In this week’s edition of our NBA League Pass Picks, we preview a key Southwest division battle
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Every week, we pick our Top-3 League Pass games to watch. If you’ve taken advantage of an NBA League Pass subscription, you’ll have access to all these games and we’re picking the ones that have us most excited, ranging from ‘Sleeper!’ to ‘Can’t Miss!’ Then, we recap them before the next week’s picks.
THIS WEEK’S PICKS
Oklahoma City Thunder @ Memphis Grizzlies — Saturday, January 31 (8:00 PM ET)
Since getting their stars healthy, the Thunder have looked great and they’ve looked pedestrian at times. It’s already tough in the West, but they’re fighting an uphill battle to earn the final playoff seed. They’re right in the thick of the fight with New Orleans, as both teams still trail Phoenix, whose spot it is to lose. They’ll need to win the games they’re supposed to win over sub-.500 teams, but they’ll also need statement games, such as this matchup against Memphis.
Memphis, however, has taken over the 2-seed from Portland and wants to creep closer and closer to Golden State in the standings, and perhaps knock them off. They can’t lose big time momentum games like this if they want to be the top seed.
This game matches up two contenders that, when healthy, are two of the most elite teams in the NBA. Each will look to prove that Saturday.
Winner: Memphis Grizzlies
Game of the Week Alert: Dallas Mavericks @ Houston Rockets — Wednesday, January (8:00 PM ET)
I’ve got a sub .500 record when picking against James Harden, but I think Dallas’ depth is going to hurt Houston. Just when I thought Houston looked deep enough for a title run, I began to question their fluidity. When they’re on, they’re on, but they slip up and look bad some games and there’s no middle ground with them. When they move the ball, they look like a clear top-5 team, but too often the Rockets rely too heavily on Harden, and Dallas will test that.
In this rivalry of competitive division opponents, who’s going to come out on top? The NBA game is a four quarter contest full of momentum swings and runs, but I truly think the winner will be the team that comes out swinging first and controls the initial pace.
Winner: Dallas Mavericks
Jan 25, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forwardLeBron James
(23) shoots in the fourth quarter against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Sleeper Pick of the Week: Sacramento Kings @ Cleveland Cavaliers — Friday January 30 (7:30 PM ET)
The King vs. The King of Kings. This was a matchup on here before, but it was spoiled by LeBron James not playing. Now we’ll get to see King James vs. The King of Kings Boogie (DeMarcus Cousins) in what I expect to be a highly competitive offensive onslaught. Between these two teams, since the Mike Malone firing, neither one of these teams has been all that good defensively. I don’t see that changing in this matchup. Nevertheless, there are several fun players to watch on both teams including James and Cousins, but also Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, Rudy Gay and Darren Collison. And don’t forget, the Kings obliterated the Cavaliers in James’ absence. Let’s see how both teams come out on this night.
Winner: Sacramento Kings
Memphis Grizzlies @ Dallas Mavericks — Tuesday, January 27 (8:30 PM ET)
Phoenix Suns @ Golden State Warriors — Saturday, January 31 (10:30 PM ET)