NBA viewing guide: Heat visit Cavs, Spurs battle Thunder


In order to find the best action on Wednesday night, follow the stars -- namely LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant.

We hope you're ready to consume a healthy helping of NBA action, because Wednesday night's cup runneth over with 13 games on the eve of Thanksgiving. Whether you're looking for another trip to Cleveland for LeBron James or a Western Conference showdown between the Spurs and Thunder, we've got you covered.

So grab your silverware and loosen your belt — there's plenty to go around.


Indiana Pacers at Charlotte Bobcats

7 p.m. ET, NBA League Pass

The pre-meal fare is light tonight, because you don't want to fill up too much with what comes next. The Indiana Pacers sit atop the Eastern Conference with a 13-1 record and are playing suffocating defense right now. In fact, they lead the league, allowing just 90.3 points per 100 possessions on the back of great perimeter defenders and the biggest interior force in the NBA, Roy Hibbert. They're difficult for anyone to score on, let alone a young team like the Bobcats.

But Charlotte isn't quite the cellar-dweller we're accustomed to seeing. At the moment, the 7-8 Bobcats are the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference, and they boast the sixth best defense in the league. Who knows, maybe that home-court advantage might give us an early surprise on the night.

Reading material: Indy Cornrows: The effect of Paul George's contract on Lance StephensonRufus On Fire: Previewing Bobcats and Pacers

Los Angeles Lakers at Brooklyn Nets

7:30 p.m. ET, NBA League Pass

While the Kobe Bryant drama builds in Los Angeles, the Brooklyn Nets are hoping to start streaking after a win that gave Jason Kidd heart palpitations. (I'm kidding. Kidd is just fine. Maybe a little stressed, but fine, medically speaking. Though I'm not a doctor.)

It has been a rough first month of the season for the Nets, so perhaps that bit of good fortune on Tuesday will get things moving in the other direction, though they'll still be less than full strength. On the other side of the court, the Lakers are trying to tread water without their superstar, who is nearing a return to the court. In the mean time, they'll keep floating at the surface in a very tough Western Conference.

Reading material: Silver Screen and Roll: Do the Lakers have a plan?NetsDaily: Nets snap losing streak

Main Course: A Double Helping

Miami Heat at Cleveland Cavaliers

7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN

It's the holiday season, so how does a two-course meal sound? First up: LeBron's back in Cleveland for another round. Since James left the team that drafted him, all he's done is go to three NBA Finals and win two of them while the Cavs struggle to find their footing. And times haven't changed much.

The Cavs are 4-10 while the Heat have won eight straight on their way to Ohio and are currently 11-3 on the season. But maybe that little extra oomph LeBron provides for the fans in Cleveland will be enough to present a challenge for the defending champs. Regardless, it's always must-see TV when he heads back home, so make sure you're watching.

Reading material: Hot Hot Hoops: LeBron's shooting percentages are ridiculousFear The Sword: Should Cavs try and acquire Luol Deng?

San Antonio Spurs at Oklahoma City Thunder

8 p.m. ET, NBA League Pass

San Antonio currently carries an 11-game winning streak and is tied with the Indiana for the best record in the league. They're beating teams by an average of 13.9 points per 100 possessions, and they're doing so without playing a single person more than 30 minutes a game. And on top of that, they have the NBA's second-best defense. It's rather crazy.

But there's one caveat: The Spurs haven't exactly played the best competition.

Enter the Thunder. The supporting cast might be young, but Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are once again one of the best tandems in the NBA. And as Russ continues to adjust after missing quite a bit of time due to that pesky meniscus tear, OKC is looking better by the day, entering the game as a top-10 team on both sides of the ball.

This is the game of the night, so fire up the League Pass machine and head on over if Heat - Cavs gets cold. And while these two games probably provide enough to fill you up, there's an option for much more for the pleasantly plump NBA consumer. (That wasn't intended as a Boris Diaw joke, but you can make it one if you'd like. It's whatever.)

Reading material: Pounding The Rock: How Spurs create so many good looksWelcome to Loud City: How Westbrook and Perkins affect Thunder offense

Side Dishes

Philadelphia 76ers at Orlando Magic

7 p.m. ET, NBA League Pass

This would've been billed as a tank-off prior to the season, but at this moment, these two teams are one game back in the loss column of the final playoff spot in the East. So that's something, right?

Regardless, the Sixers and Magic are both young, energetic teams that offer a glimpse into the future of the league, and they've each put on some exciting performances throughout the young season. Take a peek at this one; it might surprise you.

Reading material: Liberty Ballers: Do MCW and Brett Brown make Sixers too good?Orlando Pinstriped Post: Recapping the Magic's blowout win over the Hawks

Atlanta Hawks at Houston Rockets

8 p.m. ET, NBA League Pass

James Harden may not play once again due to an injury, but the Rockets haven't missed a beat without him. Houston is first in the NBA in points per game and are riding a two-game winning streak.

The Hawks, on the other hand, have lost two straight games to struggling Eastern Conference teams. Atlanta has lost 19 of their last 21 games in Houston, so things do have the potential of getting ugly. However, Kyle Korver can tie Dana Barros' record for most consecutive games with a made three-pointer.

Reading material: Peachtree Hoops: Hawks blown out against MagicThe Dream Shake: Previewing Hawks-Rockets

Denver Nuggets at Minnesota Timberwolves

8 p.m. ET, NBA League Pass

After a hot start, the Wolves have hit a bit of a speed bump. Minnesota is now just .500 after losing four of their last five games. The Wolves made a trade on Tuesday, dealing former No. 2 pick Derrick Williams for Luc Richard Mbah a Moute.

The Nuggets are essentially the opposite of the Wolves, having gotten back over .500 after a dreadful start. Denver's offense is starting to kick into high gear, so expect plenty of points in Minnesota.

Reading material: Denver Stiffs: Getting to know Evan FournierCanis Hoopus: Can Mbah a Moute help?

Golden State Warriors at Dallas Mavericks

8:30 p.m. ET, NBA League Pass

Two of the more exciting teams in the league square off in Texas. The Mavs have lost just one game at home, although that loss was part of a home-and-home sweep against Denver. But even in those back-to-back losses, Monta Ellis' hot start continued, and he's now shooting 49.6 percent on the season.

The Warriors are coming off a thrilling 102-101 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans, a win which can be categorized as an escape after Eric Gordon's last-second three rimmed out. Jermaine O'Neal turned back the clock and had 18 points in place of the suspended Andrew Bogut.

Reading material: Golden State Of Mind: Warriors beat PelicansMavs Moneyball: Previewing Dubs-Mavs


Portland Trail Blazers at Phoenix Suns

9 p.m. ET, NBA League Pass

The Blazers just don't want to lose. Portland has won 11 straight games and LaMarcus Aldridge was just named the Western Conference Player of the Week. With a victory, the Blazers would have their best start since the 1990-91 season.

The Suns are one of the two teams to have beaten the Blazers, winning 104-91 in the season opener. Eric Bledsoe had a huge game in that one, but he has been out with a shin injury and is a game-time decision for Wednesday night.

Reading material: Blazer's Edge: VideocastBright Side Of The Sun: Update on all the Suns' draft picks

New York Knicks at Los Angeles Clippers

10:30 p.m. ET, NBA TV

After blowing out the Bulls by 39, a franchise record, the Clippers host another underachieving Eastern Conference squad. The Knicks have lost six game in a row and have problems everywhere, from lack of ball movement to poor interior defense to dreadful three-point shooting.

The Clippers don't have any of those offensive problems, as they have one of the most potent scoring attacks in the NBA with Chris Paul at the helm. Paul has notched a double-double in every game but one this season.

Reading material: Posting and Toasting: Woody speaks outClips Nation: Knicks-Clips preview

Pass It On

Memphis Grizzlies at Boston Celtics

7:30 p.m. ET, NBA League Pass

Both offenses are bad and the Grizzlies don't have Marc Gasol. That's really no fun for anybody. Tony Allen playing his former team could be something, but avoid this one if you can.

Reading material: Grizzly Bear Blues: What Grizzlies fans have to be thankful forCelticsBlog: Rondo back soon?

Chicago Bulls at Detroit Pistons

7:30 p.m. ET, NBA League Pass

With Derrick Rose once again out for the season due to a torn meniscus, the Bulls trot out one of the league's worst point guard duos in Kirk Hinrich and Marquis Teague. Chicago can't really score and just lost to the league-worst Utah Jazz. Meanwhile, the Pistons, especially against a solid defensive team like the Bulls, have the tendency to fire up a bunch of bricks as well. So yeah, stay away.

Reading material: Blog a Bull: What's next after latest Rose injury?Detroit Bad Boys: Jennings showboats

Washington Wizards at Milwaukee Bucks

8 p.m. ET, NBA League Pass

John Wall has scored over 30 points in each of the last three games, so him alone may make this game watchable for some. But the Bucks are just so darn terrible these days, so keep it.

Reading material: Bullets Forever: Wizards beat LakersBrew Hoop: Bucks blown out by Pistons

More from SB Nation NBA:

Andre Iguodala, Warriors perfect for each other

The Hook: With Kobe Bryant, the Lakers made the easy choice

Kobe Bryant: "I’m ready to come back soon"

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

Ziller: Sometimes the tank chooses you

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