Clippers at Timberwolves, Saturday November 12 at 5:00 PT. I expect that almost everyone reading this watches as many Clippers games as possible, but for those of you with limited time, I would recommend this contest. The Timberpuppies aren’t a good team yet, but they are young, exciting, and have three players who can score 40 points on any given night. However, there is one feature that trumps all others. And that is the Cole Aldrich factor! Our former prince will play his first game against the Clippers this year, and that is something all Clips fans should want to see. Will he posterize DeAndre Jordan? Stuff a Blake Griffin dunk attempt? Both at the same time? The possibilities are limitless. Regardless, I hope all of you tune in for this one on Saturday evening.
Warriors at Raptors, Wednesday November 16 at 5:00 PT. The Raptors have an incredibly tough schedule this week, and almost all of their games could be seen as a must-watch (I also just love the Raptors). The Warriors are slowly starting to click, and the emergence of Klay Thompson from his early-season hibernation is a scary sight for the rest of the league. The Warriors match up well against the Raptors, but Toronto does have a lot of explosive talent, and they are a threat to beat anyone on a given night. I’m trying to not watch many Warriors games this year, but I think this should be a good contest to check in on them.
Bulls at Jazz, Thursday November 17 at 7:30 PT. The Bulls are somehow above .500 this year, and are doing so despite the fact that Rajon Rondo is awful and they are playing better with Dwyane Wade on the bench. Basically, their two big offseason acquisitions are negatives (boy, who could have seen that coming?). Another big piece, Nikola Mirotic, has been equally awful. Chicago’s ability to win is simply baffling. The Jazz, on the other hand, are a solidly competent basketball team that hasn’t found their stride yet. Projected by many pundits as a likely candidate to reach the 4 seed in the Western Conference, Utah still has a lot of work to do to truly challenge the top three teams in the conference. If they want to reach that level, they need to beat teams like the Bulls, especially at home. Gordon Hayward and Jimmy Butler are both terrific wing players, and the Bulls’ main chance at victory relies on Butler besting his rival.
League Pass Games
Raptors at Hornets, Friday November 11 at 4:00 PT. Here are those Raptors again. This is a clash between two of the teams currently leading the Eastern Conference, and it should be a doozy. The Hornets are versatile on both sides of the court, and are third in the league in Net Rating (ahead of both the Cavaliers and Warriors) due mostly to their stingy defense. The Raptors are a top 10 team on both offense and defense as well, and feature a DeMar DeRozan who went supernova on the league for the first two weeks of the season. It would have been fascinating to watch Michael Kidd-Gilchrist try to lock down DD, but he’s out for tonight, leaving Nicholas Batum on the Raptors’ star. Kemba Walker and Kyle Lowry are always incredibly exciting to watch, and I am eagerly looking forward to this one.
Cavaliers at Pacers, Wednesday November 16 at 4:00 PT. The Cavaliers look terrific to start the season, and LeBron James is as dominant as ever. The Pacers have been disappointing to start the season, but starting out 4-4 with all of the changes they saw in the offseason is honestly pretty good. More importantly, Paul George vs LeBron is always a must watch, as both players bring out the best in each other. George is one of the few players in the league who can do a consistently credible job guarding LeBron, and goes toe to toe with him on the other end. The Pacers will need Jeff Teague to match Kyrie Irving’s production to win, which he has done in the past. Myles Turner is one of the most promising young players in the NBA, truly a treat to watch develop. I think the Pacers could win this one, and it could be a significant turning point in the season for them, as early as it is.