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 Orlando Magic
Nothing like firing up the ol’ in-state rivalry for some fun on a Wednesday night. Orlando is desperate to return to some stability. After a five game winning streak to start the season 10-3, the Magic have gone 5-7 with some crippling losses. But sometimes all it takes is a big win to snap out of it. And while the Heat have been scorching lately, they are still weak where Orlando is strong. So the potential exists for Dwight Howard to put on a show.
Couple of notes:
- The Magic have won eight of the last 10 meetings at home against Miami
- LeBron James’ 13 30-point games this season have come in just 23 games played. It is his second highest number of 30-point games through the first 23 games of any season of his career
7:00 San Antonio Spurs at Philadelphia 76ers
If Heat/Magic doesn’t interest you at 7… perhaps some Spurs/Sixers will. The rodeo road trip has begun, and the Spurs are looking to improve on a 4-8 road record. Philly continues to beg for legitimacy:
“The league should be looking at us as a poster of a real team the way we play every night,” coach Doug Collins said.
So the Sixers will continue to put their all out there against the Spurs, who still hope to make some noise out West. The more they’re slighted, the more inspiration they’re going to have. I’m sure Doug Collins is going to milk this motivational tool for all its worth.
Couple of notes:
- Gregg Popovich has managed San Antonio’s minutes well. No Spur is among the top 35 in the NBA in minutes per game.
- Philly is looking to win two straight over Spurs for first time since 11/14/03-1/3/04
10:00 pm Houston Rockets at Portland Trailblazers
The Blazers are a little pissed off about that loss to Oklahoma City, especially after the league apologizedabout blowing a call that could have won them the game. They hope to take that frustration out on the Rockets. Houston, Portland, Dallas and the LA Lakers are in a four-way tie for 5th in the Western Conference. That logjam gets broken, somehow, tonight.
Couple of notes:
- Houston has recorded 21 consecutive victories when holding an opponent under 90 points
- The Trail Blazers are the only team in the NBA to have two different players, who have come off the bench in ﬁve or more games that rank in the top 20 in the league in scoring off the bench (Jamal Crawford, Nicolas Batum)
Other story lines for tonight
7:00 LA Clippers-Cleveland: The Clippers begin life without Chauncey after Billups was diagnosed with a left Achilles tendon tear
7:00 New York-Washington (NBA TV): The Knicks will be without Carmelo Anthony for up to two weeks and without Amar’e Stoudemire tonight. So can Jeremy Lin stay hot and lead New York to another win?
7:00 Milwaukee-Toronto: Milwaukee has lost 10 of 13 on the road, and three straight games heading into Toronto
7:30 Indiana-Atlanta: This should probably be another featured game. Atlanta has lost three straight and is falling in the standings, and they need a win over Indiana to prevent falling further into the lower half of the East
7:30 Detroit-New Jersey: This is actually an elaborate radio contest. Anyone who can last the whole game without getting physically ill gets Springsteen tickets
8:00 Chicago-New Orleans: How much will the sore back that caused Derrick Rose to leave the Nets game hamper him tonight?
8:00 Minnesota-Memphis: Kevin Love returns from suspension as Minnesota finally climbs above .500
9:00 Dallas-Denver: Another one we easily could have featured. Denver is sliding back down to earth while Dallas tries to climb out of that four-way tie for 5th. A win tonight will bring Dallas into a tie with Denver.
Miami, Philadelphia, Portland, LA Clippers, New York, Toronto, Indiana, New Jersey, Chicago, Minnesota, Dallas
Last night: 6-0