Portland Trail Blazers center Cody Zeller
Portland Trail Blazers center Cody Zeller, left, looks to pass the ball as Denver Nuggets forward Aaron Gordon defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021. (AP Photo/Steve Dipaola)

HOW TO WATCH NBA GAMES THIS WEEK, JAN. 10

Mike Shara

There is a pervasive mindset among NBA ‘experts’ that regular season NBA games in January and February are often lackluster affairs. They argue that some of the players seem less interested than they might be for, say, a Christmas Day game or a late season rivalry game that could determine playoff seeding. The experts feel that we can ignore what happens from now until the trade deadline arrives, and after we’ve seen which teams really think they’re in it, tuning in then might be worthwhile. I think that’s entirely reductive and at least somewhat untrue. Granted, a mid-January clash between Sacramento and Orlando isn’t going to be marked into anyone’s Google calendar (except maybe those team’s players and staff), but there are always scheduling delights to behold.

This week is proof that my positive attitude is appropriate. Monday starts off with two second place teams clashing, as the defending champion Bucks travel to Charlotte for a rematch of Saturday’s game in Milwaukee. The Hornets are one of the most exciting offensive teams in the NBA, play at an absurdly fast pace and have won 5 of their last 7 to get back over .500. Now that sports fans in Carolina no longer have to even think about the Panthers for another nine months, they can fully focus on watching this exciting, young team ball out against the defending champs.

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Tuesday has Golden State traveling to Memphis for a matchup of two of the best teams in the Western Conference, beginning a serious road trip test for the Warriors and the newly-returned Klay Thompson. The Dubs get no rest after that, heading to Milwaukee for another tough road game Thursday and Friday night they face Chicago at the United Center. That’s a grind. The Warriors have been battling for the NBA’s best record so far this season and this week will be perhaps the toughest test they’ve faced yet and all three of those games will be televised nationally.

For the retro NBA fan: the Knicks face the Spurs Monday in a rematch of the 1999 NBA Finals that will probably not have the MSG crowd quite as excited, the Bulls and Pistons meet Tuesday in a game that is unlikely to remind anyone of the Bad Boys vs. Jordan, and on Friday the Celtics and 76ers will play each other. With all the 10 day hardship contracts being doled out due to Covid protocols, I think it is a 50/50 proposition that Larry Bird and Dr. J come out of retirement to help their teams and renew the rivalry.

What? It could happen. All games listed below are on National broadcasts and are listed at EST. Non-nationally televised games are available as part of the NBA package or on your local broadcaster. Check your local listings.

DAYGAMETIMENETWORK
MONDAYMilwaukee at Charlotte7 pmNBA TV
TUESDAYGolden State at Memphis8 pmNBA TV
TUESDAYDenver at LA Clippers10:30 pmNBA TV
WEDNESDAYDallas at New York7:30 pmESPN
WEDNESDAYBrooklyn at Chicago10 pmESPN
THURSDAYGolden State at Milwaukee7:30 pmTNT
THURSDAYPortland at Denver10 pmTNT
FRIDAYGolden State at Chicago7:30 pmESPN
FRIDAY Dallas at Memphis10 pmESPN
SATURDAYLA Lakers at Denver9 pmNBA TV

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