For the Game of the Night, I went off the board. For the national games, we have the Chicago Bulls against the Indiana Pacers at 7:00 pm est and the Dallas Mavericks and Oklahoma City Thunder at 10:00 pm est, both on ESPN. I’m sure both games will wet the pallet of any basketball fan. Chicago-Indiana should be fun from a defensive perspective, a battle of two intense coaching minds, and Derrick Rose and Paul George should provide plenty of fun. As for Dallas-Oklahoma City, it’s Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Dirk Nowitzki, and yes, Monta “Have It All” Ellis lighting up the scoreboard. You should watch both games, but neither are the Game of the Night.
The Memphis Grizzlies are 2-2 right now, but I recommend them as a team because they’re trying new things offensively. New head coach Dave Joerger has talked about implementing an up-tempo offense in the offseason, but so far, the Grizzlies offense is running at a less-than-spectacular 96.3 pace. Still, Mike Conley running the offense is fun, Zach Randolph bullying his opponents is always fun, and Marc Gasol is a treat to watch on both sides of the ball. I’m still high on the Memphis Grizzlies, and while the offense is still slow, I look at this team as one superior to last year’s model, thanks to the perfect bench pieces of Quincy Pondexter, Ed Davis, Mike Miller, and Jerryd Bayless.
On the other side, the New Orleans Pelicans. A team that stole headlines in the offseason with their acquisitions, has sluggishly started the season at 1-2. All of my Pelican love falls at the feet of Anthony Davis. While it’s still early in the season, Davis has taken a leap in his game, averaging 23.7 points, 12.3 rebounds, 2.7 steals, and 4.0 blocks. After an injury-riddled rookie season, Davis has come back in his second season and slowly emerged as a star. Thanks to the SportsVU information that was added to NBA.stats.com this week, we also get to see Davis’ impact on defense, as opponents shoot just 26.7% at the rim when Davis is defending it. Yes, Bulls-Pacers and Mavericks-Thunder will be fun, but Anthony Davis is offering must-see basketball at this point.
The Pick: I’m going with New Orleans. I’m curious to see Davis work on both sides of the ball against the duo of Gasol and Randolph, and the match-up of Holiday and Conley as well. I see this game as a potential breakout performance for Tyreke Evans, as Evans (6.0 points and 4.3 assists) struggled in his first three games off the bench. Give me the Pelicans 106-99 over Memphis.
National TV: None
Local TV: Fox Sports New Orleans (Pelicans) and TSOH (Grizzlies)
Time: 8:00pm EST