NBA viewing guide: Pacers visit Knicks, T-Wolves host Clippers

Jeff Gross

The Indiana Pacers visit the struggling New York Knicks, and the Minnesota Timberwolves visit the Los Angeles Clippers in an offensive showcase.

With a 13-game NBA smorgasbord available for your Wednesday night consumption, there's plenty to go around for all of your different tastes. But our job here is to provide you with the chef's recommendations. Whether it's an ESPN slate of the Pacers visiting the Knicks, the later game between the Rockets and Mavs, or an offensive showdown between Minnesota and the Los Angeles Clippers, we've got it all covered.

Appetizer: Pacers vs. Knicks

7 p.m. ET, ESPN

It might be a rematch of the Eastern Conference Finals, but these two teams are going in markedly different directions so far this season. The Pacers are tied with the Spurs for best record in the league at 9-1, but the Knicks ... oh, the Knicks ... they just continue the steep uphill battle without Tyson Chandler.

New York is currently 9-1 and coming off a loss in Detroit to the also struggling Pistons. The defense has suffered greatly without its anchor, and trade talks surrounding Iman Shumpert are sure to continue if the losing doesn't stop. The Knicks are currently on a three-game skid, and a visit from Indy won't make things much easier.

The Pacers, on the other hand, are rolling. They have the league's top defense and a legitimate MVP candidate in Paul George. Indiana was adamant about chasing home-court advantage throughout the regular season, and so far they're looking quite good on that front.


(Via @CJZero)

Reading material: Indy Cornrows talks about the Pacers' spot toward the top of the NBA's elite, and Posting and Toasting's Seth Rosenthal keeps tabs on all the rumblings surrounding Knicks basketball.

Main Course: Clippers vs. Timberwolves

8 p.m. ET

Do you enjoy offense? Then you'll love this matchup. The Clippers and Timberwolves each boast top-10 offenses — L.A. has the second-best offensive-efficiency rating in the NBA — and are both coming off disappointing losses, which means they'll be angry. I think that's how it works, at least.

It's going to be a matchup of two of the most exciting pass-first point guards in the league and two of the most talented big men in today's game. Whether it's Ricky Rubio being adorable, Chris Paul being mean, Blake Griffin being dunky or Kevin Love filling up the box score, there's a little something for everyone. Both teams have seven wins this season and are already wrestling for Western Conference positioning. It might be early, but the West is as deep as ever. Every game is important.

Reading material: Clips Nation: Lucas Hann has your Clippers 10-game report ready to go; Canis Hoopus: In case you hadn't heard, Corey Brewer is back in Minnesota, and Eric in Madison let you know how the reunion is going so far.

Dessert: Grizzlies vs. Warriors

10:30 p.m. ET

The late night game features two Western Conference playoff teams of a year ago, but while one is trying to build on its success, the other is trying not to take a step backward.

Does Memphis make it two big wins in a row? Sitting at 6-5, perhaps all the Grizzlies needed was a game against the Los Angeles Clippers to get the blood boiling.  Memphis pulled off a 106-102 win in Staples Center, a sign that it is not lost under first-year coach Dave Joerger. Going into Golden State's Oracle Arena -- the Warriors are 5-0 thus far at home -- and winning would be another monumental step in the right direction for the Grizz.

Reading material: Golden State of Mind makes predictions for the game knowing point guard Stephen Curry will be out to recover from a concussion. Grizzly Bear Blues examines Zach Randolph's deferred compensation contract.

Side dishes: Rockets vs. Mavericks

9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN

Yet another stop on the "Boo Dwight" tour, the Houston Rockets visit Dallas and a Western Conference foe that seemingly moved on quite well after Dwight Howard's spurning.

Can the Mavs get a signature win? Dallas is perfect at home but without a signature win on the year. The Mavs have beaten everyone they're supposed to, but have losses to these Rockets, the Thunder, the Timberwolves and the Heat. Meanwhile, Houston doesn't have many of its own season-defining wins just yet, though a victory at Portland at this point certainly looks like a good one. The Rockets taking another victory at Dallas would certainly be something to build upon.

Reading material: Mavs Moneyball has four questions to preview the game, and The Dream Shake breaks it down by position -- and reviews some of the best pictures in Dallas Mavericks history.

Raptors vs. 76ers

7 p.m. ET

It must be going poorly for Toronto, which has a worse record than the supposed worst team in the NBA thus far.

Which team is most accurate? It's an issue that's an obvious part of a basketball game, but both the Raptors and 76ers have been dealing with major shooting troubles. Toronto needed Rudy Gay and DeMar DeRozan to pump out 27 shot attempts in an overtime loss to Portland last time out -- they shot only 43 percent -- and Philadelphia has been a bad shooting team that only got worse when point guard Michael Carter-Williams went down with an injury. The Sixers missed his near 40 percent three-point shooting clip, but it's possible he returns, reports

Reading material: Raptors HQ discusses whether or not Toronto's few assists are necessarily a bad thing. At Liberty Ballers, it's noted that the Atlanta Division is very, very bad.

Heat vs. Magic

7 p.m. ET

It's a fight for Florida supremacy!

Does anyone know about Arron Afflalo? Seriously. The Orlando guard is averaging 21.7 points, 4.8 assists and five rebounds per game. And he's not doing that inefficiently by shooting 49 percent overall and 50 percent from deep. The Magic are 4-2 at home this year and are one of the least talked about teams of those supposed to tank, but aren't quite doing it so far. Can they topple the Heat, who have won four in a row?

Reading material: Tyler Lashbrook of Orlando Pinstriped Post analyzes Maurice Harkless' improved jumper.

Pistons vs. Hawks

7:30 p.m. ET

Josh Smith returns to his former stomping grounds, where he will likely get ... cheered?

Who wins the frontcourt battle? On paper, the Detroit Pistons' frontcourt is a lot of fun and has a lot of talent. But when it comes down to it, the Atlanta Hawks' group of Al Horford and Paul Millsap will make up for their lack of dunking ability with a blue-collar approach that has propelled them to a 6-4 start. Of course, all eyes in Atlanta will be on former Hawks forward Smith, who might have a message for his former team.

Reading material: Jason Walker of Peach Tree Hoops believes Smith should receive a standing ovation for what he did as a Hawk.

Celtics vs. Spurs

8:30 p.m. ET

The streaky Celtics visit a rested San Antonio Spurs team that's eyeing its eighth-straight win.

Can Jeff Green get back on track? Green has scored six points in the last two games and shot 2-for-13 in that span. As defenses square him up as one of the few players who could go off, it won't get any easier, especially not against Spurs defensive stalwart Kawhi Leonard. And don't look now, but the Spurs are seemingly already in playoff form.

Reading material: Pounding the Rock examines Tony Parker's fourth quarter scoring.

Suns vs. Kings

9 p.m. ET

Hey, this one might hold a bit of entertainment value. The Kings dropped Phoenix Tuesday night in a game between two lottery-projected teams -- but it was plenty fun to watch. This, from last night: Green2

Can the Suns finally close out a game? Phoenix, at 5-5 on the year, is the only NBA team to hold a fourth-quarter lead in every one of its games. In the last three, the Suns have fallen in the final seconds of regulation or overtime. Their familiarity with drama -- and the back-and-forth exhibited with the Kings a night before -- makes this one a game to watch.

Reading material: Bright Side of the Suns wonders if Phoenix should look into trading for any of Kenneth Faried, Iman Shumpert or Derrick Williams. Tom Ziller of Sactown Royalty announces DeMarcus Cousins' arrival.

Pass on it: Nets vs. Bobcats

7 p.m. ET

Deron Williams is expected to be back for Brooklyn after spraining his ankle a few games back, but that doesn't mean a guaranteed win for the struggling Nets.

Do the Nets keep Charlotte grounded? The Bobcats haven't scored in the 90s in four games, which is good news for a Nets team that has people wondering if coach Jason Kidd calls any plays.

Reading material: Nets Daily calls Michael Kidd-Gilchrist the Bobcat to watch, and Ben Swanson has more on center Al Jefferson's ankle troubles.

Wizards vs. Cavaliers

7 p.m. ET

Two teams with high aspirations coming into the season; two teams with more issues than they hoped to be dealing with.

Who finds positives to build on in an early rematch? The Cavs are off to a 4-7 start and are dealing with off-court issues that are dominating the local headlines. But after a recent overtime victory against these same Wizards in which Irving dropped 41 points, perhaps there's a glimmer of hope. The Wiz will be entering this Wednesday night game on a winning note after coming back from a big deficit to beat the very good Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday.

Reading material: Bullets Forever's Mike Prada discusses John Wall's back issues, and Fear the Sword's Sam Vecenie gives an account of Cavs' players-only meeting. (It might be fictional.)

Blazers vs. Bucks

8 p.m. ET

It's the NBA's hottest team against the NBA's coldest team.

Will Milwaukee crack 80 points? The Bucks haven't topped 80 in the last two games. Losers of five straight, they host a Portland squad that has won six in a row. It isn't outlandish, at this point, to wonder if LaMarcus Aldridge, Damian Lillard and Nicolas Batum could outscore the entire Milwaukee roster themselves.

Reading material: Frank Madden at Brew Hoop wonders if the Bucks are already on the brink of a failed season just nine games in. Meanwhile, Blazer's Edge is questioning whether or not a 9-2 start means much.

Jazz vs. Pelicans

8 p.m. ET

Well, the Pelicans ended a three-game skid on Saturday by pouring 135 points on the 76ers. Utah is 1-11 but on Wednesday gets to see the debut of rookie point guard Trey Burke.

Who gets going: New Orleans' deep backcourt of Utah's young big men? The Jazz duo of Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter has been disappointing this year after showing signs of being ready to lead at least a competitive team this season. The Pelicans haven't seen the expected production out of their backcourt of Jrue Holiday, Eric Gordon and Tyreke Evans.

Reading material: The Bird Writes discusses Holiday's turnovers issues this season.

More from SB Nation NBA:

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Ziller: The Lakers' new (horrible) sharing economy

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20 minutes at Rucker Park: From the deepest part of hell to NY's storied court

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