Monday NBAction open thread

Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

The Heat go for 23 straight, the Nuggets go for a dozen, and the Lakers continue their quest for the final playoff spot in the West playing without Kobe Bryant tonight in Phoenix.

There are 11 games in the NBA tonight, including the Heat visiting Boston, trying for the longest winning streak in the NBA in 40 years. There are also plenty of key Western Conference games affecting the playoff picture.

Portland at Philadelphia, 4:00 PM

Washington at Charlotte, 4:00 PM

Indiana at Cleveland, 4:00 PM

Dallas at Atlanta, 4:30 PM

Brooklyn at Detroit, 4:30 PM

Miami at Boston, 5:00 PM, ESPN

Denver at Chicago, 5:00 PM

Minnesota at Memphis, 5:00 PM

Golden State at New Orleans, 5:00 PM

LA Lakers at Phoenix, 7:00 PM, Time Warner Cable

New York at Utah, 7:30 PM, ESPN

If the Heat beat the Celtics (and if Boston is without Kevin Garnett then you have to like Miami's chances) it will be their 23rd straight win, surpassing Houston's 22 game win streak from a few seasons back. At that point, they'll only be chasing the 71-72 Lakers 33 game streak for the longest in NBA history.

Both the Nuggets and Grizzlies, who each trail the Clippers by a game in the Western Conference standings, are in action tonight. Denver has won 11 in a row, a streak that has been overshadowed by Miami's run. However, we all know that the Nuggets are a great home team but only mediocre on the road, and their winning streak has featured only four road wins, none of them against winning teams and three against some of the worst teams in the league. Though the Bulls have not been playing great, winning in Chicago will be a bit tougher. The Nuggets play in Oklahoma City tomorrow night, so we'll find out exactly how hot they are then if they can indeed beat the Bulls.

Memphis is hosting Minnesota, which should allow the Grizzlies, losers of two straight, to get back on the winning track.

The late games feature intrigue for the final spot in the Western Conference playoffs. The Lakers will be without Kobe Bryant again when they head to Phoenix to face the Suns. Meanwhile in the late game on ESPN, the Jazz host the injury-riddled Knicks. The Lakers and the Jazz are currently tied in the loss column, with the Lakers holding eighth in the conference by virtue of two more wins.

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