NBA viewing guide: Spurs host Warriors on busy Friday

USA TODAY Sports

The Friday night menu of NBA games is robust, but there's one standout main course everyone should enjoy.

The San Antonio Spurs and Golden State Warriors clashed in an exciting second-round playoff series last year, and the two teams will get together for the first time this year on Friday night. While this should be a tasty matchup, a little of the zest may be taken off if Stephen Curry is unable to go due to an ankle injury.

The Spurs and Warriors highlight a full menu of NBA games, 12 in total. Let's take a closer look at that menu (all times Eastern)

The Appetizers

New York Knicks at Charlotte Bobcats

7 p.m., NBA TV, MSG, SportSouth

New York is reeling a bit. Not only have the Knicks lost three games in a row, but Tyson Chandler is out for at least a month with a leg injury. The Knicks' frontcourt depth behind Chandler is either hurt or bad, and Andrea Bargnani will be counted on to provide a lot of minutes at center. They have been a train wreck with Bargnani on the court this season, so things do have the potential to get ugly if there's not some serious improvement.

New York will catch a break with Al Jefferson likely sitting out once again, although that didn't stop Charlotte from winning at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday. The Bobcats are in a bit of interesting situation with their coach, as Steve Clifford may miss the game after checking himself into a hospital on Thursday night.

Reading material: Posting and Toasting on what lineups to expect without ChandlerRufus on Fire's pregame diss rap

Toronto Raptors at Indiana Pacers

7 p.m., NBA League Pass, Fox Sports Indiana, TSN2

Indiana is the only undefeated team left in the league at 5-0. The Pacers are coming off an impressive victory over Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls, and their confidence is running sky high. Paul George is playing at an MVP level, while Roy Hibbert is already openly campaigning for the Defensive Player of the Year Award:

For the Raptors, Rudy Gay is off to a rough shooting start, knocking down 33.7 percent of his shots. Having George defend him won't make things any easier.

Reading material: Raptors HQ previews the Pacers gameIndy Cornrows says Pacers are best in East

Cleveland Cavaliers at Philadelphia 76ers

7 p.m., NBA League Pass, CSN Philadelphia, Fox Sports Ohio

There will likely be some bittersweet feelings when the Cavs travel to Philly to take on the Sixers. That's because Andrew Bynum will be making his so-called return after not playing a single game with the Sixers last season due to knee troubles. Those knee issues still persist, and Bynum even admitted that he has and still is considering retirement. Meanwhile, the Sixers have fallen back down to earth after their 3-0 start.

Reading material: Fear The Sword on Bynum's situationLiberty Ballers says Sixers fans should keep it classy when it comes to Bynum

Brooklyn Nets at Washington Wizards

7 p.m., NBA League Pass, CSN Washington, YES

Washington finally got off the schneid with a win over Philadelphia on Wednesday, hitting a franchise-record 18 three-pointers in the process. John Wall hit a career-high five threes in the game, and now he'll take aim against Deron Williams and Brooklyn. The Nets have been a bit up and down thus far this season, but they're coming off a dominant win over the Utah Jazz.

Reading material: NetsDaily on how the Nets must adjust to faster teamsBullets Forever examines when Wall should be shooting threes

The Main Course

Golden State Warriors at San Antonio Spurs

8:30 p.m., NBA League Pass, KENS, CSN Bay Area

The main course stands alone as the Golden State Warriors visit the San Antonio Spurs in a Western Conference semi-finals rematch. The Spurs eliminated the Warriors in six games, but times have changed and Andre Iguodala has hopped on board the Warriors wagon.

The Warriors are off to a great starting, going 4-1 and hitting the floor at the fastest pace in the NBA at 103.2 possessions per 48 minutes, according to Basketball-Reference. The pace was expected, but where the team has been transformed is on defense. The Warriors are second in defensive rating, allowing just 94.9 points per 100 possessions, per Basketball-Reference.

San Antonio also holds a 4-1 record, steady as ever after bringing back both Tiago Splitter and Manu Ginobili.

Here's a sample and reminder of that series last season:


Reading material: Pounding the Rock breaks down a few nice plays for Danny GreenAre the Warriors a defensive juggernaut?

The Side Dishes

Oklahoma City Thunder at Detroit Pistons

7:30 p.m., NBA League Pass, Fox Sports Detroit, Fox Sports Oklahoma City

This game has plenty of talent worth tuning in for, starting with the recently returned Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant. On the other side, Detroit has the big-man duo of Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond along with Mr. Defensive Versatility Josh Smith. Smoove is averaging seven three-point attempts per game and is shooting just 29 percent from deep, which doesn't seem like a path to a winning record.

Reading materialWelcome to Loud City preps for the game and has a pretty snazzy Russell Westbrook photoshopPistons news, featuring Roy Hibbert hating on Andre Drummond

Dallas Mavericks at Minnesota Timberwolves

8 p.m., NBA League Pass, Fox Sports North, Fox Sports Southwest

Monta Ellis has been tearing it up since he's put on a Dallas Mavericks jersey, while Kevin Love is averaging 18 points and an astonishing 14.3 rebounds per game. This should be a fun game to watch with the assortment of talent on the floor in super-skilled big men (Dirk Nowitzki and Kevin Love) and ball-handling guards (Monta Ellis all of the sudden and Ricky Rubio).

Reading materialQ-and-A talking Timberwolves with Canis HoopusEarly returns on Wolves lineups

Los Angeles Lakers at New Orleans Pelicans

8 p.m., NBA League Pass, Fox Sports New Orleans, Time Warner Cable Sportsnet

The Los Angeles Lakers are fresh off a big win over the Houston Rockets on the second half of a back-to-back. Pau Gasol has struggled to start the season, shooting 36 percent from the field. Anthony Davis has been excellent on the other side. He's putting up 21.2 points and 11.4 rebounds and is flying to the rim at will. Both teams will be in the hunt for a low seed in the Western Conference, so there's a bit at stake for them in their first meeting of the season.

Reading material: Drew Garrison looks at some of the good signs from the Lakers' offense against the RocketsAnthony Davis for Defensive Player of the Year?

The Dessert

Sacramento Kings at Portland Trail Blazers

10 p.m., NBA TV, CSN Northwest, CSN California

DeMarcus Cousins and LaMarcus Aldridge could be an interesting matchup as the Kings travel up the Pacific coast to face the Trail Blazers. Most of the action of the night will be over, providing a perfect opportunity to catch two teams that have been stuck in rebuild mode for the past few season.

Reading materialThe latest on the Kings' downtown arena plansEarly trends for the Blazers

Pass It On

Boston Celtics at Orlando Magic

7 p.m., NBA League Pass, Fox Sports Florida, CSN New England

Both of these teams are expected to be at the bottom of the Eastern Conference, so don't expect a barn burner here. In fact, the only burning to come from this game could be from Gerald Wallace, who has been vocally impatient with his new team.

Reading materialThe College basketball guide for Celtics fansDoc Rivers explains why Glen Davis became a jump shooter

Utah Jazz at Chicago Bulls

7 p.m., NBA League Pass, CSN Chicago, ROOT Sports

Yeah, the Chicago Bulls are one of the NBA's best teams, but Derrick Rose hasn't had a rosy start to the season, and the Bulls play such a grinding style of basketball that it can be brutal to watch. There's a lot of basketball being played Friday night, and I'll pass on these carbs.

Reading material: Five Jazz notes after five Jazz gamesThe Bulls need more Taj Gibson

Denver Nuggets at Phoenix Suns

9 p.m., NBA League Pass, Fox Sports Arizona, Altitude 2

The Denver Nuggets picked up their first win of the season Thursday night. The Phoenix Suns were projected as one of the worst teams in the West but are off to a 3-2 start. Unfortunately, this game is airing in the middle of the Spurs-Warriors game, so I'll stick with that.

Reading materialAndre Miller and Ty Lawson deliver first Nuggets winThe Suns' rebuild is getting tougher as they win games

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