The Monday night NBA schedule includes an East-West battle between Memphis and Washington, and what would be a first-round playoff matchup between Miami and Charlotte.
7 p.m. ET
This is one of those games where the Wizards sure could use Nene to pair with Marcin Gortat, but with the power forward out for at least several more weeks with a knee injury, Trevor Booker will have to do. He's done just fine of late, and Washington has won six straight heading into Monday night. The Wizards have been especially explosive in their recent games, scoring 115 in a win against Orlando, 134 points in a triple-overtime win over Toronto, and 122 points at Philadelphia behind Trevor Ariza's 40-point show.
Expect the Grizzlies to attack inside-out as they normally do. Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol are each combing off 20-point games in a win against Cleveland, and the Grizzlies have all the motivation in the world by being 1.5 games out of the Western Conference's eighth playoff spot.
7:30 p.m. ET, NBATV
Chicago hasn't looked better this season, and center Joakim Noah is the obvious reason why. The Bulls beat up on the New York Knicks on Sunday, winning 109-90 behind Noah's 13-point, 14-assist and 12-rebound performance. Tom Thibodeau's team even has some depth nowadays with D.J. Augustin and Taj Gibson coming off the bench. Could Jimmer Fredette be added to that sentence?
Brooklyn has rallied from a 44-point drubbing at the hands of the Trail Blazers last week with double-digit wins over lowly Denver and Milwaukee. The Nets have found some added punch from pre-trade deadline acquisition Marcus Thornton, but the task is tall against the usual stingy Bulls defense, not to mention the need to stop a Chicago offense that's clicking.
7:30 p.m. ET
Don't laugh. Historically, this matchup looks like there's a heavy favorite with Miami having won 15 prior meetings. Charlotte, behind a surprising grittiness, is a less talented but quality foil for the two-time reigning champions, and it has played the Heat well in the teams' last two meetings. The Bobcats lost to the Heat 99-98 on Dec. 1 and on Jan. 18 took Miami to overtime before falling 104-96.
LeBron James is always trouble and Dwyane Wade has found healthy legs for the time being. But Bobcats center Al Jefferson and point guard Kemba Walker have the advantage at their respective positions, making for an interesting game of matchup issues for both sides.
And by the way, if the postseason were to start today, the second-seeded Heat would face the seventh-place Bobcats.
The remaining schedule (ET)
New York Knicks vs. Detroit Pistons, 7:30 p.m.