As the NCAA Tournament approaches to gobble up the sports landscape, the NBA put together an interesting week of games with stronger League Pass options due to the limited national slate later in the week.
While the Game of the Week (Clippers at Jazz) is a rare example of two high-end teams facing off, there are a series of fun matchups that could hold significance with a month left in the regular season.
Bucks at Grizzlies, 8 p.m.: The Bucks are still in the playoff picture in the East while Memphis looks to re-establish themselves after a rough stretch. The Grizzlies will have to figure out how to contain Giannis while Marc Gasol could have a big night as well.
Wizards at Timberwolves, 8 p.m.: Minnesota has played extremely well recently and Ricky Rubio has shined against some of the league’s best point guards. An extremely fun game on paper that could go a few different directions.
Clippers at Jazz, 9 p.m. (Game of the Week): Likely playoff preview and great opportunity to evaluate two teams that have been dealing with injury woes for a long time now. Unfortunately, which players sit and play for Utah will have a major effect on the intrigue and that is not known as of now.
Thunder at Nets, 7:30 p.m.: An opportunity for Russell Westbrook to go absolutely nuts, though the Nets have looked better recently.
Pacers at Knicks, 7:30 p.m.: Far from Reggie and Spike but still a solid test for the Pacers as they try to secure a playoff spot and a calibrator for how much remains in the Knicks’ passion bucket.
Blazers at Pelicans, 8 p.m.: Two teams that have played some interesting, fun games since their big trade deadline moves, which also gives us DeMarcus Cousins vs. Jusuf Nurkic for extended minutes. The other matchup to watch is Jrue Holiday defending Damian Lillard.
Timberwolves at Celtics, 7:30 p.m.: Another serious Game of the Week candidate considering both teams have played well recently with plenty on the line despite their different places in their conference’s hierarchy. Rubio vs. Thomas will be a blast but how Boston defends Karl-Anthony Towns will be illuminating for their potential playoff matchups against versatile big men.
Pelicans at Heat, 7:30 p.m.: Miami actually leads the league in NetRtg since the All-Star break and looks to have an inside line on a playoff berth. Even so, Anthony Davis and the Pelicans could play spoiler in just about any game but will be playing in South Beach on a back-to-back.
Kings at Suns, 10 p.m.: A strangely significant game in terms of the lottery as both teams have played with intensity recently despite being near the bottom of the league. A Suns win narrows the margin between #3 to #6 records while a Kings win would widen it.
Thunder at Raptors, 7 p.m.: Serge Ibaka faces his old team in another uniform and remember that Ibaka scored 31 on the Thunder in a road win earlier this season. Plus, DeRozan vs. Oladipo could be compelling on both ends of the floor.
Grizzlies at Hawks, 7:30 p.m.: A potential rock fight of a game that matters for both teams as they scramble to secure a better seed and weaker first round opponent. Dwight Howard has battled Marc Gasol in many different uniforms and both are having strong seasons in their thirties.
Clippers at Nuggets, 9 p.m.: Arguably the most fun game of the week on paper if both teams are able to play their best guys. Nikola Jokic forces DeAndre Jordan out of his comfort zone while the Nuggets will have to figure out some way to slow down the Clippers’ offense.
Bulls at Wizards, 7 p.m.: Apologies for putting a Bulls game on the list but this one could be interesting as the Wizards still need to figure out how to defend elite small forwards and Jimmy Butler certainly fits that bill.
Raptors at Pistons, 7:30 p.m.: An opportunity for the Pistons as the Raptors will have to travel to complete their back-to-back. Cory Joseph could loom large but the biggest questions are how both teams use their starting centers and whether Kentavious Caldwell-Pope can slow down DeMar DeRozan.
Rockets at Pelicans, 8 p.m.: Alvin Gentry will have to figure out how to deploy his big men but Anthony Davis could be uniquely disruptive due to his ability to close out while also being an active team defender.
Trail Blazers at Hawks, 6 p.m.: Exactly the type of game the Blazers need to win to secure the 8-seed and the Hawks need to win to secure a place in the 4/5 matchup and possibly host it. Schroder guarding Lillard and Howard vs. Nurkic will be entertaining.
Rockets at Nuggets, 9:30 p.m.: First to 130 wins, unless the teams get too tired due to the altitude and changing ends every ten seconds.
Bucks at Warriors, 10:30 p.m.: The Warriors start the week having played only one home game since Kevin Durant’s injury, a loss to the Celtics. After facing the 76ers and Magic earlier in the week, we get a fairer test of their current state with Giannis and the Bucks.
Mavericks at Nets, 12 p.m.: An early start makes this stand out and it could actually be interesting if the Nets continue to play like they have the last little while.
Timberwolves at Pelicans, 6 p.m.: Despite not being a good team, the Pelicans make this week’s list again as Towns and the Wolves make for an incredibly fun matchup all over the floor.
Trail Blazers at Heat, 6 p.m.: A great closer to the week.