After another strong week on League Pass (especially Friday’s flurry of close finishes)
Orlando Magic vs. Detroit Pistons: This one loses a little luster due to Aaron Gordon’s injury but I am still excited to watch Nikola Vucevic try to score on Andre Drummond. Plus, Elfrid Payton and Brandon Jennings could be strangely intriguing.
Houston Rockets vs. Memphis Grizzlies: Even after Houston’s unconscionably ugly game last night against Oklahoma City, this does feature the two best records in the entire NBA. Tony Allen’s rep as a perimeter stopper faces a major test in James Harden’s herky jerky game. Plus, Dwight Howard does battle with the Grizzlies bigs.
New Orleans Pelicans vs. Portland Trail Blazers: Two teams that have been fun to watch all year. Anthony Davis continues to impress while Jrue Holiday can add another Point Guard to his mantle if he can figure out a way to contain Damian Lillard. Also, Robin Lopez gets an under the radar revenge game against a team that basically dumped him for cap space.
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Utah Jazz- With OKC’s stars still on the mend, this becomes a closer matchup. Gordon Hayward and the Jazz have produced some strong moments this season and I want to see the intensity when Steven Adams and Derrick Favors share the floor.
Dallas Mavericks vs. Washington Wizards: Dallas continues to have exciting games under Rick Carlisle and that should continue in the nation’s capital against a potent Wizards team. John Wall’s speed could create problems for Dallas but I am not sure Washington has anyone to defend Dirk Nowitzki.
Memphis Grizzlies vs. Toronto Raptors: Toronto has an amazing opportunity to raise their profile this week and it starts with hosting the Memphis Grizzlies. Marc and Z-Bo pose all sorts of problems for the Raptors but Dave Joeger will need Courtney Lee to counteract Toronto’s potent backcourt.
Milwaukee Bucks vs. Toronto Raptors: As crazy as it may sound, I am more excited for this one than Grizzlies/Raptors. Milwaukee still has to figure out how their offense will work but they have such a fun combination of talent from Giannis and Jabari Parker to Larry Sanders rounding into caps-lock form. Jonas Valanciunas will have a nice chance to establish himself here.
Toronto Raptors vs. Cleveland Cavaliers (Game of the Week): A huge statement game for both teams just two days after each has a different major matchup. LeBron James and Kevin Love pose problems for Toronto while Kyle Lowry will make Kyrie Irving have nightmares about pick and rolls until Thanksgiving.
New Orleans Pelicans vs. Utah Jazz: Two of my favorites makes this a mandatory inclusion. Keep an eye on Utah’s second unit- Rudy Gobert and Dante Exum could do well against New Orleans’ shaky backups.
Los Angeles Clippers vs. Memphis Grizzlies: Just a compelling game between two teams that do not like each other at all. I said years ago that every Blake Griffin vs. Zach Randolph game would make this list for the foreseeable future and nothing has changed that sentiment. Mike Conley continues to play an under appreciated part in Memphis’ success but can help make his star with a big performance against Chris Paul.
Portland Trail Blazers vs. Boston Celtics: For some reason, this feels like it could end up being a fun one. Brad Stevens has done a fabulous job with a Celtics team that still needs some pieces to contend but they do not have anyone who can handle LaMarcus Aldridge.
Golden State Warriors vs. Oklahoma City Thunder: This would be substantially more fun if Westbrook and Durant were playing but could still be worth watching. Stephen Curry and the Warriors have come out strong so far and could be riding a notable winning streak heading into this game.
Nuggets vs. Los Angeles Lakers: Because we could see some offensive records.