Monday, January 02, 2012

#LeaguePassAlert: Top Games for Jan. 2-8


Through one week of the season, some obvious trends have developed in terms of which games you should be watching on League Pass. The success of the Heat, Thunder and Bulls makes them a must-watch pretty much every night. The Ricky Rubio-led Timberwolves, as expected, have become must-see TV, even if they just got their first win on Sunday. And the Wizards and Nets are toxic, and to be avoided unless the only alternative is watching "Keeping Up with the Kardashians" (or Lamar Odom's sad season so far with the Mavericks).

So as we head into the final week of the NBA's League Pass free preview, here's your guide to take advantage of the best viewing opportunities

Monday, Jan. 2

Hawks at Heat, 7:30 ET
The Heat are 5-0 and coming off a 39-point destruction of the Bobcats yesterday. The Hawks had the day off on Sunday, and are an impressive 3-1 on the season. This is easily the best game on Monday's slate.

Monday's national game: Thunder at Mavericks (8:30 ET, NBA TV)

Tuesday, Jan. 3

Trail Blazers at Thunder, 8 ET
I swear, I'm going to try to not make this all Heat and Thunder games, but they've got some really good non-national TV match-ups this week and Tuesday is a limited slate anyway (6 games, 2 on NBA TV).

Tuesday's national games: Hawks at Bulls (8 ET, NBA TV), Rockets at Lakers (10:30 ET, NBA TV)

Wednesday, Jan. 4

Pacers at Heat, 7:30 ET
Gah! Another Heat game. But this really is the best matchup of the night (the only one with two teams with winning records entering the week), and the Heat could be primed for an upset, playing their third game in four nights. Also, you should probably clear your late schedule for the Lob City appearance on NBA TV -- which is easy since it's the only 10:30 game of the night.

Wednesday's national games: Wizards at Magic (7 ET, NBA TV), Rockets at Clippers (10:30 ET, NBA TV)

Thursday, Jan. 5

Mavericks at Spurs, 8:30 ET
If for some crazy reason you don't want to watch the two national TV games, then I highly recommend you check out this all-Texas battle. The Mavericks have to turn things around at some point, right?

Thursday's national games: Heat at Hawks (8 ET, TNT), Lakers at Blazers (10:30 ET, TNT)

Friday, Jan. 6

None
Hey, it's the first ESPN doubleheader since Christmas day. Watch those games!

Pacers at Celtics, 7:30 ET

OK, in all seriousness, if you don't want to watch the national games, Pacers-Celtics should be pretty good. Boston is healthy now (well, except Jermaine O'Neal, but we all expected that), and Indiana has been sneaky-fun to watch so far this season.

Friday's national games: Bulls at Magic (8 ET, ESPN), Trail Blazers at Suns (10:30 ET, ESPN)

Saturday, Jan. 7

Bulls at Hawks, 7 ET
Nuggets at Spurs, 8:30 ET
These are two really good games, but they'll overlap, making it difficult to watch both in full. I'd recommend tuning in for the start of Bulls-Hawks and gauge it as it hits the second half. If it's a good one, stick with it, then catch the end of Nuggets-Spurs. If it's not, flip over early.

Saturday's national game: Bobcats at Pacers (7 ET, NBA TV), Bucks at Clippers (10:30 ET, NBA TV)

Sunday, Jan. 8

Magic at Kings, 6 ET
Grizzlies at Lakers, 9:30 ET
If you skip the national game entirely, you can catch both of these games. The intrigue level on Magic-Kings depends heavily on what happens with the DeMarcus Cousins situation over the next few days, but Orlando has been pretty good -- and pretty watchable -- so far this season. Then the Lakers play host to a Memphis team that's kind of in shambles right now.

Sunday's national game: Spurs at Thunder (7 ET, NBA TV)

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