NBA viewing guide: Knicks host Spurs early, Anthony Davis and Eric Bledsoe serve up main course Sunday

Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

J.R. Smith makes his season debut, John Wall and Russell Westbrook should be a fun watch, a chance to catch Anthony Davis take on the surprisingly hot Suns. and the Lakers return to Staples Center to host the Timberwolves.

After a jam-packed Friday and Saturday schedule the NBA slows things down on Sunday with a four-game schedule, even serving up a little brunch to hold us over. J.R. Smith is back, Anthony Davis is on a path of destruction, and the Lakers try to bounce back against a team they've won 22 straight games against.

Here's your Sunday viewing guide (all times Eastern):


San Antonio Spurs vs. New York Knicks

12 p.m., FSSW, MSG

The Spurs and Knicks tip-off early Sunday, providing a nice brunch before it's time for the rest of the schedule. Why not enjoy some early basketball?

J.R. Smith makes his season debut after serving a five game suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy. The reigning Sixth Man of the Year will be a welcome addition to a roster that will be without Tyson Chandler for at least four weeks. Smith will return to his role playing off the bench for New York.

Welcome back, J.R.


The Spurs are off to a very Spurs-y start, going 5-1 to open the season. Their offense hasn't been as pretty as expected, averaging just 99.5 points per 100 possessions (that's 25th out of 30 teams, yikes), but their defense is top-three in the NBA. Opponents are averaging 96.1 points per 100 possessions, according to Basketball-Reference.

Reading material: Oh dear, the Knicks' Christmas jerseys are hideousThe Spurs' shot selection has been a concerning trend


Washington Wizards vs. Oklahoma City Thunder

7 p.m., CSMA, FSOK

The Oklahoma City Thunder are 4-1 and were lucky enough to see Russell Westbrook make an early return to the lineup. Westbrook was expected to miss at least a month of the regular season after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery but was ready to lace 'em up earlier than expected. Has he been held up by that knee?


Yeah, he's doing alright physically, but he's shooting 36.4 percent from the field for 21 points per game. There's still some RUSSt (Get it? GET IT?!) to be shaken off here.

When we last saw the Wizards they were finishing off the Brooklyn Nets in an overtime victory Friday. Bradley Beal dropped 29 points, John Wall notched a double-double with 17 points and 14 assists, Marcin Gortat had 15 points and 20 rebounds, Nene scored 20 and Al Harrington had 15 off the bench.

This is a nice appetizer if only for the Wall vs. Westbrook match up, but let's not forget that Kevin Durant guy who is averaging 29.6 points per game.

Reading material: Are the Wizards scoring at the expense of their defenseReactions after Oklahoma City's victory over the Pistons

Main Course

New Orleans Pelicans vs. Phoenix Suns

8 p.m., FSAZ

The main course of the night features Anthony Davis and his path of destruction. Davis is fresh off of a career-high 32 points against the Los Angeles Lakers Friday night. Paul Flannery took to celebrate Davis putting the league on notice in his Sunday Shootaround, concluding the dominance was bound to happen eventually.

Davis is averaging 23 points. 11.5 rebounds and 4.3 blocks per game. He's also producing brow-raising highlights like this on a nightly basis:


The Suns have been a surprise to start the season, currently leading the Pacific Division with a 4-2 record. In a division featuring the Warriors and Clippers -- two teams expected to make serious playoff runs -- the Suns are leading the way.

Eric Bledsoe has been on a tear, averaging 20 points, 7.5 assists and two steals per game. With so few games running Sunday evening it's a great opportunity to check out Bledsoe and Davis in action.

Reading material: Examining the Suns' surprising defenseDiscussing the Pelicans' guard rotation


Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Los Angeles Lakers

9:30 p.m., FSN, TWSN

The Los Angeles Lakers have beaten the Minnesota Timberwolves 22 straight times. You'd have go back to March, 2007 to find the last game the Wolves won against the Lakers. That's a long time ago (#DeepStats).

The Lakers will try to bounce back at home after being dominated by Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans in their last game of a three-game road trip. They'll face a unique challenge against the Timberwolves' frontcourt that features physical big man Nikola Pekovic and a rejuvenated Kevin Love.

Love is averaging 27.2 points, 14.7 rebounds and five assists per game and the Wolves are 4-2 to start the season. While Love is dominating, Pau Gasol has looked like a shell of a shell of a shell of his former self. The Lakers' big man is shooting just 35.2 percent from the field. Here's a look at his shot chart on the season:


Reading material: Silver Screen and Roll celebrates Steve Blake as their Lakers player of the weekEarly returns from the Wolves' lineups

More from SB Nation NBA:

Ziller: Do fans really care about tanking?

Check out the NBA's weird Christmas Day jerseys | #Lookit

Flannery: Life in the NBA's cellar

Ziller: Barnes, not Klay, is the Warriors' money problem

The Hook: Knicks' frontcourt is a tire fire

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