It's a relatively light night in the NBA, with only four games on the schedule. Let's take a look at Tuesday's menu:
Main course: Grizzlies vs. Thunder
8 p.m. ET
We'll tentatively call this the game of the night, but that depends on injuries. Kevin Durant sat out of the Oklahoma City Thunder's practice on Monday to rest a sore wrist he hurt on a hard fall on Saturday, and his status is up in the air. Durant has not missed a single game for Oklahoma City this season. On the other side, Marc Gasol practiced with the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday for the first time since spraining his MCL in late November. It would seem unlikely for him to suit up immediately, but he and the Grizzlies were coy when asked about a return date, and he has a history of making surprising comebacks from injuries.
Memphis' Mike Conley has been playing out of his mind recently, averaging 27.3 points, 8.3 assists, 3.3 rebounds and 2.3 steals in the last three games, shooting 52.6 percent from the field and 46.2 percent from the three-point line. Conley's new backcourt partner, Courtney Lee, also has been effective in that span, shooting 50 percent since he arrived from the Boston Celtics. The Thunder lost in Utah and Dallas last week and shutting down the Grizzlies' guards will be important to earning a win on the road.
Appetizer: Pacers vs. Kings
7 p.m. ET, NBA TV
The Sacramento Kings have been tough to stop lately, scoring 112 points per 100 possessions in the new year, good for third in the league, per NBA.com. The Indiana Pacers are something else, though, still shutting teams down with ease. Kings forward Rudy Gay appears to have found his rhythm since arriving in Sacramento, seeing an immediate spike in his efficiency compared to his time in Toronto. Gay has gotten better over the last little while and has been a monster in 2014, averaging 21.8 points, 7.4 rebounds and 3.6 assists while shooting 62.1 percent from the field and 46.2 percent on threes in the last five games. He'll have a tough test against Paul George, though.
The Kings have earned wins over the Miami Heat, Houston Rockets and Portland Trail Blazers in recent weeks, so it will be interesting to see if they can rise to the occasion again. At 29-7, Indiana has the league's best record. Sacramento has won three in a row, all at home.
Dessert: Lakers vs. Cavaliers
10:30 p.m. ET
Both of these teams are in disastrous shape right now. The Cleveland Cavaliers are coming off a 124-80 (not a typo) loss to the aforementioned Kings, their ninth loss in 12 games. Adding Luol Deng to the mix has increased Cleveland's talent level, but the Cavs still look like they have no idea what they're doing.
The Los Angeles Lakers haven't been faring any better. On Friday they lost to the Clippers by a score of 123-87 (also not a typo), their 10th loss in 11 games. They're so banged up that Mark Madsen, now an assistant coach, has had to practice with them:
The Lakers are so undermanned that assistant coach Mark Madsen went through practice in uniform Sunday pic.twitter.com/Qz2IpLQHa3— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) January 12, 2014
Something has to give, I guess.
7 p.m. ET
The Knicks have won five in a row, but that's not enough to recommend watching them in Charlotte. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is coming back, though, so that's awesome.