2014 NBA schedule: Mavs-Spurs open on ESPN, Suns and T-Wolves close it

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN has two matchups of Western Conference playoff contenders who can all pack an offensive punch.

A nine-game NBA schedule kicks off with the Dallas Mavericks facing the San Antonio Spurs and ends with the Phoenix Suns visiting the Minnesota Timberwolves. Here's what to watch for and the complete NBA schedule for Wednesday.

The main course: Mavericks vs. Spurs

7 p.m. ET (ESPN)

Two of the NBA's best offenses clash in San Antonio. Between Tim Duncan and Dirk Nowitzki, it's hard to ask for a better matchup at power forward, both in name and in how differently each operates. But if we look at similarities, the two aging superstars have the teams perfectly fit around their games, well enough to where they aren't necessarily forced to carry a large chunk of the load. That's something to appreciate.

The Mavericks are hoping to upend the Spurs after getting their best in a 116-107 loss to San Antonio on Dec. 26. Dallas will either need to open up more three-point opportunities after going 5-for-17 from deep in that outing, or match the aggressiveness of the Spurs, who attacked the rim and went to the foul stripe 42 times

Underlying story: Mavs forward DeJuan Blair, under-appreciated perhaps in his later San Antonio years, has another chance to take it to his old team.

The appetizer: Pistons vs. Raptors

7 p.m. ET (League Pass)

Coming off single-digit losses to the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers shouldn't have the Toronto Raptors down. Dwane Casey's team had won seven of its last eight before the current mini-skid, and Wednesday night it will be facing a Pistons team with two fewer wins and four more losses on its record.

Funny, considering the Pistons were focused on building themselves into a playoff contender this offseason by spending on Josh Smith and acquiring point guard Brandon Jennings. Toronto has only gotten better while in rebuild mode, and the trade of Rudy Gay has brought the team closer together, it seems. Will chemistry beat talent when the two clash?

The dessert: Suns vs. Timberwolves

9:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)

If there's one concern for the Phoenix Suns against the Minnesota Timberwolves, it'd be on defense and at the power forward slot. Good new for Minnesota, which runs out Kevin Love, the league's second-leading rebounder and scorer. Another concern for the Suns is a knee injury to Eric Bledsoe, which in all likelihood has him sidelined for the team's first national broadcast of the year.

The T-Wolves have a good chance at putting up the points considering Phoenix has hit a lull in the past three games, but Jeff Hornacek's squad is still capable of getting hot if Goran Dragic gets some help from Channing Frye and Gerald Green from deep.


The rest of the games

(All games can be seen on NBA League Pass, except for Celtics vs. Clippers, which is on NBA TV)

Pacers vs. Hawks, 7:30 p.m. ET

Warriors vs. Nets, 7:30 p.m. ET

Wizards vs. Pelicans, 8 p.m. ET

Lakers vs. Rockets, 8 p.m. ET

Magic vs. Trail Blazers, 10 p.m. ET

Celtics vs. Clippers, 10:30 p.m. ET (NBA TV)

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