NBA viewing guide: Grizzlies host Rockets, Wolves visit Indiana

Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Monday's main matchups see the Rockets in Memphis and the Wolves in Indiana.

There are nine games on the schedule on Monday, including a tasty matchup between the Memphis Grizzlies and Houston Rockets. Four of the nine games pit Eastern Conference teams against those from the dominant West, but this could be the rare night where the East comes out on top. Here's the menu:

Appetizers: Timberwolves vs. Pacers

7 p.m. ET, NBA League Pass

Minnesota's only win in the last week was a blowout over the dysfunctional Brooklyn Nets, so the scorching Indiana Pacers are just about the last team it wants to see at the moment. The 12-1 Pacers are tied with the San Antonio Spurs for the best record in the league, but they've had the advantage of a relatively easy early schedule. This meeting with a solid Minnesota team is a worthy tune-up for Indiana before things get tougher with a trip out west at the beginning of December.

Ricky Rubio and Paul George make these teams League Pass favorites, but the frontcourt battle, with David West and Roy Hibbert fighting for rebounds against Kevin Love and Nikola Pekovic, could make this one intense.

Reading material: Indy Cornrows writes that Frank Vogel doesn't want his team to take a business-like approach to the season -- he wants them playing with fury, Paul Flannery on the dawn of the Paul George era

Suns vs. Heat

7:30 p.m., NBA League Pass

The 7-6 Phoenix Suns still haven't stopped being entertaining. This group plays hard, plays fast and supplies nightly highlights. After a down year in Indiana, Suns general manager Ryan McDonough might be the only person on the planet who knew Gerald Green (averaging 20 points in his last four games) could be this much of a contributor. And while Green provides threes and windmill dunks, P.J. Tucker's emergence as a 3-and-D specialist might be even more important to Phoenix's surprising success.

This could be a different kind of game for the Suns, though. While Phoenix has almost always at least kept it close this season, the Miami Heat have won six in a row and five have been by double digits. It took Miami a little while to get its defense clicking this season, but the Heat now appear to be fully functional. Bad news for the Suns.

Reading material: Bright Side of the Sun finds the stats to prove how much Phoenix's offense is clicking with players not necessarily known for their shooting. Hot Hot Hoops takes a peek at Miami's bench

The main course: Rockets vs. Grizzlies

8 p.m., NBA League Pass

Marc Gasol (sprained MCL) is out for the Memphis Grizzlies and James Harden (foot) will probably not suit up for the Houston Rockets, so let's see who steps up. We've seen Jeremy Lin, Terrence Jones and Aaron Brooks all have big games for the Rockets lately, and Grizzlies big men Kosta Koufos and Ed Davis should both see increased playing time in Gasol's absence. Can Koufos and company contain Dwight Howard?

Reading material: Grizzly Bear Blues' analysis of the Grizzlies with and without Gasol, The Dream Shake's game preview

Side dishes: Nuggets vs. Mavs

8:30 p.m., NBA League Pass

The Denver Nuggets escaped with a two-point win when these teams met in Denver on Saturday, led by Ty Lawson's 20 points and nine assists and Randy Foye's five threes. This time, the Dallas Mavericks hope not to surrender 35 points in the first quarter and find themselves fighting back again. It should help that they're at home, where they are 7-0.

Lawson is quietly having a stellar season for the Nuggets, averaging 20.8 points, 8.5 assists and 4.2 rebounds per game, all easily career highs. You'll start hearing about him a lot more if Denver manages to climb over .500. Expect Lawson to get in the paint at will when guarded by Jose Calderon or Monta Ellis.

Reading material: Denver Stiffs' Nate Timmons talks to Nuggets analytics guy Tommy Balcetis, Mavs Moneyball previews the game

Pelicans vs. Spurs

8:30 p.m., NBA League Pass

There's one simple reason to watch: the 37-year-old Tim Duncan vs. the 20-year-old Anthony Davis. Duncan's offense has been inconsistent lately, but it should be fun to see him try to deal with the game's next great power forward.

Reading material: The Bird Writes previews the game, Pounding the Rock looks at the Spurs' schedule

The dessert: Knicks vs. Blazers

10 p.m., NBA League Pass

Here are two teams on opposite ends of the spectrum. The New York Knicks have lost five in a row, are 3-9 overall and shooting guard J.R. Smith is panicking. The Portland Trail Blazers have won 10 in a row, are 12-2 overall and have better chemistry than they could have ever expected. Blazers guard Mo Williams will be serving a suspension, but the Knicks will have to play above their heads if they're going to turn things around against a Portland team that keeps finding new ways to win.

Viewing material: Posting and Toasting: J.R. Smith gets a good night's sleep, Blazer's Edge: Highlights of the Blazers' 10-game winning streak

Pass on it: Bulls vs. Jazz

9 p.m. ET, NBA TV

I'd prefer to pretend this game isn't happening, as thinking about the Utah Jazz and the Derrick Rose-less Chicago Bulls makes me sad.

Reading material: Ricky O'Donnell on losing Derrick Rose for the season, SLC Dunk: A depressing recap of Utah's loss in Oklahoma City

Celtics vs. Bobcats

7 p.m., NBA League Pass

The 7-7 Charlotte Bobcats are sixth in the Eastern Conference, which tells you how awful the conference has been thus far. After a four-game winning streak where it looked like they might be figuring it out, the Boston Celtics lost seven in a row. They then managed stop the streak against the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday. Which Boston team will show up in Charlotte?

Reading material: Ben Swanson of Rufus on Fire on the soon-to-be Hornets going back to teal and purple, Celticsblog: Vitor Faverani is getting into the groove again

Bucks vs. Pistons

7:30 p.m., NBA League Pass

Brandon Knight and Jennings will face off for the first time since they were traded for one another in the offseason. Knight is working back from a hamstring issue and Jennings is struggling with his shot. Neither the Bucks nor Pistons have performed to expectations thus far, with Milwaukee looking particularly putrid on its current eight-game losing streak. This is only for the die-hards.

Reading materialTom Ziller on the Bucks tanking by accident, Detroit Bad Boys: Brandon Jennings says he has no confidence in his shot

More from SB Nation NBA:

Derrick Rose's season-ending injury cuts deep in Chicago

Sunday Shootaround: Dawn of the Paul George Era

The Hook: Sometimes the tank chooses you

Kobe Bryant signs massive 2-year extension with Lakers

The Hook: Blaming Chris Grant as Cavaliers flounder

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