After two outstanding conference title games, we’re getting a break from football before The Big Game takes center stage. Thankfully, there’s plenty of great NBA action to keep us entertained this weekend.
Ready for some basketball bets? We’ve got all the latest news and angles you should know for 76ers vs. Mavericks, Knicks vs. Lakers, and Nets vs. Nuggets in this all-NBA edition of the Showstopper.
Philadelphia 76ers vs. Dallas Mavericks
Friday, February 4 | TV: ESPN
The Mavericks are coming off a tough 120-144 overtime loss to the Thunder. Luka Doncic scored 40 points in that game, one point short of his season high, to go along with 10 assists. The 76ers come into this road outing after winning seven of their last 10 games, with Joel Embiid racking up 30-point games with relative ease. In fact, he averaged 34 points per game and shot 54.2 percent from the field in January. The Mavs are 16-10 on their home court, while the 76ers are 17-9 on the road. Both of these squads have averaged a shade over 109 points per game over their last 10 games.
It hasn’t just been Embiid on a hot streak for the 76ers. Tobias Harris averaged 20.9 points and shot 53.5 percent over his last 10 games, and Tyrese Maxey shot 45.5 percent from the 3-point line in January. The Mavs have been tending to a number of injuries, including Kristaps Porzingis (bruised knee) and Tim Hardaway Jr. (fractured foot). Porzingis has already been ruled out and Hardaway will be out indefinitely after undergoing surgery. That means more work on the offensive end for Doncic, Jalen Brunson and Reggie Bullock. For the 76ers, Seth Curry remains questionable to play as he’s still dealing with back spasms.
New York Knicks vs. Los Angeles Lakers
Saturday, February 5 | TV: ABC
The Knicks are hobbling into a tough five-game road trip against Western Conference teams, beginning with this nationally televised battle against the Lakers. Overall, the Knickerbockers have lost seven of their last 10 games as they’ve struggled to find consistency on both ends of the court. The Lakers, meanwhile, haven’t looked much better, as they’ve only won four of their last 10 games. LeBron James continues to miss time due to left knee soreness and there’s been conflicting reports on how much longer he’ll be out. With King James missing in action, Anthony Davis has continued to dominate on-court usage rates, and Malik Monk has also seen an uptick in his touches, especially from beyond the arc.
One of the few bright spots for the Knicks has been the play of RJ Barrett, who averaged 21.8 points and shot 40.2 from long distance in January. There’s also a chance Julius Randle could be fired up to post a bigger performance against his former team in Los Angeles. One sleeper to watch is Mitchell Robinson, as the 7-footer quietly notched averages of 10.6 points and 9.1 rebounds in January. And with the Knicks’ backcourt defense failing to stop opposing guards, Russell Westbrook should have a bounce-back game after a dismal outing versus the Clippers.
Brooklyn Nets vs. Denver Nuggets
Sunday, February 6 | TV: NBA TV
The Nets are looking fragile lately without the MVP-caliber play of Kevin Durant. As KD recovers from a sprained MCL in his left knee, Brooklyn has dropped six straight games heading into the weekend, giving up 118 points per game during that stretch. The Nuggets are returning home this weekend after winning four on their six-game road trip, including a 124-118 win over these very Nets on January 26. In that contest, Nikola Jokic almost tallied a triple-double and Will Barton chipped in with a big 21-point performance. However, Kyrie Irving James Harden missed that game, so having them back on the court for the rematch will definitely change the dynamic. Irving will be eligible to play this time around since it’s a road game.
These two teams rank in the top half of the league in points scored per game, which could pave the way for a fast-paced showdown. LaMarcus Aldridge will miss the remainder of the Nets’ road trip due to a sprained ankle, which means a big uptick in minutes for Nic Claxton. The young power forward, who scored 23 points and blocked five shots in Wednesday’s defeat, has proven to be a much better option in protecting the paint than Blake Griffin.