Spurs vs. Heat (8pm ET Tuesday, TNT)
The Spurs are back on track after ending January with tough losses to both Golden State and Cleveland in the span of six days, having won their last four in a row, most recently surviving a scare against the cellar-dwelling Lakers. The Spurs headed into the fourth quarter trailing by 2, and the game was tied at 99 with just 2:25 to play before a 17-foot Tony Parker jumper put them up for good on the way to a 106-102 final. The victory was the Spurs’ 28th home win in a row to start the season, as their record improved to 43-8, still the second-best record in the West and the league. Tim Duncan continues to sit, but over the weekend coach Gregg Popovich said the future Hall-of-Famer was “close,” but is expected to sit through the All-Star break, while Manu Ginobili is out for 4 to 6 weeks after undergoing surgery to repair a testicular injury that resulted from a knee to the groin. (Ouch.)
The Heat have won 6 of their last 8, but on Sunday fell to the Clippers 100-93, as Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade combined to make just 12 of 37 shots for 34 points, and the Heat D mustered only 2 steals and zero blocks. Heat center Hassan Whiteside was named ESPN’s Defensive Player of the Month last week, despite missing 7 of the Heat’s 17 games, as he still managed to lead the NBA in blocks. Whiteside is easing his way back into the starting rotation after battling a hip injury, but he managed a double-double in just 17 minutes against the Clips. The Heat are 29-23, and in the 5th spot in the East.
Rockets vs. Warriors (10:30pm ET Tuesday, TNT)
The Rockets failed to launch Saturday, making just 25 of 77 shots, including a putrid 7 of 36 from 3, on their way to a 96-79 drubbing against Portland. Among the starters, only Dwight Howard shot better than 39%, making 6 of 10 for 17 points, to go along with 14 rebounds. James Harden, meanwhile, had a classically Harden-esque night, scoring 33 on 7-for-18 shooting, with 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, a block and 10 turnovers. (If only he could learn to use his powers for good.) The Rockets are 27-26, barely holding onto the 7 seed in the West, and are almost certainly the most frustrating team in the league.
And then there are the Warriors, a modern day juggernaut riding a 9-game winning streak, a 46-4 record overall, and needs only to go 26-6 the rest of the way to match the ‘96 Bulls’ record of 72 wins. On Saturday they beat the Thunder 116-108. The Warriors led by as much as 18 in the third, coasted a little too long, allowed the Thunder to tie it at 104 with 3:36 to go, and then awoke from their slumber to outscore them 12-4 down the stretch. Steph Curry has already made 233 3-pointers, the 10th highest single-season total in league history, and is owner of the second-highest 3-point shooting percentage in league history, trailing only his head coach, Steve Kerr. Power forward Draymond Green leads the league in triple-doubles with 10, which is already the 15th-highest total in league history, and he still has a third of the season to play – at his current pace he’d finish with 15, good enough for 3rd all time.