The last Saturday night before the league takes a weekend off to celebrate the All-Star festivities features a number of interesting matchups. Only one of them will be broadcast on national TV, but there's no shortage of games for League Pass subscribers.
Appetizer: San Antonio Spurs vs. Charlotte Bobcats
7 p.m. ET (League Pass)
The Spurs are always a dangerous team, even without Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Kawhi Leonard, and the Bobcats just played well during a four-game road trip, getting wins over the Nuggets, Lakers and Warriors. This should be an interesting game, particularly as Al Jefferson and Tim Duncan wage war in the post.
That matchup may not seem particularly special at first glance, but both big men have been on a roll lately. Duncan, apparently ageless at 37 years old, is averaging 18 points, 11.2 rebounds and 2.5 blocks over his past 15 games. Jefferson's numbers have been even more prolific over his past 15: averages of 24.2 points and 11.5 rebounds.
San Antonio historically has a 15-2 record against the Bobcats, but as Gregg Popovich said before the team beat Washington earlier this week, that history hardly matters to a team that prepares for every game with the same expectations in terms of concentration and execution.
Main Course: Portland Trail Blazers vs. Minnesota Timberwolves
8 p.m. (League Pass)
We got two Western Conference squads trying to regain their form here, but more importantly, we have a matchup between arguably the two best power forwards in the league right now. Anytime you can watch Kevin Love face up against LaMarcus Aldridge, that's probably worth at least a bit of your time.
Going beyond that All-Star matchup, Minnesota has lost three of its past four games, while Portland has dropped four of six. The Trail Blazers are still comfortably in the playoffs, owners of the No. 3 seed, but the Timberwolves are five games behind Dallas for the No. 8 and badly need to go on a run soon.
A couple weeks ago, these two teams played and Portland came out on top, 115-104, but Minnesota won the first matchup of the season, 120-109, on Dec. 18. If those two scores are any indication, expect a lot of points from these potent offenses on Saturday.
Dessert: Golden State Warriors vs. Phoenix Suns
9 p.m. (League Pass)
The Warriors have been inconsistent lately, but double-digit wins over Portland, Chicago and the L.A. Clippers in the past two weeks leave little reason to panic. Coming off back-to-back losses to the Bulls and Rockets, Phoenix may be the team with more to worry about in this matchup.
Even without star guard Eric Bledsoe, the Suns played fantastic basketball throughout January and started this month with a win over the Bobcats. The play of Goran Dragic has remained superb throughout the past five weeks, averaging 22.6 points, 6.2 assists and 4.6 rebounds in the 19 games Bledsoe has missed.
For the Warriors, it appears they've weathered one of their low points in the season. From Jan. 8-24, Golden State went 2-5, but it's rebounded with four wins in six games. Stephen Curry still does stuff like this:
Other Games (all times ET)
Nuggets vs. Pistons, 7:30 p.m. (NBA TV)
Rockets vs. Bucks, 8:30 p.m.