We prepare for another week of NBA action with things heating up in the Association’s 2013-14 season. There are busy nights on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, and plenty of the early season story lines are likely to be further enhanced by the next week’s worth of action. Basketball Schedule picks out the big highlights from the week ahead.
Monday 11th November
Memphis Grizzlies @ Indiana Pacers
This could be the most fierce match-up on the season as these two gritty, tough and strong defensive teams tip off on Monday night. Paul George is scoring and the Pacers are making an early case as a serious NBA championship contender courtesy of a 7-0 start. They have the league’s early best points against per game average and best points differential.
The Grizzlies have only managed a 3-3 start under new head coach, but victory at home against Golden State on Saturday showed just how good this team can be. They continue to play a physical style led by battler Zach Randolph, but are currently 0-2 on the road. Indiana isn’t an easy place to go.
Minnesota Timberwolves @ Los Angeles Clippers
The growing pains are still there for the Clippers. They have already been a little erratic in terms of their all-round performances this season. Minnesota presents an intriguing early season challenge. Kevin Love’s presence has been tremendously helpful for a Minnesota team that remains something of a dark horse to make the postseason. It will be very interesting to see how the Clippers match-up defensively on the inside with Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan lined up against Love.
Tuesday 12th November
Detroit Pistons @ Golden State Warriors
The new look Pistons are still battling to establish themselves while Golden State have lost a pair of games after putting together a strong start. The Warriors scoring ability will come up against a Detroit team that hasn’t really found a strong rhythm on either end of the court. This should be an exciting, fast-paced affair with plenty of scoring.
Wednesday 13th November
Toronto Raptors @ Memphis Grizzlies
This is an interesting match-up in terms of pitting two teams who are both aiming to make a serious impression as legitimate playoff contenders in their respective conferences. However, it also represents the return of Rudy Gay to Memphis after being traded last season. The Raptors are now dependent on Gay as their star player following a season where a successful Grizzlies team elected to go a different route.
Oklahoma City Thunder @ Los Angeles Clippers
The first contest between these two potential Western conference contenders should be a thrilling and high-scoring contest. Russell Westbrook has been back and playing well for the Thunder, while Doc Rivers is still trying to work his impression on the Clippers. These sort of match-ups are exactly what the NBA is all about as Kevin Durant and Westbrook are pitted against Chris Paul and Griffin.
Thursday 14th November
Houston Rockets @ New York Knicks
The other match-up on Thursday between OKC and Golden State might garner more attention, but this should be a fascinating match-up as Dwight Howard makes his first trip to New York City as a member of the Houston Rockets. The Knicks are without Tyson Chandler for this match-up, which could be a major issue moving forward.
Friday 15th November
Dallas Mavericks @ Miami Heat
Dallas are attempting to make one last serious run at an NBA title with Dirk Nowitzki before the future hall of fame member retires. There could hardly be a better early season statement game than against the Miami Heat – a team they beat in the 2011 NBA finals. The Mavs and Heat have identical 4-3 records entering this week’s action.
Saturday 16th November
Cleveland Cavaliers @ Washington Wizards
The Cavaliers and Wizards are both aiming to put themselves forward as playoff contenders. It will interesting to see how this early season match-up goes down as young point guards Kyrie Irving and John Wall tip off against one another.