The Toronto Raptors won 12 games in a row, which set a new franchise record, but the Indiana Pacers are trying to avenge a 1-point loss from Wednesday evening. Rookie sensation, Ja Morant, and the Memphis Grizzlies are running hot since New Year’s Eve with a 13-4 record in 2020. Meanwhile, Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans play once this weekend, so you have a chance to catch Zion Mania on Saturday night.
Philadelphia 76ers big man, Joel Embiid, might have been picked first for Team Giannis in the 2020 All-Star Game, but right now he’s trying to get the sluggish Sixers back on track after a four-game losing streak.
The Milwaukee Bucks have the best record in the NBA and they’re also the most dangerous team on the road with a 20-4 away record. The high-flying Bucks head to the land of Disney World to take on Nikola Vucevic and the Orlando Magic.
Friday, Feb. 7
Memphis Grizzlies at Philadelphia 76ers
Toronto Raptors at Indiana Pacers
Saturday, Feb. 8
Milwaukee Bucks at Orlando Magic
New Orleans Pelicans at Indiana Pacers
Sunday, Feb. 9
Boston Celtics at Oklahoma City Thunder
Utah Jazz at Houston Rockets
The Eastern Conference is somewhat shallow once you get past the top six teams. The seventh and eighth seeds in the east have sub-500 records. That includes the inconsistent Brooklyn Nets (23-27) in the #7 spot and the (shrug emoji) Orlando Magic (22-30) in the #8 slot.
Kemba Walker missed the last three games for the Boston Celtics, but they haven’t skipped a beat by winning five straight games.
The Utah Jazz and Houston Rockets have a fun throwdown scheduled for Sunday. The Utah Jazz are ensconced in a five-game losing streak, which they hope to break against the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night. They then have a tough road game on Sunday when they visit James Harden and the Houston Rockets.
NBA Friday: Philly and Indy Skids, Ja Rising
Memphis Grizzlies (26-25) at Philadelphia 76ers (31-21)…. The Sixers are 22-2 at home, but can’t win a game on the road with an anemic 9-19 record. Ben Simmons called out his teammates for being soft. Maybe they shouldn’t have let Jimmy Butler head south to Miami. They could use Jimmy B’s hard edge right now. The Sixers allow 106.2 points per game, which is the fifth-worst in the NBA. Joel Embiid and the Sixers are out of sync with an 8-10 record over their last 18 games. Luckily, they’re unbeatable at home. Ja Morant and the Grizzlies elevated their game in 2020 with a 13-4 clip since January 1. The Griz are finally over .500 after winning six out of their last seven games. Memphis is looking good with the #8 playoff seed in the west.
Toronto Raptors (37-14) at Indiana Pacers (31-20)… The defending champs head to Indiana to take on Victor Oladipo and the Pacers. The Raptors seek to extend their win streak to 13 straight victories. They barely edged out the Pacers on Wednesday with a 119-118 victory. On the flip side, the Pacers want to snap a three-game skid. The Pacers are bogged down in a rough patch with 3-5 record over their previous eight games. Oladipo is still shaking off the rust after missing a full year of action. He finally returned to the starting lineup, but he’s only averaging 9.5 ppg since his return. In the meantime, the Pacers will lean on Domantas Sabonis (18.3 ppg, 9.4 rebounds), who posted a triple-double in the previous loss to the Raptors.
NBA Saturday: Saturday Night Zion
Milwaukee Bucks (44-7) at Orlando Magic (22-30)… The Bucks are 20-4 on the road this season, which marks the top away record in the NBA. The Greek Freak is ranked #2 in scoring in the NBA averaging 30.1 ppg. He’s fifth overall in rebounding with 13.4 boards per game. The Magic are eight games under .500, yet that’s still good enough to qualify for the postseason. If you didn’t know, the Magic have the best defense in the league, allowing only 104.8 points per game. They must rely on defense to keep them in games because they struggle to score with the second-worst offense in the NBA, averaging just 103.3 points per game. Nikola Vucevic (18.8 ppg, 10.8 rebounds) continues to play in obscurity in central Florida.
New Orleans Pelicans (21-31) at Indiana Pacers (31-20)… The Pelicans are catching the Pacers on the second-night of a back-to-back after the Pacers have a tough matchup against the Raptors. The Pelicans score a lot (115.1 ppg or #6 in NBA), but they also give up a lot of points (117.2 ppg or #3 worst defense). Only eight games into his rookie season, Zion Williamson (19.9 ppg, 7.5 rebounds) is almost averaging 20 points per night.
NBA Sunday: Bad Jazz, Kemba Returns?
Boston Celtics (35-15) at Oklahoma City Thunder (31-20)… The Thunder currently occupy the #6 seed in the west, but they’ve won eight out of their previous 10 games. The Celtics are the third-best team in the east behind the unstoppable Bucks and the smoking hot Raptors. Kemba Walker (knee) is expected to play this weekend against the Thunder, but in his absence, Jayson Tatum stepped up. Tatum averaged 28.7 ppg in February. He recently unleashed a 33-point game against the Magic.
Utah Jazz (32-18) at Houston Rockets (33-18)… The Jazz are slumping with a five-game losing streak. The Jazz had won 10 in a row, and went 14-1 before their recent setback. They recently slipped to the #5 seed in the west, while the Rockets snagged the #4 spot. The Jazz are one of the better defensive teams again this season. They are ranked #6 overall, allowing 106.9 points per game. Donovan Mitchell (24.5 ppg) leads the Jazz in scoring, while Bojan Bogdanovic (21.1 ppg) has been shooting lights out. The Jazz added Jordan Clarkson to provide a third scoring option. He averaged 15.1 ppg since joining the Jazz from the last-place Cleveland Cavs.