It looks like a strange week for non-national games considering Sunday carries by far the best slate of matchups. There are a few potentially fun ones during the weeknights though and I will be paying close attention to the potential playoff preview in Phoenix on Thursday.
Memphis Grizzlies @ Washington Wizards: Sadly, this would have been a more interesting match-up if Emeka Okafor had not gotten hurt. John Wall has continued his strong play but will need some help from Bradley Beal to overcome the hard charging Grizzlies, even at home.
New York Knicks @ Detroit Pistons: This feels like an elimination game for one of the teams considering how deep the downward spirals have been over the last few weeks. It would be particularly damaging for the Knicks since it would be their seventh consecutive loss and put them at 2-13 since the start of February.
Golden State Warriors @ Indiana Pacers: Even though the Warriors have not come on as strong as many NBA fans hoped, they are still a dangerous team in any building. The Pacers have an interesting test for Evan Turner as he may be asked to guard Klay Thompson through a variety of screens.
Los Angeles Clippers @ Phoenix Suns: Two fun teams to watch and a potentially important game in terms of the Pacific Division. Goran Dragic will need to have a huge game against the best point guard on the planet to win but he is certainly capable of it.
Memphis Grizzlies @ Brooklyn Nets: Brooklyn’s move into a more secure playoff position has made this more of a signpost game for both franchises. Both Marc Gasol and Mike Conley will have their hands full with their Nets counterparts but the Memphis swingmen may actually determine the outcome.
Oklahoma City Thunder @ Phoenix Suns: While this will not be a week where the non-national game outshines the TNT games due to Heat/Spurs, I am thankful this game starts an hour after so the big moments should be reasonably staggered. Kevin Durant has maintained and even enhanced his status as an NNGW favorite while Phoenix as a team has been incredibly fun to watch this season. I sincerely hope Eric Bledsoe (who was technically drafted by the Thunder for a trade to the Clippers) gets back in time to battle Russell Westbrook.
Portland Trail Blazers @ Dallas Mavericks: After a little swoon in January, the Blazers have come on strong and will likely carry a seven-game winning streak into Dallas for this huge game. The Mavericks simply must win at least a few home games against quality opponents and I hope that we get to see a proper Nowitzki/Aldridge duel here.
Utah Jazz @ Philadelphia 76ers: Even though the Sixers have been playing ugly basketball for over a month now, I am excited to see Trey Burke and Michael Carter-Williams go at it.
Atlanta Hawks @ Los Angeles Clippers: This one makes the list because the Blake Griffin vs. Paul Millsap battles on the boards could be epic
Denver Nuggets @ New Orleans Pelicans: While we likely cannot break out the “T” word here, both of these teams are in full freefall at this juncture. That reality makes this an incredibly important game in terms of the ping pong balls since as of this writing Denver and New Orleans are only two games apart in the wins column.
Sacramento Kings @ Brooklyn Nets: DeMarcus Cousins and Kevin Garnett? I’m there.
Portland Trail Blazers @ Houston Rockets [Game of the Week]: Both teams likely want to do better seed-wise but this could be a first round series preview. Portland’s defense will need to step up against a tough team to handle in Houston.
Toronto Raptors @ Minnesota Timberwolves: Like the Mavericks game earlier in the week, Minnesota will need to win some games like this down the stretch. Kevin Love will need to extend his strong February into March for the Wolves to get enough scoring to take out a strong Raptors squad.
Indiana Pacers @ Dallas Mavericks: Just an interesting clash of styles and talent. Here’s hoping we get to see Paul George spend some quality time on Monta Ellis because it seems like a strange matchup for both of them.