NBA Incoming: Previewing the Week Ahead (Jan. 14)

Welcome to the bizarre carnival that is the National Basketball Association.

After a week that saw the Thunder and Clippers(!) flip-flopping for the league’s best record, the Heat and Knicks less than impress as the rest of the East gained ground, the Lakers continue to slump, and Carmelo Anthony and Rajon Rondo both suffer suspensions for ridiculous behavior, the NBA continues to be a hard one to fathom.

One thing’s for certain though; this season is impossible to take your eyes off. once again brings you the top five games on this week’s Association schedule, kick-starting with a rivalry that is becoming one of the league’s best.

Memphis Grizzlies at San Antonio Spurs (Wednesday)

The Grizzlies handed the Spurs an overtime loss on Friday, evening the season series at one apiece. Both sides will be looking for a second win on Wednesday.

For the second straight week the Grizzlies and Spurs make the top five list, and for one simple reason: this has turned into quite the rivalry.

Memphis (24-11, 10-7 road) handed San Antonio (29-11, 16-2 home) a 101-98 overtime loss on Friday, avenging the Spurs’ 99-95 overtime win on Dec. 1. Now the Grizzlies will look to snatch a win from the best home team in the league.

Memphis faces a tough week ahead. Prior to meeting San Antonio on Wednesday, the Grizzlies will face the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday, before hosting Sacramento (Friday) and then visiting Chicago (Saturday).

Miami Heat at Golden State Warriors (Wednesday)

Miami (24-11, 8-8 road) continues to look to improve on the road this week. The Heat has started a six-game road trip – which includes five out on the West Coast – 1-2. Utah hosts Eric Spoelstra’s side on Monday before the South Beach side heads to Oakland on Wednesday.

Golden State (23-13, 12-5 home) is enjoying its best season in what feels like forever, but three losses from four – all to quality opposition – has the team reeling. A win over the defending champions would do wonders for confidence.

New York Knicks vs. Detroit Pistons (London, UK) (Thursday)

Whilst a Knicks-Pistons matchup might not have the glamor of days gone by, this week’s matchup carries a little extra pizzazz; Detroit (14-24, 10-10 home) will ‘host’ New York (24-13, 10-8 road) at the O2 Arena in London, UK., the site of Team USA’s gold medal win in this past summer’s London Summer Olympics.

The NBA London Live 2013 game follows on from 2011’s two-game series between Toronto and the then-New Jersey Nets. Fans from across Europe packed out the arena back in 2011, witnessing a spectacular 137-136 triple overtime game in the second of the pair.

The NBA will be hoping to corral more fans for its brand whilst Detroit will be looking to build on its recent streak of good form. New York, strugglers of late, will look to keep pace with the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference.

Miami Heat at Los Angeles Lakers (Thursday)

Miami follows up its Oakland visit with a trip south to La La Land, where the Lakers (16-21, 11-9 home) will be looking to do everything in their power to make a push for the postseason.

The Lakers scored a 113-93 victory over Cleveland on Sunday night, snapping a six-game losing streak in the process. In his return to the team following a shoulder injury, Dwight Howard scored 22 and snatched 14 rebounds. Those are the type of numbers he’ll need to provide on a constant basis if the Lakers are to achieve anything this season.

Picked as respective representatives in this season’s NBA Finals prior to the season, some of the sheen may have been wiped off of this one in the wake of the Lakers’ woes, but any meeting between the league’s glamor teams is a can’t miss opportunity.

Chicago Bulls at Boston Celtics (Friday)

Chicago will continue to hold the fort as the side awaits the return of Derrick Rose.

Derrick Rose practiced without a knee-brace for the first time this past week, and the Bulls will be eager to get the former league MVP back out on the court.

In Rose’s absence though, Chicago (20-15, 10-10 home) have been treading water, and continues to push for a top four finish in the Eastern Conference. The team will have a good opportunity this week to bolster its credentials with home games against Atlanta and Memphis, and this road game in Bean Town.

Boston (19-17, 12-6 home) is currently on a five-game winning streak, and making moves to start ascending the Atlantic Division. The side handed New York a tough loss last week, and will look to do the same to Chicago this week.

With a pronounced drop off in the Eastern Conference between the No. 8 and No. 9 placed teams, both of these sides look likely to make the postseason, but with 45-plus games still to play, winning still remains vital for both sides.


Upcoming NBA Schedule

Mon. 14: ORL @ WAS | CHA @ BOS | ATL @ CHI | LAC @ MEM | MIN @ DAL | MIA @ UTA | OKC @ PHX | CLE @ SAC

Tues. 15: NOH @ PHI | IND @ CHA | TOR @ BKN | LAC @ HOU | POR @ DEN | MIL @ LAL

Wed. 16:  CHI @ TOR | IND @ ORL | BKN @ ATL | NOH @ BOS | DEN @ OKC | HOU @ DAL | MEM @ SAS | WAS @ SAC | CLE @ POR | MIA @ GSW

Thur. 17: NYK @ DET | LAC @ MIN | MIL @ PHX | MIA @ LAL

Fri. 18: CHI @ BOS | TOR @ PHI | CHA @ ORL | HOU @ IND | ATL @ BKN | SAC @ MEM | GSW @ SAS | WAS @ DEN | OKC @ DAL

Sat. 19: SAC @ CHA | SAS @ ATL | MEM @ CHI | GSW @ NOH | HOU @ MIN | CLE @ UTA | MIL @ POR | WAS @ LAC

Sun. 20: LAL @ TOR | DAL @ ORL| BOS @ DET | OKC @ DEN

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