The NBA returns on Tuesday night, as three games hit the hardwood to tip off the 2014-15 season. The action gets started with two games set for 8:00 pm Eastern, followed by a potentially epic clash between the Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Lakers at 10:30 pm.

To get the ball rolling for the new NBA season, let’s quickly preview and pick each of the three NBA contests for Tuesday:

Dallas Mavericks @ San Antonio Spurs

San Antonio has the home court advantage and will have their big three to get the season started, but they will also be down Patty Mills, Tiago Splitter and Kawhi Leonard. That definitely negatively impacts how they can play defense, while it could also hurt them on offense down low. On the flip side, Dallas played the Spurs well in the first round of the playoffs last year and brought in Chandler Parsons, Tyson Chandler and Jameer Nelson. Needless to say, they’re much improved and could be a real threat for the upset as the 2014-15 NBA season tips off.

Pick: Mavericks 98, Spurs 95

Orlando Magic @ New Orleans Pelicans

Orlando comes into this one a little depleted, as star guard Victor Oladipo is out with a facial fracture. That means added pressure on rookie point guard Elfrid Payton, as well as the rest of the Magic. That’s bad news for a Magic squad that has lost 49 of their last 53 on the road. They could still give the Pellies a fight, but New Orleans is healthy and seems to have the inside, outside attack to be a much improved team this year.

Pick: Pelicans 101, Magic 88

Houston Rockets @ Los Angeles Lakers

The capper for tonight’s opening slate of games could be an epic clash at the Staples Center, or it could be over before half-time. It all depends on just how much Kobe Bryant has left, as he’ll try to group his band of misfits together and make the Lake Show a serious playoff contender from day one. L.A. has a ton of injuries and wasn’t scary to begin with, so the only real edge they have here is that they’re at home. That may not be enough to upend James Harden and Dwight Howard tonight.

Pick: Rockets 111, Lakers 99

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