Monday, January 7th: Grizzlies @ Kings, 10:00 ET, NBALP: Tony Allen tweeted at me today, so you best believe I’m going to support his Memphis Grizzlies as they head to Sacramento for a match up with the Queens. Also, Marc Gasol vs DeMarcus Cousins ought to be an intriguing battle of two highly-skilled heavyweights. Cousins has been in total beast-mode for about a week now, and Gasol just tied a Grizzlies franchise record for blocked shots in a single game.
Tuesday, January 8th: Lakers @ Rockets, 8:00 ET, NBATV: If you haven’t already heard, Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol are both out indefinitely — Dwight with some shredded shoulder cartilage and Pau with a concussion. Jordan Hill will also miss the next two games with a hip injury, which figures to make Robert Sacre the starting center. In other words, Kobe Bryant is going to shoot, and shoot, and shoot, and shoot. Who knows how many points he’ll score, but it’ll probably be even more than James Harden, who should be able to make easy work of LA’s “defense.”
Wednesday, January 9th: Timberwolves @ Thunder, 8:00 ET, NBALP: In one of my favorite games of the season to date, Nikola Pekovic absolutely DEMOLISHED Kendrick Perkins when these exact teams met on December 20th (24 points, 10 rebounds, 12-game Thunder win streak shattered). With Kevin Love out of the lineup, the Timberwolves have no choice but to feed the Pek and trust that he’ll come through once again. Assuming he does, the jaws of life will not be able to pry my eyeballs from the television screen… at 4 AM… when I’m watching the game for a third time.
Thursday, January 10th: Knicks @ Pacers, 8:00 ET, TNT: I know what you’re thinking — you want me to watch… the Pacers? — and I get it. However, these aren’t the Pacemakers of December. These are the Pacemakers of January, who have won 10 of their last 13. They’re also 12-3 at home, so I’m thinking they’re going to compete in this game. In order to do so, they’ll have to score a few points. In short, this ought to be more interesting than your average Pacers game.
Friday, January 11th: Thunder @ Lakers, 10:30 ET, ESPN: As much as I’d like to talk about how surprisingly-interesting Blazers/Warriors could be (and the Kent Bazemore celebrations it could inspire), I’ve got to make the obvious choice, which is Kobe vs Kevin. With half the Lakers’ roster on the shelf, the odds are just too high that an epic scoring duel could break out in the City of Angels. Be there or be square.
Saturday, January 12th: Magic @ Clippers, 3:30 ET, NBALP: You really thought I was going to suggest that you go a whole week without checking in on the marauding basketball entertainment machine that it is the LA Clippers? Of course you didn’t.
Sunday, January 13th: Warriors @ Nuggets, 8:00 ET, NBALP: Since you were unable to squeeze the Warriors in on Friday, why not check them out on Sunday? Denver is a tough place to win, but the young Warriors shouldn’t struggle as much as other teams do to adjust to the thin air and the quick tempo of the Pepsi Center. They like to run anyway, so it’s whatever.