15 Footer 11.17.09

REASONS TO WATCH THE GAMES OF THE NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION TONIGHT:

The Circus Is Falling Down On Its Knees, The Big Top Is Tumbling Down

Golden State at Cleveland, 7PM

It’s sad really. Not the Warriors. They’re well past sad. No, it’s sad to think about how deluded we were into being excited for that 2007 run. We remember that year as one of the most magical upsets ever. But you know? Now? I’m just kind of pissed at it. It ended up allowing Nelson to do this, to draft brilliant athletic concept guys and destroy them bit by bit. To usurp all the power from Mullin, and to continually not give a damn about coaching at all. It knocked the Mavericks out, when if you look back at the last decade, that Mavericks team was the hybrid between two worlds, the Spurs’ militant bravery and the Suns’ kamikaze attack and flourish. We could have had so much more from those Mavericks, and the cheap thrill we got from the Warriors seems so petty when compared to the misery that regime has inflicted upon their fanbase and those of all who they trade with. So you know what? I’m done with remembering that team fondly, with thinking of them as some sort of inspiration in breaking boundaries. They were nothing but a pyro show that happened to injure the headliners, and proof that we talk about chaos as being appealing, but in reality, we’d rather have cops on the street and the ability to file a noise complaint when the damn kids are ruining IASIP with their rock and/or roll music.

Oh, Shaq’s not playing, which means that LeBron will likely kill this team by himself, and that’s fun to watch. Think of Jennings, only with a big giant baseball bat.

And You Think You’ll Find The Answer To It All, Where Corn Don’t Grow

Indianapolis at New Jersey, 7:30PM EST

This is a big game. I’m not lying. Indianapolis is trying to build something at 4-3, and if they want to take a nice step forward, they need to beat teams they should beat. And God knows, they should beat New jersey. Beating the Celtics at home is awesome, but only if you follow it up with something affirming. Otherwise it’s like winning an Oscar then starring in Kangaroo Jack 2: More Animals In Hoodies.  New Jersey, on the other hand, needs mercy. Sweet merciful victory. This team has visited all the stores in the Mall of Losing and has its hands full with bags. The credit cards are maxed out. They’ve had the blowouts, the close-but-not-close-enough, the nailbiter, the collapse, and the “HOW IN HOLY HELL DID WADE HIT THAT?” So they’re at critical mass right now. If they keep losing, they may end up detonating and destroying much of the East coast. We’re not sure but we think they may have already infected the Celtics with poor defense. CDR should be back to healthy, and Brook Lopez versus Hibbert should be a grace versus mass ballet. This one might be interesting.

Reservoir Dogs versus Inglorious Basterds

Thunder at Heat, 7:30PM EST

That’s all I can think about with these two. The Heat very much seem like a crew of mercenaries brought together. Cold, calculating, professional. Nicely dressed. I can see Wade holding QRich’s hand as he’s dying and having him tell him he’s a cop.  Meanwhile, the Thunder are young, committed, and slightly suicidal. Russell Westbrook often gets himself into trouble and has to be bailed out, and the bigs just seem to do the dirty work all the live long day. I like this matchup on a lot of levels. Harden will play good defense (as well as you can against Wade), Chalmers versus Westbrook is going to be a pissing contest, and Durant has a prime opportunity to dominate Beasley and send a message. Even Etan Thomas versus Jermaine O’Neal has a certain level of cultural relevance to it. Bruises, blood, and gunpowder people. Tune in.

Let’s Just Say I Wish The Organizers Of This Event Were Pro-Choice

Clippers at Hornets, SUCK O’CLOCK

I kind of feel like all this talk about the Clippers is a little disingenuous. I’m just as excited as anyone about Griffin getting back in a few weeks, but until then, I’m not getting excited about this team being “not that bad” at 4-7. They have Kaman, Camby, Davids, and Gordon. They’re not supposed to suck. Congratulations for not being as bad as… the Hornets! Woo! Because, God, without Paul, do the Hornets suck. Eric Gordon versus Marcus Thornton should be entertaining, but other than that, the Clips roll. And just think about that for a second.

Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrells

Suns at Rockets, 8:30PM EST

There are a million reasons to watch this game. Both teams try exceedingly hard. Both teams are fun to watch. Aaron Brooks is fast, but Steve Nash is a Godd*mn Jedi. Ariza hasn’t been terrible, but Richardson hasn’t been human. Grant Hill is smart, crafty, and talented. Shane Battier is smart, crafty, and talented. Amare has star power, Luis Scola has grease power. And at one point tonight, Louis Amundson will be faced up against David Anderson. Watch it, DVR it, soak it in. SOAK IT IN LIKE A LIMEJUICE BATH!

Why Does The Welcome Mat Say “DIE” On It?

Raps at Nuggs, 9PM EST

Because the Nuggets’ home is a slaughterhouse. The Raptors can’t defend anyone, particularly small forwards, and the Nuggets have the best in the game. They have more size, they have more speed, they have more intensity… basically the only way Toronto’s getting out of this thing alive is if Bargnani is able to use his range against Denver’s bigs and Jose Calderon has the game of his life. Tough sledding up in the Rockies.

The Nocioni Waltz

Chi-Town at Sactown, 10PM EST

Rose versus ‘Reke I. Forget the rest of it, tune in for this. Reke’s got several inches on Rose, but Rose has another year of experience and more burst. Noah versus Hawes is going to be like the Democratic protests outside the Republican convention if the barricades broke. But Rose versus ‘Reke is really the matchup, and it’s hard to say who’ll win. The Bulls may end up sicking Hinrich on Evans, since they need the size, but Beno’s not a small dude so it creates issues either way. Going to be a low-scoring but entertaining, fast affair.

Growing Pains

Detroit at LA Lakers, 10:30PM EST

The Lakers’ ridiculous homestand continues with an undersized, outmatched, but plucky Detroit team coming in. That’s really the difference between this year and year’s past. They used to be gritty, now they’re plucky. It’s like going from Castlevania to Kerby. In this scenario, Ben Gordon swallows possessions whole and absorbs their power. Lakers get back on track tonight.

Matt Moore

Matt Moore is a Senior NBA Blogger for CBSSports.com's Eye on Basketball blog, weekend editor of Pro Basketball Talk on NBCSports.com, and co-editor of Voice on the Floor. He lives in Kansas City due to an unbelievably complex set of circumstances and enjoys mid-90's pop rock, long walks on the beach and the novels of Tim Sandlin.