Weekends mean a lot of things to a lot of people. They are a time to spend with friends and loved ones, and a chance to unwind. But weekends are, most importantly, a time to watch a whole lot of basketball, and this weekend has plenty of it to look forward to. These are the best games in the NBA this weekend, and feature a key test in the Western Conference, as well as an interesting entanglement of subplots in the Eastern Conference and a battle between teams on opposite ends of the NBA spectrum.
San Antonio Spurs vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
This battle of Western Conference titans is important for so many reasons, and will most likely be a preview of the Western Conference semifinals with the Spurs currently sitting in second place in the conference and the Thunder in third position. A win here would be a huge boost for the victorious team with the playoffs so close to being underway, as that team will have confidence against the other side with a recent win fresh in their minds.
Between the two teams, though, this game is much more important to the Thunder than it is the Spurs for a few reasons. First, the Spurs are ahead of the Thunder in the conference standings by a comfortable margin, so a loss doesn’t hurt San Antonio as much as it hurts Oklahoma City. On top of that, though, this game is in Oklahoma City, and winning their home games against the Spurs in the playoffs will be essential for the Thunder to have a chance to move past the Spurs and into the Western Conference Finals.
Cleveland Cavaliers vs. New York Knicks
What makes this game so interesting isn’t necessarily what happens on the court, but rather what happens in the crowd, as this game could very well serve as a sales pitch to LeBron James to join the Knicks at the end of this season. LeBron James’ alleged disdain for his team in Cleveland has resulted in rumors that he wants to leave the Cavaliers yet again at the end of this season, and the Knicks would certainly love to have him. There aren’t many more attractive destinations in which to play basketball than New York, so it will be interesting to see how all parties handle the situation.
On the floor, the Cavaliers should easily make the NBA Finals, but their chemistry and ability to execute as a team has been inconsistent and questionable, so a win in this game is far from guaranteed. The Knicks, meanwhile, just scored back to back wins over the Chicago Bulls, so maybe they have turned a corner in their form this year.
Philadelphia 76ers vs. Golden State Warriors
This shouldn’t be a good basketball game, but it will certainly be an interesting one as the NBA-worst Sixers take on the defending NBA champion Warriors. Perhaps the most interesting thing to watch in this game is whether or not Warriors coach Steve Kerr allows some time for his star players such as Steph Curry and Klay Thompson to rest in this game, as they shouldn’t be needed to get a win over Philadelphia and to get one win closer to breaking the single season wins record in NBA history.
By: Jason M. Sanin