Five matchups to look forward to on Monday’s NBA schedule…
Blazers @ Cavs: Brandon Roy vs. LeBron James
As is usually the case when two stars line up on opposite sides, B-Roy (19.7 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 5.8 apg) and ‘Bron (30.9 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 7.4 apg) likely won’t guard each other most of the time. But if the game gets close going down the stretch, they’ll lock up head-to-head. The last time that happened, LeBron dusted Roy on a drive leading to a game-winning bucket, capping a 37-point, 14-rebound performance that far outshined Roy’s 16 points, 7 boards and 8 assists. That was also around the time when Roy was still being mentioned as an MVP candidate, before LeBron (along with Kobe) distanced himself from the rest of the League.
Nets @ Rockets: Vince Carter vs. Tracy McGrady
As the Rockets go for their 19th win in a row, the only thing standing in their way is the possibility of Vince (20.5 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 5.1 apg) going off for one of his occasional scoring explosions. He’s had seven games of 30-plus points, however, the Nets — who have lost five games in a row — are only 4-3 in those contests. McGrady (22 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 5.7 apg) has elevated himself into the MVP discussion in the last five weeks, and his last time out dumped 41 points on the Hornets. With no Yao Ming and no interior presence for the Nets, this game will be strictly decided by the perimeter players.
Nuggets @ Spurs: Allen Iverson vs. Manu Ginobili
As good as the Nuggets looked in snapping San Antonio’s 11-game win streak over the weekend, they looked as bad in giving up 132 points to the Jazz in their next game. This could come down to a shootout between A.I. (26.8 ppg, 7.3 apg, 1.9 spg) and Manu (20.7 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 4.5 apg), but will ultimately be determined by how the Nuggets defend.
Celtics @ Sixers: Rajon Rondo vs. Andre Miller
Rondo is everything that ‘Dre Miller is not, and vice versa. Rondo’s (10.6 ppg, 5.1 apg, 1.7 spg) got the speed and the hops and the loads of talented scorers around him to rack up assists while he still learns the NBA game. Miller (16.8 ppg, 6.8 apg) is lacking in athleticism but is one of the smartest, savviest PG’s in the game; which is why he’s putting up better assist numbers despite not having nearly as much talent around him.
Knicks @ Mavs: Isiah Thomas vs. Avery Johnson
The most detail-oriented coach in the NBA versus a guy who pretty much just sits (or stands) there for 48 minutes wearing a blank stare on his face. And the detail-oriented guy has three legit All-Stars at his disposal, while the blank-stare guy could be missing his top four scorers due to injury. Oh, and the game is at the detail-oriented guy’s home court, while the blank-stare guy’s team has lost four road games by an average of more than 23 points per. What do you think is gonna happen?