Originally posted on NBA 24/7 365  |  Last updated 1/2/12

Monday, January 2nd: Thunder @ Mavericks, 8:30 ET, NBATV: I’m working under the assumption that last week’s match up, along with last season’s playoff series, have set a certain standard of play between these two teams.  The Mavs have been as bad as the Thunder have been good, but Dirk seems to save his best for Serge Ibaka, and Russell Westbrook could always prove to be the great equalizer.

Tuesday, January 3rd: Bobcats @ Cavaliers, 7:00 ET, NBALP: Dead serious.  I’ve been preaching about the surprising entertainment value of the Bobcats lately, so I’m just putting my money where my mouth is.  I like the match up with the Cavs for obvious reasons (should be competitive, Kyrie Irving sighting).

Wednesday, January 4th: Rockets @ Clippers, 10:30 ET, NBATV: Over their past two games the Clippers have finally proven to me that they’ll earn the “Lob City” nickname.  Those first two games scared me a bit, but all seems to be well again.  Anyway, Houston doesn’t exactly have the most imposing front line in the league, so Blake and DeAndre could put on one hell of a show.  In the early going it’s actually been DeAndre doing the most spectacular dunking, and I’m sure he’ll try to bring somethin’ extra special for the people of his hometown.

Thursday, January 5th: Lakers @ Blazers, 10:30 ET, TNT: The Lakers always seem to bring out the best of the Trail Blazers, especially at the Rose Garden.  One of the most intense environments you’ll find pre-playoff time is to be expected, and a skirmish or two wouldn’t surprise me.  Wes Matthews isn’t quite a healthy Brandon Roy, but he’s capable of making the two guard match up an interesting one.

Friday, January 6th: Cavaliers @ Timberwolves, 8:00 ET, NBALP: Gotta get a little Ricky Rubio in the mix!  In this one we’ll get to see how the 5th overall pick from the ’09 draft stacks up with last summer’s number one.  This game figures to create some buzz and should come with a high-level of entertainment value no matter the final score.  I can already tell you what they’ll be yapping about on ESPN Saturday morning: “who will be the better player, Rubio or Irving?”  I, for one, can’t wait for Skip Brainless to tell me how I should feel about that. 

Saturday, January 7th: Nuggets @ Spurs, 8:30 ET, NBALP: I didn’t think the Nuggets would be nearly as fun to watch (or as good) as they were at the end of last season after losing Martin, Smith, Chandler, and Felton.  I couldn’t have been more wrong.  The Nuggets are currently leading the league in steals and capitalizing by fast-breaking effectively… unless it’s Danilo Gallinari on the finish with the game on the line.  That scenario has presented a problem.

Sunday, January 8th: Grizzlies @ Lakers, 9:30 ET, NBALP: For the NBA fan, nothing says Sunday night like a Lakers game at Staples.  I haven’t even had a chance to watch the Grizzlies yet this season because I’ve become immersed in Clippers, Wolves, Bobcats, Nuggets, and Heat games.  I hope to find that the Grizz are still playing that inspired style of ball from last spring, but I’m afraid their 1-3 record suggests otherwise.

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