NBA schedule: Knicks host struggling Jazz, Nets face Hawks in potential playoff matchup

Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

The Jazz desperately need a win as they hold on to the last spot in the Western Conference playoffs, while the Knicks try to make do with or without Carmelo Anthony. Meanwhile, the Hawks try to gain ground on the Nets, who are 1.5 games ahead of them.

7 p.m. ET: Brooklyn Nets (36-26) vs. Atlanta Hawks (34-27)

Joe Johnson's new team has split the season series against his old one, with Johnson himself scoring 33 points on an inefficient 32 shots between the two games. But if Deron Williams continues his hot shooting after drilling 11 threes Friday night, what Johnson does — or what anybody else does, for that matter — won't make much of a difference. The Hawks lost Friday night in overtime despite 32 points, nine assists, and eight boards from Josh Smith. This one has playoff seeding implications: the Hawks are just 1.5 games back of Brooklyn for the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference.

TV: YES, SportSouth

7:30 p.m.: Utah Jazz (32-30) vs. New York Knicks (37-22)

Carmelo Anthony continues to be day-to-day for the Knicks with knee issues, but they haven't fared particularly poorly without him. The beat the Detroit Pistons, as one would expect, and then hung with the Oklahoma City Thunder, losing when J.R. Smith couldn't connect on a last-second jumper. Defense continues to be a worry for New York, however, and while Tyson Chandler might be able to handle Al Jefferson, Amar'e Stoudemire might not fare as well with Paul Millsap. The Jazz are grasping at straws, having lost three in a row and six out of seven despite having a healthy Mo Williams and Al Jefferson. A loss here drops them into a tie for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West with the Los Angeles Lakers.


8 p.m.: New Orleans Hornets (21-41) vs. Memphis Grizzlies (41-19)

The Grizzlies have won 11 of 12, and that only loss came to the Miami Heat, who you might have heard are on a 17-game winning streak. They might be without Zach Randolph, who is unlikely to play with a sprained ankle, but that shouldn't stop them at home against a Hornets team that's tied for last place in the Western Conference. That said, New Orleans did beat Memphis in one of their two previous meetings, with Ryan Anderson hitting seven threes.

TV: SportSouth

8 p.m.: Charlotte Bobcats (13-49) vs. Washington Wizards (19-41)

Remember when the Wizards were hands-down the worst team in the NBA earlier in the season? Good news! Now it's the Bobcats, who have lost nine in a row. The Bobcats were responsible for two of the Wizards' losses in a huge season-opening losing streak, including a 108-106 double-overtime affair, but that was ages ago. The Wizards are nearly .500 at home, and the Bobcats have been dreadful. This would be the 20th win for Washington and the 50th loss for Charlotte, which gives you an indication about both of their years.

TV: SportSouth, Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic

9 p.m.: Minnesota Timberwolves (21-37) vs. Denver Nuggets (41-22)

This doesn't look like much of a matchup on paper, as the perpetually dinged-up Timberwolves take on the streaking Nuggets, who have won seven in a row and 27 out of 30 in the thin air at home this year. But Minnesota has taken two of three in the season series, including one at the Pepsi Center, and surprisingly, both players who performed well in those games will be in the lineup tonight. J.J. Barea triggered a 101-97 win in Denver on Jan. 4 with 12 points in the fourth quarter, while Nikola Pekovic's 22 points and 11 boards gave Minnesota a 108-105 victory despite a 3-of-17 line from a then-healthy Kevin Love. Perhaps Minnesota can steal another one and prevent Denver from winning their 13th straight home game.

TV: WFTC, Altitude 2

9 p.m.: Houston Rockets (34-29) vs. Phoenix Suns (21-41)

This is the first game between these two squads this year, which is great for the Rockets: they get to play the team tied for the worst record in the Western Conference four times in their last 19 games. Houston won Friday night against the Golden State Warriors behind 26 points from Chandler Parsons, a win that brought them closer to the sixth spot in the Western Conference playoff race, while Phoenix lost to the lowly Sacramento Kings.

TV: Comcast SportsNet Houston, Fox Sports Arizona

10:30 p.m.: Milwaukee Bucks (30-29) vs. Golden State Warriors (35-28)

Andrew Bogut and Monta Ellis each face their former squads in a game that features intriguing matchups in the backcourt. The Warriors live on three-point shooting from Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, who will likely be responsible for checking Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings. Both teams are somewhat safe from a tumble out of the playoffs, but a win here is important either way. There'll be plenty of points, with the Bucks third in the league in pace and the Warriors sixth. Five threes from Brandon Jennings led the Bucks in a 109-102 win the first time around.


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