Heat @ Pistons: This is the first measuring stick for Miami this season: facing the Pistons. Pat Riley wouldn’t have made all those trades had he not thought that they would push his team significantly past Detroit. If the Heat lose in Detroit, it won’t be the end of the world. But if they can at least contend throughout the game, then they’ll show everyone that they are on par with the Pistons and that they will compete against Detroit in the postseason.
Sonics @ Nuggets: Both teams certainly can score (although neither is as prolific at it than they were last year) although they have problems defending, especially the Sonics. This game will be particularly fun to watch, since scoring is always up in Denver and both teams love to score. Seattle can’t win with Vitaly Potapenko at Center. Denver can’t win with Greg Buckner at Small Forward. The GM’s may decide the teams’ fates more than the players.
Hornets @ Spurs: It’s unknown for sure, but this could be Manu Ginobili’s first game back. Even without him it’s a bigtime Spurs win. The Hornets are young and will be thoroughly outclassed in this one. San Antonio lost at home to Chicago mainly because they were complacent coming into the game. This is a division team they’re facing, they’re more accustomed to Oklahoma City and will show up better in this game.
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