Seven of the Western Conference's top eight teams will take the court on Tuesday, all facing other playoff teams. It's not a packed schedule, but this looks like quality over quantity.
Main course: Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Houston Rockets
8 p.m. ET, NBA TV
For a 46-17 team, the there's sure a lot of drama surrounding the Thunder. After giving up 41 points to Gerald Green and then 42 points to Jodie Meeks in losses to the Suns and Lakers, the Oklahoman's Berry Tramel wrote a column titled, "Oklahoma City Thunder: Trying to get Scotty Brooks fired?"
The Oklahoman's Darnell Mayberry wasn't too complimentary of their recent performance, either:
This team is no longer playing for each other. Too many guys have different agendas. Too many are doing their own thing. Too many are playing for the wrong reasons. Kevin Durant is gunning for his first most valuable player award. Reggie Jackson is playing for a lucrative extension this summer.Russell Westbrook is working himself back into shape. It's selfish basketball, the kind we've rarely seen take shape in OKC.
It's equal parts funny and alarming how quickly things have changed, and the script can be flipped again with a win over the hottest team in the league. Houston has won seven of its last eight games and is a league-best 23-6 since the start of 2014.
James Harden dropped 41 against Portland on Sunday and Oklahoma City's defense is going to have to look a lot different than it has since the All-Star break if the Thunder are going to have any hope of slowing him and Dwight Howard down.
Appetizer: Memphis Grizzlies vs. Portland Trail Blazers
8 p.m. ET
It was tough to choose between this and the Bulls/Spurs game going on at the same time, but when in doubt, roll with the Blazers. They somehow seem to be involved in more dramatic finishes than any other team in the league. Portland is coming off a pair of five-point losses in Dallas and Houston and, the last time these teams met, Memphis won by 17. The Blazers should have revenge on their minds.
The Grizzlies won four of five on their recent East-heavy schedule, and they're now eighth in the West. It's going to be a fight to the finish between Memphis, Phoenix and Dallas for the last three seeds.
Dessert: Golden State Warriors vs. Dallas Mavericks
10:30 p.m. ET
This should essentially be a playoff game, as the Mavs are only two games behind the Warriors in the standings. Dallas is coming off big wins at home against the Blazers and Pacers, but winning at Oracle might be even tougher. Golden State has been rolling lately, winning nine of its last 11 games.
It's worth keeping an eye on Stephen Curry, who will be playing through a strained right quad. The Warriors' offense has collapsed this season when Curry has gone to the bench, and his minutes might have to be limited in the coming games.