You might be noticing a new ribbon in the My TV section of your Sling app. From January 14-20, we are offering a free preview of NBA League Pass. This will allow you to watch any out of market game all week throughout the league. These are the best games, not on national networks, to watch on NBA League Pass during the preview.
Golden State Warriors at Denver Nuggets at 9:00 PM ET on Tuesday, January 15
Somehow this game is not on national television. NBA League Pass though will let you see a matchup of the association’s best teams from the best conference. You know all about how good the Warriors are. (Although they haven’t been their typical dominant selves in the regular season so far.) The matchup alone would be reason enough to watch but this week is the expected return date for DeMarcus “Boogie” Cousins from a torn Achilles injury. While this will force the club to shift strategy in defense with Draymond Green, this return will most likely get the Warriors back into dominating fashion.
But don’t sleep on these Nuggets. They’re the number one team in the Western Conference and they’ve been doing it with their immaculate young center, Nikola Jokic who can pass better than the city’s starting quarterback. Not to mention the break out seasons of Jamal Murray and Gary Harris who have been crucial in stepping out for a dinged up Nuggets lineup. The Nuggets already won a head-to-head matchup this season in Oakland. Will the Nuggets prevail at the top of the conference for the rest of the season? This game will go a long way in answering that question.
San Antonio Spurs at Dallas Mavericks at 8:30 PM ET on Wednesday, January 16
This isn’t the matchup that we’ve been accustom to over the past decade. Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili are retired, Tony Parker looks so weird in a Charlotte Hornets jersey, Kawhi Leonard turned down the opportunity to be one of the best Spurs of all time and Dirk Nowitzki is 40 years old and understandably has taken a more reserved mentor role. So what’s there to look forward to in this game?
While the Mavericks are closer to the bottom of the standings than actually contending, their potential is real because of their rookie sensation Luka Doncic. Even if he doesn’t make the All-Star game, he has played to that level. The last time they drafted a a tall European, he turned into a hall-of-famer. While we’re a long way off from that happening, Doncic is the future and an exciting core to build around.
The Spurs on the other hand, they are meshing well with the addition of DeMar DeRozan, they are not close to standing out in the Western Conference like they’re used to. They’re not bad by any means though. If the playoffs started today, they’d be the seventh seed. DeRozan had a great start to the season but has been going into a slump of late. Luckily for the team this has given a chance for LaMarcus Aldridge to shine like he did last year when Leonard was out. They’ve stayed afloat but really need another perimeter shooter to get back to the level of Spurs basketball we’re used to. Nonetheless, the level of excitement for this instate rivalry won’t be lacking.
Charlotte Hornets at Indiana Pacers at 6:00 PM on Sunday, January 20
Sure, historically this matchup doesn’t scream at you right off the page. Rather, the matchup is whispering quietly that these are two of the best teams in the Eastern Conference. Going into the season, all of the talk was about the Celtics and 76ers running away for the chance to play the Warriors in the Finals. Well the Raptors are at the top of the standings followed by the Bucks and the Pacers are in third and only 3.5 games behind first place. They we’re arguably the most evenly matched with the Cleveland Cavaliers in last season’s Eastern Conference Playoffs. That is almost all exclusively to do with the Oklahoma City Thunder making one of the worst trades ever when they sent Victor Oladipo to Indianapolis. Myles Turner has made sure that he’s not alone, letting the Pacers stand out in what is a conference with few elite teams.
As for the Hornets, they are holding on to the last playoff spot in the East. This mainly has to do with easily their best player in Kemba Walker. The Hornets have lost three straight since publication but Walker scored 31 in that last effort. If the club keeps trending this way and they fall out of contention, expect the crafty point guard to be on the move (maybe to Denver, LA Clippers or San Antonio?). The mentorship of Tony Parker spending more time on the bench to really become a leader in this clubhouse has given the club a much needed boost. Let’s see if it can be a difference maker in a face-off between two of the East’s best teams.
Watch all of these games and more by adding NBA League Pass. Learn more here.