What a wonderful start to the season! The story-lines are everywhere, the basketball is competitive and there's much more to be played. Let's look at what games to watch this week, all times are Eastern.
Monday at 8:30, OKC vs. Dallas. Dallas has started off slow, but this is another chance for them to redeem themselves. Remember that great finish in the last game these two played? Yeah, that's all the reason I need to catch this one.
Tuesday at 8, Atlanta and Chicago square off. Atlanta and Chicago need to show where they stand in the East. Chicago looks to be a team that could be contenders, with the addition of Rip Hamilton and another year of their core together. It's unclear if they're truly a contending team. The playoffs will prove whether they are or not, but games like these, against possible other contenders, are early indicators.
Atlanta is a team that's talented, but hasn't stuck with it mentally and physically to go deep in the playoffs. This is a chance for them to showcase that they can beat a tough team in the Bulls. This team really needs to work on execution and leadership. It's not about proving they're more athletic or talented, it's about showing that they have a game plan and can stick to it.
Wednesday at 7:30, Miami tangles with Indiana. This could be a blowout if Indiana comes out flat, but they played great teams well last season. The Pacers REALLY need to improve offensively, so their movement on that side of the ball will be something to watch. For Miami, they just need to show up ready to play and they should be able to take care of business.
Thursday at 10:30, the Lakers and Blazers go at it. This is a heated rivalry. Despite the Blazers being shattered due to constant injury and roster changes, there's just something different about playing the Lakers. It's physical, they don't like each other! Let's hope this game proves to be close and similar to past battles between these two.
Friday at 8:00, the Magic look to attack the Bulls. Is Orlando a team that can contend in the East? That's what they wanna show against the Bulls. Chicago wants to take this team out easily and appear poised for a run to a ring.
Saturday at 7:00, the Hawks look to fly over the Bulls. Atlanta's keys are to stop D. Rose and shoot well against the Bull defense. Chicago needs to keep Atlanta in the halfcourt and try and run on offense.
Sunday at 9:30, the Lakers and Grizzlies battle it out. The Grizzlies have a tendency to beat the Lakers, Kobe usually not playing great against them. The Lakers need to defend them tight and focus on getting the ball in the post and tiring out the Memphis bigs. Memphis should look to run the older Lakers and have a balanced inside-out attack.
Here's to another great week of NBA basketball!