Christmas has come and gone, and as we focus in on the New Year, it seems we finally have a clear view of the league (but we’ll still see lots of ‘are they for real’ articles about the Raptors, Hawks, Warriors, et al). After a week with no games on Christmas eve and five big games on Christmas, we get a full week with some great games – although New Years Day is strategically scheduled to avoid the big bowl games.

Below is an exciting match up for each day this coming week that you should check out:

Monday, December 29th – Wizards at Rockets, 8pm ET on NBA League Pass

Both of these teams have shown they are for real. As the season develops, we have seen the Wizards codify around John Wall, and the Rockets huddle around Harden and the idea of working as a team. Both teams are within two games of the top of the conference, and will need a win like this to keep up the pressure on the Raptors or Warriors (who play Friday).

Tuesday, December 30th – Raptors at Trail Blazers, 10:00pm ET on NBA League Pass

Speaking of the Raptors, they just keep winning. Since DeRozen went out due to injury they’ve demonstrated their depth by continuing on the same blistering pace, and currently lead the Eastern Conference. The Blazers have flown under the radar – coming into the week only 1/2 game out of first place, and everybody keeps saying they need “one more piece” to make a title run. Expect a big night from Batum, who has been subdued since this strong summer for France.

Other great games tonight include Cavs at Hawks (7:30pm ET on NBATV) and Suprs at Grizzlies (8:00pm ET on NBALP)

Wednesday, December 31st – Pelicans at Spurs, 7:00pm ET on NBA League Pass

The Spurs have been disappointing – there, I said it. Currently in 7th place in the West, they have underperformed from their blistering pace of last year, and were owned by a Durant-less Thunder team on Christmas day. The Pelicans continue to prod along, currently 1 game out of the playoff race, while Anthony Davis continues to put up MVP numbers. Just about any game in this division is worth watching, and this one will be interesting to see if the Spurs can handle a young team they “should” beat.

Other great games tonight include Suns at Thunder (9:00pm ET on NBALP)

Thursday, January 1st – Nuggets at Bulls, 8:00pm ET on NBA League Pass

A light schedule gives us the Bulls in a game they should win handily. The Bulls are many people’s pick to get to the finals from the East (if healthy), and so far they’ve looked great. The Nuggets are somewhat disappointing, but still only 3 1/2 out of the playoff race in the Western Conference.

Other great games tonight include Suns at Thunder (9:00pm ET on NBALP)

Friday, Janurary 2nd – Raptors at Warriors, 10:30pm ET on NBA League Pass

The leaders in each conference face off in a battle that will highlight some of the best guards in the league. The Raptors will come in midway through their west-coast swing, while the Warriors will have established a run of home games and likely be ready to take on all comers.

Other great games tonight include Wizards at Thunder (8:00pm ET on NBALP)

Saturday, January 3rd – Wizards at Spurs, 8:30pm ET on NBA League Pass

The Spurs’ week of gut-checking games continues with a battle against the Wizards. By this point, we’ll have an idea whether the Spurs are fading, and whether the Wizards are making a run for the Raptors. If Tony Parker is back from injury, the battle between he and John Wall will be one to watch.

Sunday, January 4th – Mavs at Cavs, 1:00pm ET on NBA League Pass

The Cavs have been fighting their biggest foe – themselves. After benching Kevin Love for the fourth quarter this past week, the Cavs need to pull it together if they’re going to be a serious contender this year, and injuries to Varejao and Irving are not helping. The Mavs haven’t exactly hit the ground running with Rondo so far, but a run of days to practice should give them time to gel and get on the same page. By this game, we’ll know what they will look like going forward – something we hope to be able to say about the Cavs as well.