Our nightly look ahead to the schedule with a couple of notes and story lines so you can plan out your NBA viewing. All Times Eastern.
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7:00 – Miami Heat at Philadelphia 76’ers
If the Sixers win, they should have MC Hammer come out and sing “Too Legit To Quit” after the final buzzer. A win over the Heat tonight will go a long way in convincing doubters of their legitimacy. Even a close, hard fought loss will be enough to show they can hang. But a blowout loss will only stir up the Haterade.
The Sixers have had one of the NBA’s easiest schedules so far… and Chicago didn’t have Luol Deng in their loss to Philly. So even though Philadelphia has convinced many of us that they’re for real, a win tonight will send that message loud and clear.
Couple of notes:
- Miami has currently won eight consecutive games against the 76ers (not including the playoffs), including three-straight in Philadelphia
- The Sixers are first in the NBA in scoring defense (85.9 ppg) and have given up just 1,890 points in 22 games this season. That’s the fewest points Philly has allowed through the first 22 games of a season since the last lockout shortened season in 1998-99 (1,882)
8:00 – Memphis Grizzlies at Oklahoma City Thunder
While the big market Knicks and Celtics do battle on national TV, a pretty good game between to better small market teams will also be taking place. So if you want to stick it to the man and protest the big markets, come on over here at 8:00 Eastern and check out Kevin Durant in what could end up being a 1-8 first round playoff preview.
I still peg Memphis for a higher seed, but they might not realize that potential until they’re fully healthy. If they ever get fully healthy.
Couple of notes:
- Oklahoma City has held eight opponents to less than 40.0% shooting this year. They’re 7-1 in those games.
- This is the first night of a back-to-back for OKC. They are 4-1 on the first night of a back-to-back this season.
10:30 LA Lakers at Denver Nuggets (ESPN)
This is the last game of Denver’s second back-to-back-to-back stretch. They’re going to be tired. But the Lakers aren’t playing all that well, and they’re just 2-7 on the road. And this is the first game of a six-game roadie for Lake Show, so something got to give. Is this the stretch of the schedule the forces the Lakers’ hand? Or can they take advantage of a tired Nuggets team?
Couple of notes:
- The teams have split the season series so far (with two games to play). The Lakers dropped last season’s series to Denver (1-2) as well as the 2009-10 series (1-3), marking only the second time the Lakers have lost consecutive season series to the Nuggets (1977-78, 1978-79)
- Denver is 13-3 when holding opponents below 105 points.
Other story lines for tonight
7:00 – Washington-Toronto: Really? You want me to come up with a reason to watch this game? The CIA won’t even show this to Guantanamo detainiees.
7:00 – Cleveland-Orlando: The Magic need to feast on bad teams to get back to the top of the standings. But beware, the Cavs and Kyrie Irving will not go quietly into that good night.
7:30 – Minnesota-New Jersey: Rubio vs. Williams! Let’s see what Ricky can do against a guy like DWill.
7:30 – Milwaukee-Detroit: A second win over the Pistons in five days would even the Bucks’ record as they try to hold on to the 8th seed.
8:00 – New York-Boston: Can the Celtics take advantage of Knicks team that played some of its starters more than 40 minutes last night in a hard fought loss to Chicago?
8:00 – Phoenix-Houston: Can Kevin Martin stay hot? He’s scored 29 in each of his last two games, making 10 3’s in the process.
8:30 – Indiana-Dallas: Can Indy win its first game in Dallas in eight seasons?
76’ers, Thunder, Nuggets, Raptors, Magic, Timberwolves, Bucks, Celtics, Rockets, Mavericks
Last night: 3-3