The NBA schedule this weekend is thin on Super Bowl Sunday, but stacked on Saturday including a sizzling-hot Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavs continuing their domination of the LA Clippers, the Brooklyn Nets attempting to end their 10-game losing streak when they head to Miami, and the best team in the NBA hosts the worst team when the Orlando Magic visit the Phoenix Suns.
With Super Bowl 56 on the slate for Sunday and the Winter Olympics going on in China, it would be easy to overlook the NBA this weekend. NBA suits knew it would be difficult to compete with the Big Game, which is why they scheduled only two games on Sunday.
The NBA trade deadline is finally over and everyone can stop worrying about if they’ll get traded. This weekend will also be the first chance fans can watch newly-traded players in action, like James Harden and Ben Simmons with their new respective teams.
NBA Friday: Harden’s First Game in Philly?
Charlotte Hornets (28-28) at Detroit Pistons (12-43)… The Hornets are in the middle of a six-game losing streak and slipped to the #9 seed in the Eastern Conference, which is why they cannot afford to lose this road game against a basement dweller like the Pistons.
Oklahoma City Thunder (17-37) at Philadelphia 76ers (32-22)… Could this be the first game where Harden suits up for his new team since the 76ers traded Ben Simmons to Brooklyn in exchange for Harden? If so, all eyes will be on this game to see how the Beard meshes with Joel Embiid and his new squad. The Thunder are actually the third-best betting team in the NBA despite their horrendous record with a 32-19-3 ATS clip.
NBA Saturday: Doncic Owns the Clippers
Memphis Grizzlies (39-18) at Charlotte Hornets (28-28)… LaMelo Ball and the Hornets host the high-flying Ja Morant and the Grizzlies. The Grizzlies are 38-19 ATS as the best betting team in the NBA. The Hornets are one of the worst teams in the NBA when they play the second game of a back-to-back. The Hornets are 1-9 straight up and 3-7 ATS in back-to-back spots.
Denver Nuggets (30-24) at Toronto Raptors (31-23)… The Raptors are the hottest team in the NBA right now while riding the crest of an eight-game winning streak. The pesky Raptors ascended from the back of the playoff pack to the rabid chase pack and find themselves just four games out of first place in the top-heavy Eastern Conference. Nikola Jokic (25.8 points, 13.6 rebounds, 7.9 assists) is a one-man wrecking crew with the Nuggets and Canadian fans will get a chance to see the Joker put on a show.
Brooklyn Nets (29-26) at Miami Heat (36-20)… Could this be the triumphant return of Ben Simmons with his first game with the Nets since his trade to Brooklyn? The Nash need all hands on deck to get off the schneid to end their ugliest stretch of the season with a 10-game losing streak.
LA Clippers (27-30) at Dallas Mavs (33-23)… Doncic dropped a career-high 51 points for the Mavs last night against the Clippers. The Mavs gets another crack on Saturday, and no one destroys a single team in the NBA more than Doncic owns the Clippers the last couple of seasons.
Orlando Magic (13-43) at Phoenix Suns (45-10)… It’s the best of times and the worst of times. The Suns had an 11-game winning streak end last week, but they bounced right back and won four in a row. The Magic were the worst team in the NBA in the first half of the season, but they finally reached double digits in wins.