After a few weeks of hibernation, it’s past time for the return of NNGW. As we enter the time for transactions and turmoil, we get the chance to see new faces in new places and the first real signs of potential playoff matchups.
Bulls @ Pacers: A potential playoff preview even though both teams have been missing important players (Derrick Rose and Danny Granger) for the entire season thus far. Roy Hibbert could make a major statement against All-Star Joakim Noah here.
Pistons @ Knicks: An early test of how the Pistons can play with Jose Calderon and the fascination of potentially seeing Tyson Chandler and Andre Drummond guard each other.
Blazers @ Wolves: Damian Lillard and Ricky Rubio on the floor together? Sign me up!
Warriors @ Rockets: While not a likely playoff preview due to seeding, a fun little face-off between two likely Western Conference post-season squads. James Harden should be a tough cover for Golden State’s perimeter arsenal while Jeremy Lin provides an interesting challenge for his former team.
Bucks @ Nuggets: Getting to see Milwaukee’s water bug guard combination go at this full-tilt Denver pace machine makes this one a must-see. Both Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis will need to produce if the Bucks want to pull out a big road win.
Bobcats @ Cavaliers: Makes the list just to see how Kemba Walker and Kyrie Irving fare against each other.
Nets @ Wizards: The Wizards have been stronger than expected after the return of John Wall and this game provides a strong test for both squads since Brooklyn still has a sub-.500 road record as of this writing. The PG’s get the top billing here but I am also intrigued to watch the big men go at it in this one.
Raptors @ Pacers: As the Raptors try to get it together (potentially for a playoff run), games like this should provide a good barometer of how far they have to go. In addition, the likely pairing of Rudy Gay and Paul George should produce plenty of fireworks.
Warriors @ Grizzlies [Game of the Week]: A very possible first-round pairing made even more important by the fact that the teams are dueling for home-court in a potential matchup. Andrew Bogut has already made an impact since his return while Memphis has their own formidable frontcourt in Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol. Even though the bigs here are so potent, expect for the perimeter play to decide the outcome.
Bulls @ Jazz: One of those games that just seems like it could be interesting. I’m fascinated to see how Chicago uses Jimmy Butler in a game like this and how Utah tries to defend Nate Robinson.
Nuggets @ Cavaliers: Three of NNGW’s favorite PG’s appear in this game, which also serves as an excellent showcase for developing big man Tristan Thompson and a massive challenge for Dion Waiters if Andre Iguodala guards him.
Pistons @ Bucks: Andre Drummond and LARRY SANDERS! could share the court here, if that does not implode the planet (which it very well might).
Hornets @ Raptors: One of those games that should be entertaining even if it does not end up staying close. I’m excited to see how Kyle Lowry and Greivis Vasquez play each other as well as how Toronto handles Anthony Davis on both ends.