NBA schedule: Thunder visit Blazers, Suns host Heat

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The Blazers and Thunder have provided some of the most exciting games in the NBA this season. You should probably tune in for this.

There are seven games on the NBA schedule on Tuesday, none bigger than the Oklahoma City Thunder trying to even the season series against the Portland Trail Blazers. Can OKC's MVP repeat his performance from their last meeting?

Main course: Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Portland Trail Blazers

10 p.m. ET, NBA TV

On Jan. 21, Thunder forward Kevin Durant dropped a cool 46 points against the Blazers at Chesapeake Energy Arena. He did so on 17-for-25 shooting, including 6-for-7 from three-point range and 11 points in the last 3:23. When he started that late-game onslaught, Oklahoma City trailed by five. It ended up winning by eight. Need a refresher?

That was the game that left Portland forward Nicolas Batum at a loss. "He is the best player in the world right now," Batum told reporters. "What can you say about him? He is the MVP. He is the MVP. I have been six years in the league, and I've never seen something like that."

In the two previous games between these teams, Durant scored a combined 70 points on 49 field goal attempts, but the Blazers still managed to win both of them. Back on Dec. 4, it was LaMarcus Aldridge who heard MVP chants, as he scored 38 points on an array of tough turnaround jumpers.

Portland's hit a bit of a lull, losing six of its last 11 including the one Durant took over. These are still two of the West's elite, though. If you're picking one game to watch, it shouldn't be a difficult decision.

Appetizer: Charlotte Bobcats vs. Dallas Mavericks

7 p.m. ET

The Mavs and Bobs don't make the most high-profile matchup. It's a battle of No. 8 seeds, though, and both Dallas and Charlotte have teams on their heels.

At 22-29, the Bobcats have an identical record to the Detroit Pistons, who have won their last three games. Charlotte's probably still kicking itself for letting Saturday's game slip away against San Antonio. Al Jefferson had an incredible line of 26 points, nine rebounds, three assists, four steals and three blocks, but the Bobcats gave up 32 points to Patty Mills and fell short against the depleted Spurs.

The Mavericks are 31-21, and they're on a five-game winning streak. Even with their recent success, though, they can't get too comfortable. Dallas has a three-game lead on the Memphis Grizzlies, who have found their form and won 12 of their last 16 games.

Dessert: Phoenix Suns vs. Miami Heat

9 p.m. ET

Goran Dragic has been playing out his mind all season in Phoenix, and his latest outing might have been his best yet. On Saturday against the Golden State Warriors, the point guard exploded for a career-high 34 points on 10-for-13 shooting, including 6-for-7 on threes. Zigging and zagging his way to the hoop, he added 10 assists. That win was the Suns' eighth in their last 11 games, all the more impressive because of Eric Bledsoe's absence.

The Heat should be out for blood after a disappointing effort in Utah on Saturday, where they lost 94-89 after allowing the Jazz to build a 32-20 lead in the first quarter. It would be unwise to take Phoenix lightly, but they can ask their Eastern Conference rival Indiana Pacers about that. The Suns beat them twice in the last three weeks.

Other games (all times ET):

Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Sacramento Kings, 7 p.m.

Memphis Grizzlies vs. Washington Wizards, 8 p.m.

Chicago Bulls vs. Atlanta Hawks, 8 p.m.

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Utah Jazz, 10:30 p.m.

More from SB Nation NBA:

The Hook: Why the NBA will raise the draft age minimum

NBA newsletter: It's over for Mo Cheeks in Motown

Ziller: Detroit's scapegoat | Joe Dumars is a lame duck GM

Flannery's Sunday Shootaround: Putting the Kings back together

NBA power rankings: Thunder, Pacers remain on top

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