Non-National Games Of The Week (Nov. 5-Nov. 11)
After a fascinating first week of NNGW games headlined by James Harden, I look forward to another strong week of action.
Knicks @ 76ers: A compelling clash of styles even without Andrew Bynum. Look for Spencer Hawes to make an impact, but for newly-extended Jrue Holiday to decide the game in the second half.
Jazz @ Grizzlies: Utah may have the best young big man collective in the NBA. The Grizzlies have a more mature group that also has the benefit of a stronger perimeter core. Should be a fun one.
Pacers @ Spurs: As a big fan of Paul George, there are few better tests for the young guy than Kawhi Leonard and Popovich’s game plans. The George Hill/Tony Parker battle should be intense as well.
Election Day- American readers, make sure you vote if you have not already. (No stand out games, either)
Nuggets @ Rockets [Game of the Week]: Even though the Nuggets have had a slower than expected start, this one has enough pizzazz to be the Game of the Week. James Harden has set the NBA world on fire to start the season and Denver likely puts stud defender Andre Iguodala on him here. JaVale McGee will need to stay out of foul trouble since both Harden and Jeremy Lin love to penetrate and create/score from there.
Raptors @ Mavericks: Beyond being an interesting game for Jonas Valanciunas, I put this game on the list because of the point guard matchup. Both Darren Collison and Kyle Lowry can key their teams on the offensive end while making life incredibly uncomfortable for their counterpart on the other side of the ball.
Cavaliers @ Warriors: Kyrie Irving vs. Stephen Curry. Not bad for the late game on a Wednesday night.
Heat @ Hawks: Some writers projected this as the Eastern Conference Finals, which should be enough to put this game on the list. Here’s hoping Josh Smith can play in this one as I love seeing him and LeBron James on the court at the same time.
Celtics @ Bucks: Brandon Jennings and Rajon Rondo are two of the more watchable and debatable PG’s in the entire league. Each plays with tons of fire and their skillsets make them interesting covers for each other. This game also provides a challenge for Milwaukee’s big man cluster as they try to stop Kevin Garnett. Plus, we could see Jason Terry and Monta Ellis guarding each other!
Spurs @ Blazers: Portland gets an early season challenge after dispatching the Lakers last week. LaMarcus Aldridge gets the chance to prove that he deserves to make the All-Star game this season against Tim Duncan while Damian Lillard has to duel with Tony Parker.
Hawks @ Clippers: Two of my favorite teams to watch go at it in a matinee on Sunday. Al Horford has to be a difference maker for this Hawks squad to reach the lofty heights some have projected for them while their fascinating cabal of shooters can make Vinny’s head spin in terms of scheming and defensive rotations.
Heat @ Grizzlies: Considering Miami’s weaknesses so far this season, playing the Grizzlies on the road provides a strong early test. I am intrigued to see how Miami defends Rudy Gay and whether he can have a strong night with LeBron likely guarding him much of the night.