NBA schedule 2014: Clippers, Spurs headline NBA's Saturday night games

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Clippers finish up their Texas road swing in San Antonio without Chris Paul.

We've got nine games to keep up with on this Saturday night of NBA basketball. The Clippers and Spurs — two of the best teams in the west — duke it out in our main course. There is, however, more to look forward to with Kevin Love and Kevin Durant playing on the same court.

Main Course

Los Angeles Clippers vs. San Antonio Spurs

League Pass; 8:30 p.m. ET

Chris Paul is likely out 3-5 weeks with a shoulder injury he sustained against the Mavericks on Friday, but that isn't enough to deter from an otherwise great Western Conference match up. The high flying duo of Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan combined for 50 points, 33 rebounds and four blocks against Dallas and will present a challenge to the disciplined duo of Tim Duncan and Tiago Splitter.

Can the Clippers beat top notch competition without Paul? The superstar point guard is likely out 3-5 weeks with a shoulder sprain and there's really no telling how the team will respond in his absence. Darren Collison and Jamal Crawford are formidable substitutes and the team did fight for a road win in Dallas without Paul, but it's impossible to replicate his production on both ends of the floor.

Can the Spurs knock down the long ball against a feisty perimeter defense? The Clippers are the fourth best team defending the perimeter, allowing opponents to knock down just 32.9 percent of their long-range attempts. The Spurs, on the other hand, are the second best three-point shooting team, netting a hair under 40 percent of their shots from behind the arc. That's an in-game battle worth looking towards.

Appetizer

Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Minnesota Timberwolves

League Pass; 8 p.m. ET

Kevin Love and Kevin Durant on the floor at the same time? Yes, please. The Thunder have lost two straight home games without Russell Westbrook, who is out until the All-Star break, but those losses came by a combined six points. This is still a very good team, one capable of plugging Reggie Jackson and Jeremy Lamb into more minutes. Losing Westbrook is tough as we saw in last year's playoffs, but Oklahoma City is still dangerous in the short term.

The Timberwolves have registered a top five offense and an above average defense, via Basketball-Reference, but still sit at .500 on the year. One can imagine a scenario in which the many close losses they've suffered thus far are an anomaly and the team will even out as an above average team as the season progresses. They've won three of their last four so maybe it's already happening. A home win against the Thunder would be huge in keeping the ball rolling.

Dessert

Philadelphia 76ers vs. Portland Trail Blazers

League Pass; 10 p.m. ET

The Trail Blazers are a fun good team and the Sixers are a fun bad team. Conventional wisdom suggests that Portland--an offensive force with firepower at nearly every position--playing on its home floor will blow Philadelphia away. That's probably true, but there are still some things to look for.

Sixers rookie point guard Michael Carter-Williams is a #LeaguePassAlert on his own and matching him against Lillard should be a fun, interesting battle. The Blazers blew the doors off the Sixers earlier in the year, but Carter-Williams didn't play in that game. With MCW, the Sixers usually have, at least, a shot to stay in the game. Philadelphia likely won't stay in the game for long, but that young point guard battle is something to keep an eye on.

New Orleans Pelicans vs. Indiana Pacers

League Pass; 7 p.m. ET

Miami Heat vs. Orlando Magic

League Pass; 7 p.m. ET

Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Brooklyn Nets

League Pass; 7:30 p.m. ET

Atlanta Hawks vs. Chicago Bulls

League Pass; 8 p.m. ET

Milwaukee Bucks vs. Phoenix Suns

League Pass; 9 p.m. ET

Charlotte Bobcats vs. Sacramento Kings

League Pass; 10 p.m. ET

More from SB Nation NBA:

O'Donnell: Andrew Bynum's irreconcilable differences with basketball

The Hook: Sixers, Suns show off the new 1-year rebuild

Joe Johnson keeps killing teams at the buzzer

Eberhardt: What do NBA assistant coaches do during games?

Prada's Pictures: The Knicks' sad, terrible defense

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