a catastrophic leg injury to keep him sidelined for five games. One must figure there will be hell to pay.
Thursday, January 31st: Grizzlies @ Thunder, 8:00 ET, TNT: Well, I can’t use my favorite line — “the Grizzlies and Thunder haven’t played a game decided by fewer than nine points since __” — anymore, since Memphis took the most recent meeting by double digits. However, I can remind you that the Grizzles’ backup point guard is an exciting young player by the name of Tony Wroten. Wroten is like a left-handed Tyreke Evans, except he’s 19 years old and doesn’t play for the Kings. He lacks a little polish, but he’s got that Pacific Northwestern flare (think Jamal Crawford, good Nate Robinson). Check him out.
Friday, February 1st: Heat @ Pacers, 7:00 ET, ESPN: These two teams have been none too fond of each other since last spring’s heated playoff series. Whether or not Indiana’s contempt is something that irks Miami, I’m not really sure… but as a fan, I like to think it is. On a related note, Paul George did kind of embarrass LeBron back on the 8th. Revenge could be in store.
Saturday, February 2nd: Bulls @ Hawks, 7:00 ET, NBALP: All-Star snubs Al Horford and Josh Smith cross paths with All-Star selections Joakim Noah and Luol Deng. I’m kind of assuming that the Hawks will score 60 points this time, but on the off chance that they don’t, maybe we’ll see a novelty garbage-time matchup at the point guard spot. The Teague brothers will both be on hand.
Sunday, February 3rd: Clippers @ Celtics, 1:00 ET, NBATV: Clippers at Celtics — it’s better than the Super Bowl! Well, maybe not… but certainly better than whatever pregame shows they’ve got going on at lunchtime, right?