This will be a strange week in terms of League Pass, starting with the NBA ducking the college football National Championship Game with a weak three-game slate.
That said, there are plenty of fascinating contests on the schedule, including Bucks/Spurs, Grizzlies/Rockets and the Game of the Week: Cavs at Jazz on Tuesday.
Pelicans at Knicks, 7:30 p.m.: Anthony Davis vs. Kristaps Porzingis, even if the Knicks do not play Porzingis at center enough for them to match up incredibly often.
Thunder at Bulls, 8 p.m.: Jimmy Butler has been on an absolute tear and presumably Andre Roberson will draw the assignment to slow him down. On the other end, Russell Westbrook continues to dominate but the Thunder have slipped a little in past weeks. A big road win would help.
Mavericks at Timberwolves, 8 p.m.: A chance for the Wolves to get back on track with their outside shot of making the playoffs or the start of Dallas’ last stand. After all, these teams have the same record.
Bulls at Wizards, 7 p.m.: Tough back-to-back for the Bulls and a game the Wizards will really want to take against another team in the East morass. John Wall has played well and presumably Michael Carter-Williams will have to cover him.
Bucks at Spurs, 8:30 p.m.: A huge test for the young Bucks and Giannis, who likely will have Kawhi on him most of the night. Keep an eye on how Milwaukee’s centers fare against Pau Gasol, Dewayne Dedmon and the other Spurs big men.
Cavs at Jazz, 9 p.m. (Game of the Week): If the Jazz starters can avoid stepping on any rakes for a day, we could see them at full strength against the reigning champs. LeBron James is still a monster and the Jazz will rely on Rudy Gobert’s interior defense since they do not have a traditional lockdown defender on the wing.
Knicks at 76ers, 7 p.m.: If Joel Embiid plays, this will be fun. If not, look elsewhere.
Rockets at Timberwolves, 8 p.m.: The Wolves’ swingmen did a pretty good job on James Harden the last time they faced off but the Rockets still walked away with a close win. Karl-Anthony Towns could loom large here, particularly since Clint Capela is unavailable.
Wizards at Celtics, 8 p.m.: The night after facing the Bulls on the second end of a home/road back-to-back, the Wizards do the same in Boston. Isaiah Thomas has built on last season’s All-Star appearance with an even better season but will have to reach deep into his bag of tricks against John Wall and company.
Pelicans at Nets, 7:30 p.m.: The Pelicans still have a shot at making the playoffs in the West but will need to win road games like this one to keep that hope alive. Anthony Davis guarding Brook Lopez will be a good window into his long-term viability as an on-ball defensive center.
Lakers at Spurs, 8:30 p.m.: A stress test for all of the Lakers’ young players at the same time, depending on how the teams sort out the matchups.
Mavericks at Suns, 10 p.m.: Potentially significant for the lottery and also a reasonable line in the sand that it is time to tank for the losing team.
Grizzlies at Rockets, 8 p.m.: A serious Game of the Week contender and a very reasonable playoff matchup that would be a lot of fun. Tony Allen has continued his All-Defense domination and will presumably make James Harden’s life incredibly uncomfortable.
Thunder at Timberwolves, 8 p.m.: This could go a few different ways but a potentially fun contest between two combustible young teams. Ricky Rubio defends Russell Westbrook while Steven Adams likely has to tangle with Karl-Anthony Towns.
Magic at Trail Blazers, 10 p.m.: After Sunday’s double-OT thriller against the Pistons, Portland sits seven games under .500 but still in the lead for the West’s 8-seed. Orlando still has a shot at a playoff berth themselves but will need their defense to step up here.
Pelicans at Bulls, 5 p.m.: Two teams with very different strengths and plenty to play for makes this a fun clash of styles. The Pelicans have looked solid since moving Anthony Davis to center and he will have to grapple with Robin Lopez days after doing the same with his twin brother.
76ers at Wizards, 8 p.m.: Even if Joel Embiid does not play, this could be worth watching as a potential display game for Nerlens Noel. His defensive versatility could be useful against Washington’s guards.
Magic at Jazz, 9 p.m.: The Congo Line playing against Favors and Gobert will be a ton of fun even if the perimeter talent and home court favor one team.
Bucks at Hawks, 3 p.m.: Intriguing Sunday matinee as the Hawks continue to move through the time after trading Kyle Korver. Paul Millsap is still around and will presumably guard Jabari Parker while Bazemore and Sefolosha try to slow down Giannis.
Knicks at Raptors, 3 p.m.: A solid change of pace from Bucks/Hawks and a good calibrator game for both Courtney Lee (guarding DeMar DeRozan) and Joakim Noah (guarding Jonas Valanciunas). Kyle Lowry could go off against a New York’s talented but defensively limited point guard tandem.
Thunder at Kings, 9 p.m.: If there is not at least a stare down between DeMarcus Cousins and Steven Adams, this game is a disappointment.