While many (myself included) will describe NBA Christmas as the best day for regular season basketball, MLK Day comes in at a close second. Multiple playoff teams play each other, and some always have a bigger picture at stake. For instance, a certain team playing early today should hope to lose to improve draft positioning, whereas the game right after will feature two teams vying for the 8 seed in the playoffs. There is so much to get into, and so little time, so we should probably go in order of TV air times right?
12:30pm = Thunder-Knicks
As stated earlier, the first game, while shaping to be a blowout, does have a lot of implications for the future. Paul George can slightly let off the pedal of his dual MVP/DPotY race since there is not a single talented players stepping on the court wearing a Knicks jersey. Russ can easily get his triple-double average he desperately craves. Most importantly, Enes Kanter will again enjoy the satisfaction of riding the bench and eating to put on size to rival future teammate Zion Williamson. However, much like football, this is a trap game. If the Thunder let off the pedal too much, the Knicks do have the firepower to score themselves back into the game. For the Knicks, while they may WISH they want to win, they should remember that they don’t WANT to win. It would be better for both teams if the Thunder won, which I predict they will do.
5:30pm = Pelicans-Grizzlies
As stated earlier, this is a fight for the 8th seed in the playoffs. While I fully expect Anthony Davis to dominate the aging Marc Gasol, I do not think Jrue will be able to best Mike Conley. With that push between the two stars, this means that the fight will occur with the rest of both team’s lineups. Both teams are defensive juggernauts, but which sideshow duo (Moore-Randle vs. Anderson-Jackson, Jr.) will be able to overpower the other to help secure the win?
Who knows, but it should be interesting to see. Both team’s fates are intertwined to the outcome of this game since the trade deadline is fast approaching. Maybe a loss convinces one team it is time to cut ties with an All-Star? Gimme the Pels though over the Griz in this one (sorry @soft7juice).
8:00pm = Rockets-76ers
This is the PPV (not to be confused with POV) of the night for sure. You cannot miss the culmination of Harden’s INSANE stretch be dethroned by the 76ers. While I do not believe the Rockets with Capela and Paul can topple an Embiid-Butler-Simmons 76ers, I do believe that Harden will shot/score enough to keep them in the picture. I can’t wait to watch all the iso ball that will go on in this game, and I will for sure LOVE the fact that Butler will be guarding Harden for the majority of this game. I might even make popcorn. I got the 76ers in this one.
10:30pm = Warriors-Lakers
For what looked like a marque matchup at the beginning of the season, a LeBron-less Lakers don’t fan my flames as much as it may for some. I will go ahead and get this out of the way now:
– the Warriors are gonna kill the Lakers
– Kuzma will be the best player to don the purple and gold tonight
– Ingram will suck
I can’t wait til LeBron is back because watching the Lakers without him is like watching a train go off the rails. Never forget Laker fans didn’t even want him, and they are now begging for him to return.