After the festivities of All-Star Weekend, the Non-National Games of the Week get to hunker down into the real playoff push while also putting a spotlight on some of the more entertaining players that will not make the postseason. We could also see a few major trades change the complexion of the week’s games, including some potential quick reunions.
Warriors @ Jazz: Two teams grappling for playoff position that match up interestingly against each other. Look for Gordon Hayward to play a major role if Utah can pull out a big home win.
Grizzlies @ Raptors [Game of the Week]: As of this writing, this game serves as the biggest rematch of player against trading team. Rudy Gay should have plenty of motivation while the Grizzlies look to win a road game on a challenging trip.
Knicks @ Pacers: Indiana has come on strong after a rough beginning of the season and could not ask for a better statement game quickly after the break. Paul George can continue to establish himself as a next level player and potential Most Improved Player winner on the big stage.
Thunder @ Rockets: Any OKC-Houston game will make my NNGW list whenever eligible for the foreseeable future. Just too much fun to watch James Harden against his old mates even if some of the games have not been particularly watchable towards the end.
Nets @ Bucks: Possibly one of the last games with the Eastern Conference’s most fun backcourt, even though it still seems strange that the Bucks could trade Brandon Jennings before the season ends. As the Nets continue to struggle to find themselves, this marks an important game for both organizations as they begin the postseason push.
Nuggets @ Wizards: One of the league’s most interesting offenses dueling with the NBA’s toughest defense (since John Wall returns to the starting lineup). We could see some extended minutes with Andre Iguodala guarding Bradley Beal, which would be a strong test for the youngster.
Rockets @ Nets: One of those potentially interesting matchups between likely playoff teams. James Harden and Joe Johnson could spend some quality time deciding this game.
Heat @ 76ers- I just have a feeling this one could be better than it looks on paper, partially because Miami has another game the next day. Plus, Nick Young makes nearly any game worth paying attention to.
Jazz @ Clippers: Potential first-round matchup and also rumored trading partners.
Cavaliers @ Heat: Kyrie Irving continues to be must-see TV (and a potential NNGW MVP at this point) while the Heat are always worth watching. We’ll have to see if Dion Waiters can make a statement against Dwyane Wade, which seems required in order for Cleveland to pull the unthinkable.
Celtics @ Blazers: It feels like Damian Lillard and the Blazers need to be on this list at least once a week and a home game against Boston could be pretty fun. I am excited to see Nicolas Batum and Paul Pierce face each other on both ends of the floor.