Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
The NBA schedule is light on Thursday, so the Spurs and Knicks will be responsible for providing the excitement when they take on two team out of the playoff race.
The Dallas Mavericks, San Antonio Spurs, New York Knicks and Portland Trail Blazers are the only four NBA teams in action on Thursday night, so the night will be light on playoff implications. The Spurs are the top team in the West and they hold a one-game lead over the Thunder, while the Knicks are one game behind the No. 2 seed Pacers in the East. That means the playoff brackets in each conference will not materially change based on the outcomes tonight.
The Knicks have plenty of big things going on, however. Tyson Chandler left the game on Wednesday with a knee contusion and he had to helped to the locker room, but the team says he's probable for the game against Portland (10:30 p.m. ET, TNT). Carmelo Anthony is still dealing with knee issues, and he will not be available because he's headed back to New York to have his knee drained. Portland is 20-11 at the Rose Garden this year, so the Knicks will have their work cut out for them.
The Spurs are 26-4 at home this season, and they should have the upper hand against a Mavericks team that is just 13-21 on the road. San Antonio has already beaten Dallas three times, including a 38-point win on Dec. 23, a 25-point win on Dec. 30 and a six-point victory on Jan. 25. The fourth-and-final regular season meeting is set for 8 p.m. ET on TNT.