Reasons To Watch The Games Of The NBA Tonight:
Hello Old Friend (Via the Corndogg): Dirk might be back for the Mavs tonight. You know what that means...? More choking against the Warriors. Now that they are on the outside looking in, watch for Captain Jack to roll up to the stadium strapped with explosives and daring his teammates to miss big shots so he can blow the place to smithereens. I am serious. The 8 spot in the West means that much to him. Also, its a great chance for a Patrick O'Bryant sighting on the GS bench. But seriously, can the Mavs get it together and solidify their stake in the West race. If only they can get there, they could prove a tremendous first round matchup. Which is funny, cause so can the Warriors.
Let's Call It The Pontoon War. As In, The Struggle To Keep Themselves Above Water: Anybody else think the Raptors got to February, looked at the rest of the Eastern Conference, and felt left out being neither elite nor under .500? They've decided if you can beat them, join them, apparently, since they're pretty much gunning for that 7 spot and a Pistons beatdown. Tonight they face a team that is pretty much the leader of the sub .500 playoff teams, Atlanta. The Hawks have won four straight, having finally decided they'd like to join the postseason party. The matchup tonight would actually make for a pretty good series between the two, in a world where every starter on the top three seeds suddenly had season ending injuries. Bosh versus the Hawks' interior defense. Josh Smith versus Jamario Moon, and Bibby versus Ford and Calderon. Expect Bosh to be the swing vote here, showing off his post moves. Also expect the winner of this contest to have absolutely no impact on the NBA Championship. It's like the NIT, only without the I. Toronto at Atlanta, 7PM EST.
WizzNutzz1, This Is Control, You Are Go For Launch: Here's the beauty of the Wizards. They're almost entirely comprised of shooter-scorers (LockSmith, Mason, Nick Young) with some talented all-around vets thrown in (Tuff Juice, Jamison). Problem is, they don't really shoot or score all that well. Luckily they play some killer defense and scrap. And especially lucky for them, they play the Bucks tonight, who couldn't guard a fire hydrant. The Bucks fans have shifted their attention to the GM search, and the Bucks players have shifted their attention to jet skiing on oceans of Hypnotique over the summer. Or whatever Andrew Bogut and Bobby Simmons do in their time off. If Zero comes back tonight? It could get ugly. Milwaukeee at Washington, 7PM EST.
Guy With History Of Concussions + Guy Who's Likened To A Freight Train= Ruh-Roh, Rason Riraron!: The Bobcats haven't played that badly lately. I know, it's kind of a shock to us all. The Cavs are pretty much the same team they were before the trade. Injury-prone, untalented outside of LeBron, prone to fantastic spurs led by LBJ, and relatively lifeless the rest of the time. Just a suggestion, let's keep Crash focused on anyone else, k? We'd rather not this game not result in another stretcher run. Rebounding's the key tonight. Z and Varejao are beasts in that capacity. The Bobcats can't allow multiple possessions to this squad. The biggest mismatch is Z's range faced up against Okafor's defense. Z can step out of the pick and pop and knock down the long range J. Okafor can defend the post with the best of them, but he gets lost when he has to commit to the shooter. Operative word, lost, from "to lose" which is what the Bobcats will be doing a lot of for the next two weeks. Is Sean May even alive, by the way? Cleveland at Charlotte, 7PM EST.
I'm Guessing Ira Winderman's Not Gonna Like How This Ends, Either: The D-Leaguers will get eaten alive by the same defensive squad that's eaten everyone alive. They will then be assigned more criticism because they are not "NBA talent" even when they outscore and out-hustle their "NBA talent" teammates. Ira Winderman will write an article complaining about how much this season sucks. David West will hit long range jumpers. Chris Paul will have a double double and look very much like the MVP he will not be rewarded with solely because he hasn't been denied for several years. Blake Ahearn will hit free throws. Ricky Davis will have a poor shooting percentage. And the Hornets will win. Think of this like the first time you watched Titanic. Yes, it's long, and filled with unrealistic plot holes. But at least you know going in how it ends, and there's some comfort in that. New Orleans at Miami, 7:30PM EST.
The True Meaning of Pau-er Hour: The Spaniard's back. And he gives you his word as a Spaniard you will reach the top alive. I know, I know. No good, you've known too many Spaniards. Well, you may not be glad to see him, but Kobe sure is. After losing to the Bobcats (pfft) and the Grizzlies (bwahahaa), and struggling with the Wizards at home, the Lakers get Gasol back in time to face the Trailbazers and steal some thunder from the Spurs. Roy's done for the season. It's Travis Outlaw and the Big Nifty against the MOST AWESOME TEAM EVER ASSEMBLED. Don't worry, Portland, it's just one step closer to another blue chipper to add to your expansive collection. Seriously, you're going to have to start E-baying them at some point. Portland at LA Lakers, 10:30PM EST.
Take Off Your Warmups and Jacket: I know what you're thinking. Clippers at Sonics, gag me, right? Okay, yes, they may shoot 60% combined. Yes, there will be bad defense and worse shooting. It may be a trillion fest, especially with Kaman hobbled. But there is one great reason to watch. Al Thornton versus Kevin Durant. They can't rebound. They can't assist. They can't defend. But man alive, can they shoot a lot, and score a bunch of points. This is actually pretty exciting. They match up well physically, with Thornton's more complete body against Durant's absurd length. Throw in the Clippers energized by tomorrow night's return of the Brand, and we're looking at something that might resemble a game. In parts. LA Clippers at Seattle, 10PM EST.
In The Name Of Everything Holy: Utah, seriously. The Pistons beat the Wolves with their bench. JUST their bench. Not "oh, the Bench chipped in with X points." No, they rested their starters and still killed the Wolves. You're supposed to be a Finals contender! Maybe not in my eyes, but in some people's! Here's a hint. There's a big, Harbinger-lookin' badass in the low block, named Al. He's what you call, good. There's this kid at the 3 named Brewer. You may have seen him on TV a lot this time last year, cutting down nets. He's also good. Now how's about you put some effort in, lock this down, and get yourselves a little bit of homecourt in the playoffs, since that's the only place you can win? And while we're at it, switch your name. It doesn't fit you. And get a real job! And a haircut! Minnesota at Utah, 9PM EST.
Welcome, Danny! Can You Play Point For Us?: So the Isiah era ends in the GM role at MSG. This is truly a sad, sad day. Walsh should be able to right this ship in about three to four years, earlier if he gets aggressive. Meanwhile, his first night with the Knicks sees his new "boys" on the road against Memphis. Oh, awesome! A win to start the new era. I'll channel my inner Corso now and say "Not so fast, my friend." The Grizzlies have been playing better. Not well. Better. And the Knicks have been playing worse. They seem to unravel a little more each day. So with their coach wondering about his future, the players faced with a possible firesale in order to right the team and the cap, and the overall meaninglessness of their season, how will they react against the dreaded JCN, Lowry, Gay, Miller, Warrick, Conley sextet? Wait, sextet? Now there's something Isiah knows about! That's what she said! New York at Memphis, 8PM EST.
Come On. You Know. Seriously (Via the Corndogg): You like-a the Dunleavy. You like-a the El Tigre. You like-a the Huevos. Its Bueno. And there will be basketball. Or, at least 10 guys running up and down a court in different colored jerseys, with one team full of white guys who suck and the other full of championship contenders. You get a star on your report card if you tell me which is which. Indiana at Boston, 7PM EST.