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NBA viewing guide: Rudy Gay's debut in Sacramento, Thunder visit Grizzlies

The schedule Wednesday doesn't have the glitz and glamour of Tuesday, but there's plenty of gems scattered throughout the night.


It's hard to follow up a night featuring the Miami Heat visiting the Indiana Pacers, but there's enough intrigue going on around the league to keep the good times rolling. Doc Rivers makes his first stop in Boston since leaving the Celtics, Rudy Gay will make his debut for the Sacramento Kings when they host the Utah Jazz, and Kevin Durant will go to work against a Memphis Grizzlies team that just isn't the same squad we're used to.

All that and more in our Wednesday NBA viewing guide:


Los Angeles Clippers vs. Boston Celtics

7:30 p.m. ET, PRIME, CSNE

Doc Rivers returns to Boston for the first time since heading out to the other, sunnier, coast. Rivers recently admitted it came down to his call to "walk out" on the organization and felt it was the best time for everyone to move on. Perhaps he's right, as rookie head coach Brad Stevens has done a pretty good job with the Celtics. Even after tearing apart the roster and waiting on Rajon Rondo to make his return the team is 10-13 on the season and leads the Atlantic Division.

How will Doc be received? There's basketball to be played, but let's not kid ourselves. It'll be fascinating to see how Rivers is received by Boston. Will the boo birds squawk at the former coach who helped capture an NBA Championship along with two NBA Finals appearances?

Reading Material: Prepping for Doc's homecoming, Highlights from Grantland's interview with Brad Stevens

Main course

Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Memphis Grizzlies

8 p.m. ET, FSOK, SPSO

So the Grizzlies aren't the sexy, underdog, grind your bones with our teeth team they've been over the past few years while Marc Gasol is sidelined. It happens. Oklahoma City is on a three-game winning streak and Kevin Durant has been on a scoring tear as of late. He just dropped 30 points on the Atlanta Hawks and is averaging 32 per game over the past four contests.

Will KD keep doing his thing? The Grizzlies went from the second-best defensive efficiency in the NBA to the 17th, a jarring drop under their first year with head coach Dave Joerger. Durant is getting buckets right now and could be in for another big night against the wounded Grizzle-bears.

Reading Material: Voting for the best Grizzlies alternate jersey of all-timeCould this be Thabo's last year with OKC?

Side Dishes

Philadelphia 76ers vs. Minnesota Timberwolves

8 p.m. ET, CSP, FSN

Kevin Love returned to the Timberwolves lineup after missing a game and did Kevin-Love things. He's coming off a 26 point, 16 rebound, seven assists outing and is enjoying a great bounce back campaign after playing just 18 games last season. Standout rookie Michael Carter-Williams is dealing with a knee infection and has been released from the hospital after spending a few nights there. He will not play Wednesday.

Can the Sixers stop the Love? Spencer Hawes? Thaddeus Young? Someone's going to have to man-up against Kevin Love, who is putting up fantastic numbers. Shocker, how Philadelphia handles the Timberwolves best player is key to this game, especially without Carter-Williams.

Reading Material: Examining the trade value of Spencer HawesAn early look at Timberwolves potential draft targets

Chicago Bulls vs. New York Knicks

8 p.m. ET, MSG, CSCH

So the Bulls are riddled with injuries and the Knicks are causing their fans to go off on wild 10-minute long profanity-laden rants because of their poor play, including burying (and stomping) on expensive blue and orange hats:


Sometimes it's hard to turn away from a train wreck, this game could fall into that category. The Knicks have struggled all season, including back-to-back losses to the tune of 41 points (to the Celtics) and 15 points (to the Cleveland Cavaliers). The Bulls have scored 75 points and 74 points in consecutive losses. Only one can survive.

So who wins? Everyone who doesn't have to play in this.

Reading Material: Hapless Bulls face hapless KnicksMissing the cool Coach Woodson


Utah Jazz vs. Sacramento Kings

10 p.m. ET, RTRM+, CSCA

The Rudy Gay era begins Wednesday night in Sacramento as two of the bottom teams in the Western Conference face off. Rookie point guard Trey Burke has played well after a delayed launch to his career, but the Jazz have still only won four games this season.

How will Isaiah Thomas, new Kings' starting point guard hold up? The Kings shipped off Greivis Vasquez, who was supposed to be the pass-first sidekick point guard to push DeMarcus Cousins to the next level but that never really panned out. Instead, Thomas became the Kings' best backcourt scoring threat and now has reign over the position as the new starter.

He dropped 24 points (on 43 percent shooting overall, 66 percent from deep) and 12 assists in his first start since the trade, and now has another high usage player on the floor with him in Gay. It'll be interesting to see how the team adjusts after two trades in two weeks.

Reading Material: Utah Jazz fandom and breaking the barrier of entryIsaiah Thomas gets the keys to the point guard position

Dallas Mavericks vs. Golden State Warriors

10:30 p.m. ET ESPN. CSBA, FSSW

Speaking on Isaiah Thomas, his big start came at the cost of the Dallas Mavericks. Dallas will have another high-octane point guard to deal with in Stephen Curry as they try to build on their middling success to open the season. Oddly enough, the Mavericks currently hold a spot in the playoffs while the Warriors are ninth in the West. Chalk it up to injuries, but it's worth keeping an eye on how far behind Golden State falls without Andre Iguodala.

Which Monta shows up? Some night Monta Ellis shows up, operates the pick-and-roll and attacks the rack. Other night's he chills out around mid-range and the three-point line and is the Monta Ellis who once had it all. How he performs against his old team in the Bay -- the same fans who openly booed owner Joe Lacob after trading Ellis to Milwaukee -- will likely be key for the Mavericks playoff hopes.

Reading Material: Dalembert, Carlisle and the Mavericks' lineup questionWhat SportVu shows us about David Lee's rebounding

Pass it on

Orlando Magic vs. Charlotte Bobcats

7 p.m. ET, FSFL, SPSO

Tune in if you're a big fan of Chris Douglas-Roberts, who just received a call-up to join the Bobcats. Maybe you'll catch a nice Victor Oladipo dunk or two. Let me know, I'll be passing on the early game.

Reading Material: Analyzing the first quarter of the Magic's seasonKemba's disappointing start to the season

Detroit Pistons vs. New Orleans Pelicans

8 p.m. ET, FSD, FSNO

This game could have been the main course, but without an Anthony Davis vs. Andre Drummond matchup, it's a pass for me. It's like eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich without peanut butter and jelly... so I guess thats... two stacked pieces of bread. No thanks.

Reading Material: Examining why Jason Smith is shooting so oftenIs luck factoring in to Pistons' defense?

San Antonio Spurs vs. Milwaukee Bucks

8 p.m. ET, FSSW, FSWI

It's the second game of a back-to-back for the Spurs, so expect guys to get plenty of rest while they pluck away at the Bucks.

Reading Material: More Aron Baynes GIFs then you'll know what to do withAre the Bucks targeting a trade for Omer Asik?

More from SB Nation NBA:

"What the f--k is this?": An oral history of Kurtis Blow's "Basketball"

Coach Nick: Can Kobe help the Lakers?

Why Dwight Howard and Omer Asik didn't work together

Ziller: A tale of two Rudy Gay trades

Flannery: Celtics focus only on future