Ricky Rubio’s back. We can barely contain ourselves.
Monday: San Antonio Spurs at Oklahoma City Thunder (5:00 PM PST on League Pass)
Yeah, all the hype will be focused on Jeremy Lin’s return to Madison Square Garden. But just like Linsanity, that sideshow will come and go, and in the end, the contenders will still be standing. There are arguably no two better teams in the league than the Spurs and Thunder. Kevin Durant and Tim Duncan (yes, Tim Duncan) are MVP candidates, and these teams obviously have a bit of history from last year’s WCF series.
Tuesday: Boston Celtics at Chicago Bulls (5:00 PM PST on League Pass)
Alright Nate Robb. You have my attention.
Wednesday: Golden State at Sacramento Kings (7:00 PM PST on League Pass)
The Dubs go for their seventh road win in eight games against the Kings, who look as discombobulated as any team right now in the league. What is the identity of the Kings? Keith Smart, a supposed offensive wiz, has a team that is dead last in the league in assists, and in the bottom sixth in terms of overall offensive rating. DeMarcus Cousins is regressing on and off the court. Chuck Hayes, sadly, is looking like baked albatross. Meanwhile, the Warriors are 16-8, and looking pretty strong to begin the season. A tale of two rebuilds, indeed.
Thursday: Oklahoma City Thunder at Minnesota Timberwolves (4:00 pM PST on TNT)
Anyone remember Wolves-Thunder last year? 149-140. 2OT classic. Love had 51, Russ West had 45 and Durant had 40. Who knows if it’ll be that good again, but hey, Ricky’s back. We’ll see how the wheel is looking on Slick Rick when he plays his third game in four nights. He looked pretty solid last night.
Friday: Chicago Bulls at New York Knicks (4:30 PM PST on League Pass)
Pretty solid, chippy contest last time these teams played, with two scrappy defensive teams who know how to play and work closely with their coaching staffs to maximize their performances. In the underrated individual matchup of the night, reserve forwards Rasheed Wallace and Taj Gibson will bang and bash their way to at least one double technical. Thank you so much for coming back Sheed.
Saturday: Memphis Grizzlies at Houston Rockets (5:00 PM PST on League Pass)
Tony Allen will try to slow down James Harden, who’s been pouring it in as of late. In general, this will be a “show me something” game for the Rockets, who I want to take seriously, but am still not entirely convinced by the lineup they’ve got out there. I guess I should remember that this, technically, is a work in progress, and not a finished product. But I badly want this team to be better than the Mavs or the Jazz. C’monnnnn Rockets.
Sunday: Philadelphia 76ers at Brooklyn Nets (12 noon PST on League Pass)
I’ve seen worse Hangover Games. Two playoff teams with good guards will chuck it up freely. Hopefully that’ll be the only thing chucking up freely. Gross! Just make sure you’re conscious for the Wolves-Knicks game later that day.