2014 NBA schedule: Grizzlies visit Thunder, Nuggets face Clippers

Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Two Western Conference battles highlight the night, but don't sleep on a cross-conference showdown between the Blazers and Wizards.

There's a good deal of NBA basketball on Monday night to get you through any Super Bowl hangover, and we're guessing between these three highlighted games and the full 11-game schedule, a few will be more competitive.

Main course: Grizzlies vs. Thunder

8 p.m. ET

Two of the hottest teams in the NBA meet in Oklahoma City, and they'll be looking to break a season series that's tied up at one game apiece. The Thunder won the first meeting against the Grizzlies, 116-100, before falling, 90-87, just more than two weeks ago. Oklahoma City followed the Jan. 14 loss to the Grizzlies with 10 straight wins before losing its last game at Washington, and it's quite obvious that getting easy buckets in transition while pushing the pace is the key to dropping Memphis.

The Grizzlies have won 11 of 12 but will need a second strong performance from Nick Calathes, the rookie point guard starting in place of Mike Conley, who is recovering from an ankle sprain. The game brings some intriguing individual matchups with Thunder forward Serge Ibaka attempting to stop Grizzlies bruiser Zach Randolph in the paint and Tayshaun Prince getting a crack at Kevin Durant, who is coming off an 8-for-21 shooting game against the Wizards. Yet, it could come down to Calathes or Courtney Lee staying in front of Oklahoma City point guard Reggie Jackson, who will surely have the advantage in the full court.

The appetizer: Trail Blazers vs. Wizards

7 p.m. ET

Are the Portland Trail Blazers coming back down to earth yet? Perhaps a tad. Terry Stotts' club has lost its last three road games -- although to pretty darn good teams -- and faces a Washington Wizards team that might be confident having ended the Oklahoma City Thunder's 10-game winning streak on Saturday.

Washington caused 21 Thunder miscues and is one of the best NBA teams at turning over opponents. According to Basketball-Reference, the Wizards are tied for third by turning opponents over on 15.1 percent of their possessions, but they'll be battling LaMarcus Aldridge and his crew, which turn it over a league-low 12.1 times per 100 possessions.

The dessert: Clippers vs. Nuggets

9 p.m. ET

The Los Angeles Clippers haven't been all that shabby without injured point guard Chris Paul and have even won five of their last six games, but the Denver Nuggets will certainly be happy to have their point guard, Ty Lawson, back from his own shoulder injury. Lawson was at Sunday practice and is expected to give it a go on Monday, according to the Denver Post.

Depth is perhaps the biggest issue for the Nuggets, who needed shooting guard Randy Foye to play 43 minutes as a point guard in Denver's last game, a loss to Toronto. While Brian Shaw's team has the starters to keep pace with Los Angeles, even the return of Lawson gives the Nuggets little scoring off the bench to compete with the Clippers' Jamal Crawford, who is coming off a 27-point performance.

The remaining games

Magic vs. Pacers, 7 p.m. ET

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

Pistons vs. Heat, 7:30 p.m. ET

Knicks vs. Bucks, 8 p.m. ET

Spurs vs. Pelicans, 8 p.m. ET (NBATV)

Cavaliers vs. Mavericks, 8:30 p.m. ET

Raptors vs. Jazz, 9 p.m. ET

Bulls vs. Kings, 10 p.m. ET

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