The Look Ahead for March 23


Our nightly look ahead to the schedule with a couple of notes and story lines so you can plan out your NBA viewing.  All Times Eastern.

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8:30  Dallas Mavericks @ San Antonio Spurs (NBALP)

So this should be another thrilling chapter in the Spurs-Mavs rivalry. With San Antonio down in the season-series to Dallas, winning tonight in San Antonio will not only even things up but send a message to Dallas that the Spurs reign supreme in Texas. However, San Antonio will have to play without the services of all-star point guard Tony Parker (hamstring). As for the Mavs, taking the season-series from the Spurs will give them comfort that they can beat the men in black should these two teams meet in the Western Conference playoffs. For a complete preview, check out Project Spurs.

8:00  Boston Celtics @ Philadelphia 76ers (ESPN) 

This should be a great game between two Eastern Conference powers. Boston is hanging on to the seventh seed in the East while Philly is fourthin the East standings. If Boston wants to avoid a first round date with Miami or Chicago, they will have to get every win to supplant either the Hawks or Pacers. To make matters worse for Boston, Philly easily dispatch the Celtics earlier this season. However the same goes for Philly. They will have to maintain their lead over Boston to also avoid a first round date with Miami or Chicago. For a complete preview, check out Red’s Army

Other story lines for tonight

7:00  New York-Toronto: Will the Knicks go 6-0 under Mike Woodson? Against the Raptors they should.

7:00  Milwaukee-Charlotte: Anyone giving the Bobcats a shot against a Bucks team with Jennings, Ellis, Eastern Conference Player of the Week Gooden? Yeah, didn’t think so.

7:00 Cleveland-Orlando: Though the Cavs may be sitting at the bottom of the East, they are still a scrappy team and could give Orlandosome fits tonight. And if the Magic should lose at home tonight to the lowly Cavs, wonder how well that will sit with Dwight Howard as he has one more year to think about his future with the Magic.

7:00 Phoenix-Indiana: Indiana is chasing the 76ers for a shot at home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs. Every win counts in this stretch-run for the Pacers and tonight’s meeting with the Suns is much more important to them that it is for the Suns who are out of the playoff race.

7:30 New Jersey-Atlanta: At this point for the Nets, they just want the season to be over. Deron Williams‘ future in NJ remains to be seen, and the team lost out on a shot at adding Howard. For Atlanta, they need to get as many wins and hope some luck falls their way to secure home court advantage. Currently, the Hawks are fifth in the East standings and are one-and-a-half games behind the 76ers for fourth place.

7:30 Miami-Detroit: Yeah, good luck Pistons.

8:00 Minnesota-Oklahoma City: Despite losing Ricky Rubio for the season, tonight’s TWolves-Thunder game should still prove entertaining. These two young teams will get up-and-down the court and pour in the points.

10:30 Denver-Utah. Well this should be an interesting game. Utah is surging right now and are on a 4-game winning streak, however, they remain out of the playoff picture in the West. Denver clings to the seventh seed, holding a one-and-a-half game lead on the Jazz. This is an important game for both teams.

10:30 PortlandLos Angeles Lakers: While the Blazers may have mailed it in on the season, the Lakers still have things to prove. LA is sitting third in the West despite having to deal with trade rumors, losing mainstay Derek Fisher, and adding Ramon Sessions. In the end, this should still prove to be a fun game to catch.