This looks to be a non-national week hurt immensely by injuries. The Cavaliers and Bulls each have a series of compelling matchups at full strength that get immediately downgraded because their stars will not play. Regardless, NNGW soldiers on and there are still plenty of games worthy of your attention on NBA League Pass.
I will also note that the must-watch game of the week occurs on Wednesday at 8:00 PM ET when James Harden returns to Oklahoma City to take on the Thunder. That game will be televised on NBA TV so it is ineligible for this list but you damn well better make sure you see it.
Nuggets @ Jazz: One of those games that has the potential to be incredibly fun if the pieces work together well. The difference in styles between Karl’s Nuggets and the supersized Jazz lineup should be a blast to watch.
Raptors @ Rockets: Two NNGW favorites go at it in a potentially interesting game that also features Kyle Lowry’s return to Houston. I am looking forward to seeing how Toronto chooses to defend James Harden and the battle between Omer Asik and Jonas Valanciunas.
T-Wolves @ Kings: Kevin Love and DeMarcus Cousins. The two bigs that should have been teammates go at it here in a game worth keeping an eye on more than watch intently considering the overall quality of play.
Pacers @ Lakers: Even though the Pacers have struggled mightily to find themselves during Danny Granger’s absence, my instincts tell me they will come to play here. Paul George has the opportunity to make statements on both sides of the ball if Frank Vogel puts him on Kobe Bryant for key stretches.
Nets @ Celtics [Game of the Week]: Even though the Knicks have taken the early season spotlight from these two, it would not be surprising to see them battle in the playoffs. The top of the marquee here has to be Deron Williams and Rajon Rondo, but I am more interested in seeing how Boston tries to defend Brook Lopez.
Raptors @ Grizzlies: Memphis has become one of the more fun teams to watch this season (case in point: last week’s impressive win against the Lakers) and this one should be a nice showcase for them. Watch Mike Conley and Rudy Gay here.
Jazz @ Hornets: Another matchup of NNGW favorites so far this season and a major, major test for Derrick Favors. Look for Ryan Anderson to try and stretch the floor and use Utah’s size advantage against them.
76ers @ Bobcats: Charlotte has been the real surprise of the season thus far and a Bynum-less Philly provides a nice little test of their legitimacy as a playoff team. Jrue Holiday and Spencer Hawes could cause problems for the Bobcats here even as they continue to play without Andrew.
Blazers @ Celtics: This one makes the list because I have absolutely no idea how Damian Lillard and Rajon Rondo on the floor at the same time will turn out. That and Kevin Garnett vs. LaMarcus Aldridge make this a potentially fun one.
Jazz @ Thunder: Oklahoma City simply must make the list at least one time per week and this time it takes the form of the game after the Harden return. Kevin Durant should force the Jazz to play more conventionally at SF, which could mean higher energy minutes for their more rested big men.
Pacers @ Warriors: These teams just fit together in ways that make for a potentially compelling basketball game. George Hill and Stephen Curry play PG in different ways and Hill has the length to give Curry fits on and off the ball. If Andrew Bogut can be on the floor here, the game adds another layer with a big man battle on the interior.
Grizzlies @ Spurs: I love watching these two teams play and likely always will as long as they keep pretty much the same talent on their squads. Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol need to be on their toes on both sides of the ball since the Spurs’ perimeter players should be gunning to get them in foul trouble.