Ben Simmons and the 76ers hope for a better showing against the Cavs this time around. Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

A month and a half into the season, we are getting a better sense of where teams are but also experiencing the buildup of injuries around the league. Some of the matchups this week will be fundamentally shifted by who returns, including Denver’s two late-week appearances on the list. That said, Houston/Portland is a worthy Game of the Week with tons of star power and intriguing support players.


Warriors at Pelicans, 8 p.m.: This game may be significantly affected by absences (Anthony Davis and potentially some Warriors) but should still be plenty of fun. DeMarcus Cousins has battled Golden State plenty of times before but Zaza Pachulia did a surprisingly good job on him in their one previous matchup this season.

Timberwolves at Grizzlies, 8 p.m.: Karl-Anthony Towns vs. Marc Gasol is worth watching even if Memphis is still sidetracked by injuries and recent turmoil. The Grizzlies have an underappreciated batch of swingmen and someone will need to slow down Jimmy Butler to prevent the Wolves from a nice back-to-back.

Wizards at Jazz, 9 p.m.: Utah has been potent offensively the last little while and will need multiple contributors to take down the Wizards. Bradley Beal and Otto Porter have taken on a larger workload with John Wall out and that will continue here.


Jazz at Thunder, 8 p.m.: This would be a bigger game at full strength but Derrick Favors shifting to center against Steven Adams and the Thunder will be fascinating. That also means Utah will be a little more agile against an Oklahoma City team that starts four perimeter players. 


Mavericks at Celtics, 7:30 p.m.: Dallas threatened Boston’s winning streak behind strong execution and Rick Carlisle ruthlessly attacking Kyrie Irving’s defense on switches. Expect the same from Dallas at TD Garden but with some adjustments from Brad Stevens and the Celtics. 

Nuggets at Pelicans, 8 p.m.: Denver was able to win their first two games after Nikola Jokic’s injury and will look to do the same here against DeMarcus Cousins and the Pelicans. Both teams have dealt with small forward injuries so expect them both to play a little smaller there here.

Heat at Spurs, 8:30 p.m.: Miami’s offense has struggled to find traction but their defense has been solid, making this an interesting game. LaMarcus Aldridge has been an underappreciated part of San Antonio’s season so far and will largely be spending time on smaller opponents here.


Wizards at Suns, 9 p.m.: Bradley Beal and Devin Booker will likely spend significant time on each other and that should be a challenge for both of them. Each team has looked for a spark off their bench and that could end up being a major factor. 

Thunder at Nets, 10 p.m.: Russell Westbrook and the Thunder seem likely to come out victorious against the shorthanded Nets but how they get there will be worth watching as they have struggled to find an offensive rhythm so far.


Cavs at Pacers, 7 p.m.: Cleveland will likely take a thirteen-game win streak to Indianapolis and the Pacers have stayed red hot as shooters so far this season. Indiana has struggled defending elite perimeter players and LeBron James is a brutal matchup even for the best stoppers.

Nuggets at Magic, 7 p.m.: This game should feature a ton of possessions as both teams have run quite a bit this season. Aaron Gordon’s offense has been a bright spot for Orlando so far and Michael Malone will have to properly use Denver’s patchwork quilt of power forwards to slow him down.

Mavericks at Bucks, 8 p.m.: Dallas has been more competitive recently than their record and could make this a fun game, especially if they push Milwaukee’s defense by playing small. They will need to take care of the ball because Giannis and the Bucks are absolute terrors in transition. 


Lakers at Hornets, 7 p.m.: A clash of styles and a nice point guard matchup with Kemba Walker facing off against Lonzo Ball. Charlotte’s bench has struggled most of this season but the Lakers have received major contributions from theirs so the game could swing in those minutes. 

76ers at Cavs, 8 p.m.: Cleveland showed their dominance in the first Simmons/LeBron game and will look to do the same here on a back-to-back. Joel Embiid vs. Kevin Love takes both players far outside their comfort zone and could decide the winner. 

Rockets at Trail Blazers, 10 p.m. (Game of the Week): The Rockets have been excellent this whole season but taken it to a whole new level after Chris Paul’s return. Portland staggers their two star guards as well so there will be a series of different dynamics to watch as the Blazers’ defense looks to justify their strong stats through the early part of the season.


Celtics at Pistons, 4 p.m.: Boston should be looking for revenge as Andre Drummond and company knocked them off at home in an impressive win. If this game comes down to the wire, expect former Celtic Avery Bradley to spend time on clutch dynamo Kyrie Irving, which would be a blast.

Nuggets at Pacers, 5 p.m.: A surprising third appearance for the Nuggets but they happen to play teams that should make for compelling games and the Pacers certainly fit that bill. Victor Oladipo has embraced a larger role in the offense this season and will spend most of the game guarded by Gary Harris.

76ers at Pelicans, 7 p.m.: While this game may end up being less interesting because it is the tail end of a big back-to-back for Philadelphia, it should still be fun. Embiid vs. Cousins is a headliner if both play and the Pelicans could go to some different alignments to slow down Ben Simmons.

This article first appeared on RealGM and was syndicated with permission.

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