NBA schedule: Rockets, Thunder headline Sunday's slate of NBA games

USA TODAY Sports

James Harden returns to Oklahoma City Sunday to take on his former team.

There are five NBA games on Sunday's slate, but the Rockets against the Thunder is the game to watch. There's also a Stephen Curry versus Kyrie Irving match up and Swaggy P's Lakers host the Sixers.

Main Course

Houston Rockets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder

NBA TV; 7:00 p.m. ET

There will always be a little extra to the Rockets and Thunder as long as Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are in Oklahoma City and James Harden is in Houston. The fallout from the cap-saving trade that shipped Harden to Houston has been well-documented. The thing to watch here is how good Harden has been against his former team. In three regular season games last year, Harden averaged 29 points, four boards and three assists on 64.4 percent true shooting against the Thunder.

How will the Thunder fare without Westbrook? The superstar underwent surgery and is out until the All-Star break, and the jury is still out on how Oklahoma City will hold up in his absence. Third-year guard Reggie Jackson stepped into his role against the Bobcats on Friday, and the Thunder will likely lean on him even more while Westbrook is out.

How will Houston shoot the ball? It's no secret: the Rockets live at the three-point line and the charity stripe; they've shot more free throws and three-pointers than any team in the league. But the Thunder are relentless at attacking shooters, forcing opponents to shoot just 33.5 percent from deep against them and making OKC's three-point defense good for fourth in the NBA. What will Houston do if Oklahoma City takes away half of its offense? That remains to be seen.

Appetizer

Golden State Warriors vs. Cleveland Cavaliers

League Pass; 6:00 p.m. ET

The Cavaliers have a ton of problems, with the suspension of Andrew Bynum coming in as the latest. The locker room is reportedly in turmoil and the fan base is broken and that's before you even start to talk about what's happening on the court. Cleveland is in the bottom third in the NBA in both offense and defense with very few bright spots to speak of.

Golden State, on the other hand, seems to be hitting its stride with the return of Andre Iguodala. The Warriors have won four games in a row and five of their last six since Iguodala returned to the lineup. In his last time out, Stephen Curry recorded a triple-double just minutes into the third quarter as the Warriors routed the surprising Suns.

There is, however, a fun match up here to watch: Curry versus Kyrie Irving. Two of the most unpredictable offensive guards lining up apart from one another? Count me in.

Dessert

Philadelphia 76ers vs. Los Angeles Lakers

League Pass; 9:30 p.m. ET

Admittedly, this game serves as dessert because it's the only game past 7 p.m. ET, but there are some things to keep an eye on here. The Lakers have lost four games in a row, their longest losing streak of the season, as injuries have beset the team throughout the season. Pau Gasol is reportedly a game-time decision after missing last game with a respiratory infection, which means this is, once again, Nick Young's team.

Anytime a franchise, especially one as storied as the Lakers, is Swaggy P's team, good things happen. Like, say,  this poster hyping Young versus LeBron James on Christmas day. And if we're lucky, we'll get one of these:

Swag_medium

The Sixers, as bad as they are, are pretty fun to watch. They're stock piled with young talent and guys playing to get out of town. Michael Carter-Williams hasn't kept up his amazing early start to the season, but he's a must watch on League Pass.

Atlanta Hawks vs. Orlando Magic

League Pass; 6:00 p.m. ET

Sacramento Kings vs. San Antonio Spurs

League Pass; 7:00 p.m. ET

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