NBA viewing guide: Undefeated Pacers travel to Detroit

Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

There are nine games on the NBA's Tuesday schedule. Pacers-Pistons headlines the slate.

Tuesday's huge slate of games include a Central Division showdown in the Pacers vs. Pistons, a fun late-night matchup out West and a bunch of filler games with teams looking to gain some traction.

The appetizers: Heat vs. Raptors

7 p.m. ET, NBA League Pass

Miami bounced back, after back-to-back losses to Philadelphia and Brooklyn, with a win over the Wizards and look to replicate that result against the Raptors. The Heat are still a top team so its two early losses shouldn't be of any concern.

Dwyane Wade compared the Heat to a relationship with a woman and it's adorable. (via ESPN):

"Let me give you an example. If you're in a relationship with a woman for a long time, you start getting comfortable. You stop doing the little things that you should do, that you did in the beginning. It's just like a relationship. We got a little comfortable. Now we have to get back on that edge a little bit."

Rudy Gay is shooting 32.7 percent from the field and is averaging 3.3 more turnovers than assists through three games. So that's something.



Reading material: Hot Hot HoopsNorris Cole letting game come to him, RaptorsHQ: Blogging with the Enemy

Jazz vs. Nets

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

Brooklyn looks to regain balance against the winless Jazz, after a disappointing loss to the rebuilding Orlando Magic. There was really nothing positive to take away from the beat down the Magic delivered, but, hey, that's why there's 82 games.

The Jazz played the Thunder tough, lost a heartbreaker to the Suns and held a lead against Houston before the Rockets stormed back to win. Third year guard Alec Burks has looked fantastic through three games, putting up per game averages of 18/4/3.

Reading material: SLC Dunk: Podcast, Nets Daily: game preview

The main course: Pacers vs. Pistons

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

This isn't the Malice at the Palace, but it's about as close as it has been since that brawl went down in 2004. This is the kind of battle that '90s basketball stans cherish. Guys from both sides are big, tough, nasty and like to work from the post. Detroit is absolutely enormous up front with Andre Drummond, Greg Monroe and Josh Smith manning the frontcourt.  Indiana, known for it's toughness and size in the trenches, will have its hands full on the glass.

Will Detroit make that next step? Predictions for the Pistons' season are all over the place. Some people have them as high as the no. 5 team in the east; some have them missing the playoffs. Tonight is a good chance for the boys in blue to solidify themselves as a perennial playoff team and a challenger to the top half of the East.

Is Indiana the best team in the East? The undefeated Pacers look like the best team in the East and possibly the NBA. Paul George, averaging 26/8/4, looks like a bonafide superstar and has somehow gotten even better on the defensive end. If the Pacers really are the best team in the East, then this is the kind of road game they need to win.

(Bonus question) Will Josh Smith stop shooting three-pointers? J-Smoove is 13th in the NBA with 22 three-point attempts. He's hit six. However, something tells me he won't stop launching from behind the arc.

Reading material: Indy Cornrows: Pacers turnover problems, Detroit Bad Boys: Detroit faces toughest test

The side dishes: Bobcats vs. Knicks

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

The Bobcats and their championship hopes look mundane in the young season. It's a real disappointment as most experts pegged them as the biggest Eastern Conference contender to the Miami Heat. Good news for Charlotte fans is that the team has a chance to get back on track against the struggling Knicks.

The Knicks' high-power offense from last season is the 26th worst early this season, per Basketball-Reference. Carmelo Anthony is shooting just 37.7 percent from the field and 26.7 percent from three-point range after a career best season from behind the arc last year.

Reading material: Rufus On Fire: Bobcats vs. Knicks Rap Diss, Posting and Toasting: Don't lose, guys.

Suns vs. Pelicans

8 p.m. ET, NBA League Pass

Eric Bledsoe has looked great this season but has he ever seen anything like this before?

I don't think so.

Pierre the Pelican is absolutely terrifying. HE STARRED IN THE BIRDS?!


As if Anthony Davis roaming the paint wasn't scary enough...




Reading material: The Bird Writes: Have the Pelicans been taking the right shots?, Bright Side of the Sun: Eric Bledose's team?

Lakers vs. Mavs

8:30 p.m. ET, NBA TV

Usually we here at SB Nation like to delve deep into the NBA TV matchups, but, uhhh, they really didn't do us a favor here. Monta Ellis versus Nick "Swaggy P" Young is the ultimate All-Over-Confidence team so that could be fun.

The Lakers are playing super fast, good for the third quickest pace in the league, per Basketball-Reference. This looks like a team built more to run Mike D'Antoni's system. The problem? The players just aren't very good.

Reading material: Silver Screen and Roll: Q&A with the Mavs, Mavs Moneyball: Monta vs. the shot chart

The Dessert: Rockets vs. Trail Blazers

10 p.m. ET, NBA League Pass

This is a classic, must watch League Pass game. You need to watch the Rockets no matter who they're playing. Houston plays fast, has two legitimate stars -- in Dwight Howard and James Harden -- are ridiculously good on defense. Speaking of James Harden:


The defense, however, is optional (see below) but that's ok if you're watching for basketball for fun and not as a fan.

That right there is James Harden trying to play defense. Actually, it's not really clear if he's trying or not. He's kind of just flailing around.

The Trail Blazers have won two of their first three games and have legitimate playoff hopes. LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard are each averaging 25 points per game and Nic Batum is a triple-double threat every time out. Portland knocked off San Antonio on Saturday and beating Houston would place them firmly in the mix as a playoff capable team.

Spurs vs. Nuggets

9 p.m. ET, NBA League Pass

There's no reason to bury the lede here: Denver has looked awful in its first two games. The defense is ranked 27th in the league; the offense isn't much better at 22. Kenneth Faried is struggling to earn playing time and JaVale McGee can't stay on the floor. Coach Brian Shaw hasn't found a reliable rotation. The team just looks bad. But, it's early and things can change against San Antonio.

The Spurs are the Spurs, still do Spurs things and will probably still be playing basketball in the summer. So there's that.

Reading material: Pounding the Rock: Nuggets-Spurs preview, Denver Stiffs: The Nuggets defense is good (video breakdown)

Hawks vs. Kings

10 p.m. ET, NBA League Pass

The sneaky-good matchup of the night is the late night game between Atlanta and Sacramento. The Kings have found a renewed defense under coach Mike Malone, who was in charge of reconstructing the Warriors' defense last season, and the Hawks are producing offensively at a Top 10 rate under coach Mike Budenholzer. Bud worked under coach Popovich for nearly two decades and has brought San Antonio's consistent offense to the Hawks are ran things through Al Horford.

Horford has responded, averaging 15 points and 12 rebounds in the young season. Jeff Teague looks like he's making the next step. His per game averages of 18/8/3 are encouraging for the Hawks, who figure to fight for a playoff spot in the East.

Reading material: Peachtree Hoops: game preview, SacTown Royalty: fan predictions

More from SB Nation NBA:

The Hook: Chris Paul is finally unleashed

Q&A with NBA deputy commish Adam Silver on debut of SportVu

Watch Atlanta's bizarre "Blurred Lines" code of contact video

The secret to Philly's surprising success

Flannery: Boston needed Russell's statue

Longform: How the Pistons became a team apart from Detroit

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