Can Cleveland beat LeBron James?
by Adi Joseph, USA TODAY Sports
A quick look at the 11-game NBA schedule for Wednesday, March 20, ranking each contest by watchability (all times p.m. Eastern):
MUST-WATCH: Miami Heat (52-14) at Cleveland Cavaliers (22-45), 7
At this point, the Heat are must-watch every game. They have won 23 in a row, the second-longest streak in NBA history, and now they head to Cleveland, where star LeBron James made his name then turned his back. You might have heard about it. But the Cavaliers are 1-8 against the Heat in the past three seasons, since The Decision. This one would be particularly sweet, but Cleveland’s two best players, Kyrie Irving and Anderson Varejao, are out for the season. In other words, don’t expect the streak to end. Watch because it’s compelling and historic.
2. Oklahoma City Thunder (50-18) at Memphis Grizzlies (45-21), 8
These teams are involved in tight, crucial seeding wars entering the Western Conference playoffs. The Thunder, who fell at home Tuesday, want the top seed because the No. 8 seed likely will be playing worse basketball than the No. 7 seed, given how close that race remains. The Grizzlies, who were on a roll before losing two tough road games in a row, want the third seed because the West has five elite teams, and the teams in fourth and fifth will have to play each other. Memphis may have the best defense in the NBA, while Oklahoma City may have the best offense. This is March basketball, done professionally.
3. Utah Jazz (34-33) at Houston Rockets (36-31), 8
While the Thunder and Grizzlies fight for seeding, these teams are scrapping just to make the playoffs, particularly as each comes off a loss.
4. Golden State Warriors (39-30) at San Antonio Spurs (51-16), 8:30
The Spurs never fade. Their four best players all have missed substantial time this season, and it hasn’t mattered. And Tony Parker is nearing his comeback.
5. Brooklyn Nets (39-28) at Dallas Mavericks (32-35), 8, ESPN
When ESPN scheduled this game ahead of all the others before it, they imagined two playoff-bound teams with a natural rivalry between their owners and tension from … [For more on Tonight's NBA schedule: Can Cleveland beat LeBron James?, click here.]