As we move into December, things are starting to shake out in the west, while the East remains a mystery in many ways. Teams that have had easier schedules (looking at you, Raptors and Grizzlies) now face some tough competition over the next month, and teams that have pushed out victories against the harder competition should now have a chance to beat up on the low hanging fruit. This week begins the road to Christmas – that traditional start of the “serious” NBA season.
Below is an exciting match up per day for this coming week that you should check out:
Monday, December 1st – Heat at Wizards, 7:00 pm ET on NBA League Pass
Two teams that came into the season with question marks and a lot of hope now sit firmly in the middle to top-half of the Eastern Conference. On a shortened NBA night (only 4 games), this is a chance to see if the Wizards can rebound from a blow out loss in Cleveland, and if Miami can complete back-to-back victories after taking the Knicks all the way on Sunday night.
Tuesday, December 2nd – Mavericks at Bulls, 8:00 pm ET on NBA League Pass
The Mavs have run wreck through the East so far this year, comfortably beating the Raptors this past week and currently sitting at 13-5. The Bulls are looking good, and if they can stay healthy are truly the title contenders that everyone made them out to be at the start of the season. If nothing else, Dirk and Pau are two of the best Euro stretch-4’s you’ll ever see, and that should be entertaining enough in of itself.
Wednesday, December 3rd – Grizzlies at Rockets, 8:00 pm ET on NBA League Pass
The Grizzlies come in with the best record in the NBA (currently 15-2 as of Sunday night), and face the Rockets, a team holding on to a 13-4 record despite multiple injuries (including 6 straight games without Dwight Howard coming into the week). Howard seems to be a few more days off, which likely means that the tandem of Gasol and Randolph will run amuk in the front court, but Harden and the other Rockets have proven doubters wrong since the start of the season, and could be the surprise to derail the Grizzlies.
Thursday, December 4th – Pelicans at Warriors, 10:30 pm ET on TNT
The Warriors are only a 1/2 game behind the Grizzlies coming into the week, and they are at or near the top in nearly every offensive category in the league. The Pelicans are up and coming, but Anthony Davis is truly stand-out and watching him is one of the most fun activities there is so far this season. Combine that with the explosive running Golden State offense and you’ve got a recipe for an entertaining (but maybe not close) game.
Friday, December 5th – Cavs at Raptors, 7:30 pm ET on NBA League Pass
The Cavs seem to have righted the ship, and now face the Raptors who recently lost DeRozen to injury. While the Cavs figure themselves out, they still feature the best player in the game, and the Raptors aren’t particularly strong at that position, instead focusing their offense around Kyle Lowery. This should be an interesting contrast, and will likely result in a lot of points – and a clearer view into the Eastern Conference going forward.
Friday, December 5th – Spurs at Grizzlies, 8:00 pm ET on NBA League Pass
An extra Friday game, and an excellent one at that. The current champs face the team with the best current record. Nevemind that their playoff battles have been the stuff of legend, nevermind that both teams play beautiful basketball and feature fundamentally sound players at nearly every position. This is a grudge match, and promises to be the game of the week – plus it will tell us how far the Grizzlies have really come this year.
Saturday, December 6th – Warriors at Bulls, 8:00 pm ET on NBATV
See above about both teams. By this point, we’ll know if the Warriors are coming in with a double-figure win streak, and if the Bulls can build up a streak of their own after returning home from a long road trip.
Sunday, December 7th – Bucks at Mavericks, 7:30 pm ET on NBA League Pass
People have been gaga over the Bucks and their early success. Last week, the Rockets put an end to that glee, and started a tough run of teams for them that will show us their true stripes. The greek-freak is for real, but is this team old enough (experienced enough) to compete with the best in the NBA – we’ll start to find out this week.