Originally written on Crossover Chronicles  |  Last updated 1/30/12

Our nightly look ahead to the schedule with a couple of notes and story lines so you can plan out your NBA viewing. 

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8:00:  Minnesota Timberwolves at Houston Rockets

Here's something I never thought I'd type a month ago:  If you haven't seen the Timberwolves play, you're missing out.  I will admit that I'm completely captivated by Ricky Rubio.

  Maybe it's because my expectations were so low for him, but I just love watching him out there flinging passes around so freely.  The kid is a natural.  Oh, and they have some other guy.  Long?  Luke?   NO NO.. it's Love.  Yeah... I think this Love kid will be OK. 

Couple of notes:

  • The Rockets have won 15 of their last 16 meetings with Minnesota
  • Ricky Rubio is the league leader in alley oop assists

9:00:  Portland Trailblazers at Utah Jazz

The Blazers have cooled significantly since starting the season 7-2.  They have gone 5-6 since then.  Utah is percentage points ahead of them in the conference standings, making this a key early season match up.  The Blazers might be able to take advantage of Raja Bell's strained hip, which means Wesley Matthews could be the difference in this one.

Couple of notes: 

  • Last season, Portland out-rebounded Utah 164-149, including a 53-32 edge on the offensive end. Portland also collected advantages in second-chance points (52-36) and points in the paint (162-142)
  • Devin Harris scored 26 points and tied a career high by hitting fi ve 3-pointers in his only game against Portland last season as a member of the Jazz

10:30pm:  Oklahoma City Thunder at LA Clippers 

When I looked at tonight's schedule, I saw this game and said "oooh."  That's how you know it's a marquee match up.  You've got two of the NBA's top offenses going at each other.  You've got Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook on one side and on the other you've got the Clippers and their already horribly overused reference to a metropolis in which many alley oop asses are thrown and finished with dunks.   This should be a fun one to watch.

Couple of notes:

  • Oklahoma City has held seven opponents to less than 40.0% shooting this season, something they only did six times last season
  • Thabo Sefolosha is questionable with a sore right foot
Other story lines for tonight:

Orlando-Philadelphia (7:00):  Orlando is 2-5 after a 10-3 start.  In that 2-5 stretch, Orlando has scored more than 92 points once.  Philadelphia has the league's best defensive rating.

Chicago-Washington (7:00 NBA TV):  How ferocious will Derrick Rose be after blowing two free throws to go up against Miami?  The Wizards might want to consider borrowing helmets from the Redskins for this one.

New Orleans-Miami (7:30): Can the Heat avoid a classic let down situation?

Detroit-Milwaukee (8:00): Two teams decimated by injury.  Can an unheralded player step up and make a consistent difference for one of these teams?

San Antonio-Memphis (8:00): The starters were well rested after being pulled from last night's thriller before it became a thriller.  Do they have enough to carry the team to a win on the road?

Dallas-Phoenix (9:00):  After an emotional win, do the Mavs have enough left for the Suns on a back-to-back?

John's Picks: 
Wolves, Jazz, Thunder, 76ers, Bulls, Heat, Bucks, Spurs, Suns

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