The NBA loves to hype a game with two of its young superstars, which is why Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks versus the Greek Freak and Milwaukee Bucks will be must-see TV on Friday evening. The Denver Nuggets and Utah Jazz meet in a rematch of their epic Western Conference playoffs matchup from last summer in which the Nugs prevailed in seven games after the Jazz blew a 3-1 series lead.
Meanwhile, the Philadelphia 76ers are looking to become the first team in the Eastern Conference to secure 10 wins. The LA Lakers were the first team in the league to reach 10 wins this season.
The New York Knicks drew a lot of attention for their great start. However, they’ve now dropped four in a row and bogged down in an ugly losing streak, which looks like it could keep going for a couple more games unless they can bypass the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday and the Boston Celtics on Sunday.
- Orlando Magic (6-5) at Boston Celtics (7-3)
- Dallas Mavericks (6-4) at Milwaukee Bucks (8-4)
- Orlando Magic (6-5) at Brooklyn Nets (7-6)
- Philadelphia 76ers (9-4) at Memphis Grizzlies (5-6)
- Charlotte Hornets (6-7) at Toronto Raptors (3-8)
- New York Knicks (5-7) at Boston Celtics (7-3)
- Utah Jazz (7-4) at Denver Nuggets (5-6)
- Indiana Pacers (7-4) at LA Clippers (8-4)
The Utah Jazz and Denver Nuggets slugged it out in a seven-game playoff series punctuated by a fierce matchup between Denver’s Jamal Murray and Utah’s Donovan “Spida” Mitchell. Denver’s defense will be tasked with slowing down Utah’s difficult three-guard attack led by Spida, Jordan Clarkson, and Mike Conley.
Friday: Luka vs Greek Freak
Orlando Magic (6-5) at Boston Celtics (7-3)… The Celtics will hit the hardwood for the first time in a week on Friday. They missed three games due to COVID-19 outbreaks and protocols, including a game against the Orlando Magic on Wednesday. It’s the JT and JB Show in Beantown. Jayson Tatum leads the Celtics with 26.9 ppg, followed by Jaylen Brown (26.3 ppg). Rookie Payton Pritchard comes off the bench as Boston’s fourth leading-scoring (8.6 ppg) in just 22 minutes per game. After a 4-0 start, the Magic are 2-5 in their last seven games. They’re also in the middle of a three-game skid after losing Markelle Fultz.
Dallas Mavericks (6-4) at Milwaukee Bucks (8-4)… After a 2-4 start, the Mavericks won four in a row, including a thrilling overtime victory over Denver last week. Kristaps Porzingis scored 16 points in his season debut. The Unicorn only played 21 minutes since coming back from knee surgery. Luka Doncic is ranked #5 in the NBA in scoring, averaging 27.4 points, 9.6 rebounds, and 8.3 assists per game. After a 2-3 start, the Milwaukee Bucks went 6-1 including winning three in a row. The Greek Freak leads Milwaukee with 26.2 points, 10.1 rebounds, and 5.5 assists per game. Jrue Holiday has slowly adjusted to his new team, and is now the third-leading scorer (15.2 ppg).
Saturday: Sixers Seek 10th Win, Harden Debut?
Orlando Magic (6-5) at Brooklyn Nets (7-6)… The Magic are in a tough spot with back-to-back road games against solid teams. Big man Nikola Vucevic leads the Magic with 22.5 points and 11.3 rebounds per game. The Brooklyn Nets saw their NBA Championship odds jump after snagging James Harden. There’s also a big question mark about Kyrie Irving’s availability. Irving missed over a week of action due to personal reasons. The Nets still have KD though, who leads Brooklyn with 29.4 ppg and 7.2 rebounds per game. Harden is expected to make his debut with the Nets on Saturday night.
Charlotte Hornets (6-7) at Toronto Raptors (3-8)… Keep an eye on this game. These two teams played on Thursday night in Tampa (the current home of the Toronto Raptors) and the Hornets lost when a buzzer-shot by PJ Washington came up short. The Hornets played that game without Gordon Hayward, who is listed as day-to-day with a hip injury. The Raptors came into Thursday’s game as one of the worst teams in the NBA, but saved face with a big win to get off the schneid.
Philadelphia 76ers (9-4) at Memphis Grizzlies (5-6)… The Sixers are on the cusp of hitting the 10-win mark. The Grizzlies don’t have their star playmaker, Ja Morant, who will be out for at least another two weeks recovering from a severe ankle sprain. Joe Embiid had a monster game the other night with 45 points and 16 rebounds in an overtime victory over the Miami Heat.
Sunday: Jazz/Nugs Rematch, Pacers/Clips
New York Knicks (5-7) at Boston Celtics (7-3)… Remember that 48-hour period when every NBA writer (points finger at self) penned a think piece on the rising Knicks? Yikes! Since then, the Knicks went 0-4 with a couple of ugly wins, including three-straight double-digit losses against OKC, Denver, and Charlotte. Julius Randle continues to be the Alpha in NYC, averaging 22.8 points and 10.8 rebounds. He’s fresh off a 30-point night in a heartbreaking loss to the Brooklyn Nets.
Indiana Pacers (7-4) at LA Clippers (8-4)… The Indiana Pacers are a team in flux after they were one of the “other teams” involved in a four-team trade that sent James Harden to the Brooklyn Nets. The Pacers sent Victory Oladipo to the Houston Rockets, but in exchange, the Pacers secured Caris LeVert from the Nets. LeVert (18.5 points, 6.0 assists, 4.3 rebounds) emerged as a Sixth Man of the Year candidate by coming off the bench for Brooklyn. He unleashed five consecutive 20-point games, including torching the Memphis Grizzlies for 43 points last weekend.
Utah Jazz (7-4) at Denver Nuggets (5-6)… This is a rematch of a juicy postseason matchup and battle between Donovan “Spida” Mitchell and Jamal Murray (19.5 ppg). It would be fun to see those two guards go back-and-forth again like they did in the NBA Bubble in Orlando this past summer. Nikola Jokic (24.2 ppg, 11.2 rebounds, 10.4 assists) is averaging a triple-double in nearly have the games this season (five thru 11). His stats will certainly boost his efforts for an MVP award. Jokic attempts to become the first big man since Wilt Chamberlin to lead the league in assists.