After an exciting week in which we saw some of the league’s early leaders come back to earth (Toronto) while others kept climbing (Golden State), we have a better idea of where the next few weeks might take us. This week features some exciting teams that we didn’t expect to be as good as they are (Hawks), and some that are just starting to get down to business (Clippers).
Below is an exciting match up per day for this coming week that you should check out:
Monday, December 8th – Suns at Clippers, 10:30pm ET on NBA League Pass
The Clippers are 14-5, and while Blake Griffin was once considered the dark horse MVP candidate de-jour (now replaced by Anthony Davis), he has come back to earth a little bit. The Suns were last year’s surprise, who this year seem to be sneaking up on nobody. They come in at 12-9 and will look to run with the Clippers – a challenge not many teams are positioned to accept. Look for a ton of points, as each team looks to find their defense as the season progresses.
Tuesday, December 9th – Raptors at Cavs, 7pm ET on NBA League Pass
A rematch of last week’s showdown in which the Cavs went into Toronto and ground down the Raptors. Toronto is without one of their major stars, DeMar DeRozen, so Kyle Lowry has been forced into more minutes, and more scoring. The Cavs are everyone’s super team who have had an expected (at least by me) slower start, and are now the threatening beast everyone expected them to be. The big outstanding question so far is whether the transition of LeBron to “point guard” is real or just a game-to-game adjustment. This game will be the second time the Cavs face the Raptors on the back side of a back-to-back – again in New York (or Brooklyn to be exact) the night before.
Wednesday, December 10th – Pelicans at Mavericks, 8pm on ESPN
The all-everything Anthony Davis is fun to watch anytime he plays – but the idea of him going up against Dirk and the Mavericks is especially exciting. While the Mavs should win this game going away, that key matchup – between the aging Dirk and the youthful superstar-to-be Anthony Davis is more than enough to keep us tuned in.
Thursday, December 11th – Cavs at Thunder, 8pm ET on TNT
The Thunder are finally back to full-strength. They’ve yet to have a “statement” game, however – a game where they declare to the world, “we’re back – be scared”. Their race to make the playoffs is on – needing another 40+ wins to get to the average number of wins for a playoff team – and a nationally televised game against the expected Eastern Conference champs is the time to show up and make things happen. At the beginning of the season, this was seen as a finals preview. It still could be, but the Thunder need to show that they’re really “back”.
Friday, December 12th – Blazers at Bulls, 7pm ET on ESPN
The Bulls are only 3-5 against teams from the West, and as many people’s favorite to come out of the East, they need a statement win against one of the dominant conference’s power teams. The Blazers start the week 15-4, the quietest of the elite in the West, but perhaps the most dangerous. A team that changed very little over the summer, aside from getting deeper and more experience, they have had impressive wins throughout the NBA so far this season.. The Bulls are fighting constant health concerns – so if they can stay healthy, games like this are the ones we want to pay to see over and over.
Saturday, December 13th – Warriors at Mavs, 2pm ET on NBA League Pass
The Warriors come into the week on a 12 game winning streak. The Mavs are the type of team they can lose to – one that spreads the floor, shoots well, and features a dominant inside force that can take advantage of inexperienced interior defenders. If the Warriors can clamp down, they should win handily.
Sunday, December 14th – Warriors at Pelicans, 6pm ET on NBA League Pass
See above, but if the Warriors can escape the Mavs, this could be another test, with another big man. The Pelicans are not as strong a team as either the Warriors or the Mavs, but catching the Warriors on the back side of a road back-to-back is the ideal way to face them if you’re from New Orleans.