The Look Ahead: NBA Games You Need to Clear Your Schedule for

Holly MacKenzieNBA Lead BloggerMarch 6, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 29: Tyson Chandler #6 of the New York Knicks and Jeremy Lin #17 of the New York Knicks high five during the fourth quarter against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Madison Square Garden on February 29, 2012 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Chris Trotman/Getty Images


New York at Dallas, 8:30 p.m. EST

With the Knicks coming off of an overtime loss against the Celtics on Sunday and the Mavericks home after dropping a disappointing loss to the Thunder last night, this will be one to watch.

Dirk Nowitzki seemed frustrated that he didn't have the ball in his hands down the stretch for the Mavs in Oklahoma City. If the game goes down to the wire tonight, look for Nowitzki to have the chance to be a hero.

Tyson Chandler makes his return to Dallas and he will receive his championship ring before the game. It's always fun to see how the player who was an important piece of a championship team plays when he returns to the city that made him a champion.

Of course, we can't forget to mention the Jeremy Lin show that continues as we will be watching, with bated breath, to see how he'll play one game removed from being an afterthought in his match up with Rajon Rondo.


Boston at Philadelphia, 7 p.m. EST

Did you expect the Sixers to have a better record than the Celtics after the All-Star break? If you say yes, I don't believe you. Despite center Spencer Hawes playing in just 14 games this season, the Sixers keep finding ways to win basketball games. It's damn impressive, really.

While all of their games have basically been "must-sees" of late (team basketball is just fun to watch), I'm especially curious to see what Rajon Rondo is going to do in Philly after pouring in 18 points, 17 rebounds and 20 assists against the Knicks on Sunday.

After Philly dropped its second straight game last night, look for Doug Collins to try and rally his troops to a solid performance against the Celtics. When youth faces experience, it's always an interesting show.


Orlando at Chicago, 8 p.m. EST

If you're on this site and reading this post, you already know by now to have your Thursday night slate clear for the NBA on TNT. This week, you need to see the Magic take on the Bulls because Dwight Howard and Joakim Noah on the floor at the same time is always fun.

While Howard is the joker off court, it's Noah's game that makes me smile. As the trade deadline creeps closer, all eyes will be on the Magic to see how Howard plays under pressure and whether the rumors and trade discussion has any effect on him or his teammates.

Personally, I think it'll continue to be business as usual for the Magic, even if we want to manufacture some excitement and buzz. Another bonus of this game: look for Derrick Rose to shake off that bad outing he had against the Pacers by punishing the Orlando back court.


Los Angeles Clippers at San Antonio, 8:30 p.m. EST

Blake Griffin. DeJuan Blair. Get excited.

I love watching Griffin defy the laws of gravity almost as much as I love watching Blair defy the laws of ligaments and ACLs. After the Spurs pulled off the 103-100 overtime victory against the Clippers in their last meeting, look for this one to be an intense battle.

Chris Paul missed a chance to tie the game for the Clippers in that loss after turning the ball over in a strange sequence in regulation that left him bewildered after the game. He's the type of guy that doesn't forget those moments and seems to have them etched into his brain (and across his heart) with the hopes of getting payback at the next opportunity.

While Griffin and Blair will provide the entertainment, look for Paul to steal the show in this one.