Pelicans vs. Grizzlies (2:30pm ET Monday, ESPN)
The New Orleans Pelicans have won their last two games, most recently defeating the Charlotte Hornets 109-107, as Anthony Davis threw down a thunderous alley-oop with 2 seconds to play in a game that saw reserve power forward Ryan Anderson go off with 32 points on 12-of-19 shooting, including 6-of-8 from 3. The win lifted the Pelicans to 13-26, as they’ve leapfrogged the Suns into 12th place in the West. Anthony Davis scored 22 and 24 in the two games since returning from a minor back issue, and continues to average 20-10 on the season.
The Memphis Grizzlies are 23-19 and tied for 5th in the West after winning four of five. On Saturday the Grizz beat the Knicks 103-95, as Marc Gasol just started chuckin’, throwing up a career-high 29 shots and making 15 for a total of 37 points. What makes the Grizzlies’ recent surge all the more impressive is that they’ve done it without the services of point guard Mike Conley, who continues to wrestle with a bad Achilles, and is unlikely for tonight’s game.
Warriors vs. Cavaliers (8pm ET Monday, TNT)
After their breathtaking 36-2 start, the Golden State Warriors are suddenly looking very human, having lost two of their last three games, the lone win coming against the Lakers, which shouldn’t really count as a win. On Saturday, the Warriors fell 113-95 to the 22-18 Pistons. What went wrong? Steph Curry and Klay Thompson were their usual assassin selves, making 21 of 44 shots for a combined 62 points, but the rest of the team made just 13 of 50 for 33 points. These things happen.
Tonight’s game will be the second in a week that offers the Cavaliers a possible Finals preview. On Thursday they lost a heartbreaker to the Spurs, falling 99-95, but the next night they took their frustrations out on an unsuspecting Rockets squad, crushing them 91-77. LeBron handled point guard duties, dropping 7 dimes to go along with 19 points, while Kyrie Irving 23 and Kevin Love pitched in with 11-13 for his fourth consecutive double-double. The Cavs are now 27-10 and firmly entrenched atop the East.
Rockets vs. Clippers (10:30pm ET Monday, TNT)
The Rockets recovered from that drubbing at the hands of the Cavs in the same way that so many teams right themselves: by playing the Lakers. Houston brushed L.A. aside 112-95, as Dwight Howard pulled down 15 boards to go along with 14 points, and James Harden scored 31 on 10-of-17 shooting in just the first the quarters. Both Harden and Kobe Bryant sat for the final frame, the former with a comfortable lead, the latter with a nagging Achilles. Guard Patrick Beverley continues to deal with a bum ankle and is questionable for tonight. The Rockets have won six of seven to push their record to 22-10, good enough for the 7 seed in the West.
The Clippers on Saturday saw their 9-game winning streak snapped, losing 110-103 to the Sacramento Kings as the absence of Blake Griffin finally caught up with them. The Kings spread it around, with five guys scoring at least 15 points, and they shot 13-of-25 from 3 – it’s tough to contend with that. The Clippers at 26-14 have the fourth-best record in the West, and fifth-best in the league, but it’s largely the result of a win streak against bad teams put together without the services of arguably their best player, so it’s kinda hard to know whether these guys are for real right now.