2014 NBA schedule: Blazers, Spurs set to battle on national television

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

LaMarcus Aldridge and Tim Duncan are at opposite ends of their careers, but the matchup between the two bigs will still be entertaining.

The NBA is busy on Wednesday night with 11 games on the schedule. Among them, three stand out as the most appealing to whet the appetite of action-starved fans.

Main Course: Portland Trail Blazers vs. San Antonio Spurs

9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN

The Portland Trial Blazers will face a test against the defending Western Conference champion San Antonio Spurs as the main event on ESPN during a busy NBA Wednesday night.

The Blazers' late-season test should serve as a fair indicator of where they are in in terms of postseason readiness. Both teams will be coming off a game the night before with the potential for jet lag, as the Spurs defeated the Chicago Bulls on the road on Tuesday, 104-96, and the Blazers fell to the Grizzlies, 109-99.

The Spurs are experienced and do just about everything well, ranking in the top 10 in both offensive and defensive rating with marks of 109.8 and 102.9. One thing to watch will be whether or not the Blazers' high-octane offense can get the best of the Spurs' stingy team defense anchored by future Hall-of-Famer Tim Duncan, who continues to be a strong presence inside even at age 37.

If head coach Gregg Popovich doesn't rest his veteran trio of Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker and Duncan coming off a back-to-back, the battle to keep an eye on will be Damian Lillard going against Tony Parker.

The fact that this game is on national television, has potential postseason implications and is exciting on paper means the scenario is ripe for Popovich to take wind out of the fans' sails and kill the fun by resting his stars. Either way, the game figures to be a good one.

Appetizer: Brooklyn Nets vs. Miami Heat

7:00 p.m. ET, ESPN

A good appetizer just makes us hungrier for more, and that's precisely what the nationally-televised game between the Brooklyn Nets and Miami Heat from South Beach is going to do.

Brooklyn is gearing up for the postseason and peaking at the right time, while the defending NBA champions are always a difficult test in their building. And then there's the fact that Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett will face their old running-mate Ray Allen.

The stage (and table) is set for some substantial action.

Dessert: Golden State Warriors vs. Los Angeles Clippers

10:30 p.m. ET, NBA League Pass

Make room for this one! The Los Angeles Clippers will host the Golden State Warriors in a battle for Pacific Division supremacy at Staples Center at 10:30 ET in front of what's sure to be a sold out crowd.

Golden State and Los Angeles rank fifth and sixth in pace, which will make for an up-and-down game with potential for plenty of highlight-reel plays. Chris Paul and Stephen Curry will put on a clinic on how the point guard position should be played in one of the most exciting backcourt battles in the NBA.

It's Splash Town vs. Lob City. It doesn't get much more exciting than that in terms of fan-friendliness. Expect a high-scoring affair and a playoff-like atmosphere.

The rest (all times ET)

Denver Nuggets vs. Orlando Magic, 7 p.m.

Sacramento Kings vs. Philadelphia 76ers, 7 p.m.

Detroit Pistons vs. Toronto Raptors, 7 p.m.

Charlotte Bobcats vs. Washington Wizards, 7 p.m.

New York Knicks vs. Boston Celtics, 7:30 p.m.

Memphis Grizzlies vs. New Orleans Pelicans, 8:00 p.m.

Dallas Mavericks vs. Utah Jazz, 9:00 p.m.

Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Phoenix Suns, 10:00 p.m.

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