2014 NBA schedule: Suns host Timberwolves, Pacers look to build lead against Lakers

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sport

Kevin Love and the Timberwolves visit the Suns as Minnesota tries to keep their playoff hopes alive.

The NBA's slate of games Tuesday features seven games, headlined by a Western Conference battle between the Minnesota Timberwolves and Phoenix Suns.

The main course: Timberwolves vs. Suns

9 p.m. ET, FSN, FSAZ

The Suns are holding tight to the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference and the Timberwolves are 6.5 games away from catching Phoenix. If Minnesota has any chance of creeping into the playoffs this late in the season, a win against the Suns would be a huge get for the T-Wolves. There's a ton of ground for Kevin Love and Minnesota to cover, but this is a great chance to gain a full game if they're going to chase any hopes for a playoff berth.

Phoenix is in a tight spot. They have a two-game lead on the Grizzlies and the bottom-three playoff seeds in the Western Conference are separated by just a single game. Every win or loss can be the difference between facing the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round or the Houston Rocktes

The Suns have a great opportunity to land a finishing blow when the Timberwolves come to town. With a very light slate of games, this could turn out to be the best game of the night.

The appetizer: Lakers vs. Pacers

7 p.m. ET, NBATV

So you want to see just how bad the Lakers are, eh? Here's your chance.

The Indiana Pacers host the purple and gold in what will likely be another loss for the West's worst team. Nick Young is not traveling with the Lakers after returning from a knee injury, and the team is still without Kobe Bryant, Xavier Henry and Steve Nash.

The Pacers are in the midst of perhaps the easiest five-game stretch of their season. They polished off the Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday and host the Lakers and Bucks before visiting the Boston Celtics. This is a great opportunity for them to build on their lead over both the Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder.

The dessert: Rockets vs. Sacramento

10 p.m. ET, CSH, CSCA

This game has a chance to be fun, no doubt. When you put Dwight Howard and DeMarcus Cousins on the floor together there's sure to be some sparks in the low-post between two of the NBA's top centers.

The Rockets are quietly climbing the Western Conference standings, just two games behind the No. 2 seed San Antonio Spurs. Their trip to Sacramento is the first half of a back-to-back that ends in Los Angeles when they visit the Clippers. These will be the final two games of a five-game road trip.

Houston has gone 9-1 over their last 10 games, losing on the road in overtime to the Golden State Warriors. Watch out, the Dwight Howard and James Harden show is starting to fire up.

The rest of the schedule

Toronto Raptors vs. Cleveland Cavaliers, 7 p.m. ET

Orlando Magic vs. Washington Wizards, 7 p.m. ET

Chicago Bulls vs. Atlanta Hawks, 7:30 p.m. ET

Portland Trail Blazers vs. Denver Nuggets, 9 p.m. ET

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