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Here’s a look at the best battles in the National Basketball Association this week.
Friday, Jan. 17 at 9:30 p.m. ET
The highlight of a Trail Blazers-Mavericks matchup comes down to two names: Damian Lillard and Luka Doncic. The Blazers have been struggling, but Lillard has been a major bright spot, putting up the best numbers of his career. On the other side, Doncic and his Giant Guy Energy has been getting manhandled on the court, but despite the referees’ continued non-calls, Doncic just keeps producing. Lillard vs. Doncic is what the NBA was made for.
Saturday, Jan. 18 at 8:30 p.m. ET
The Lakers have been dominating the competition lately. They’re on an eight-game winning streak that includes two victories over the Mavericks, and they’ve played the last two games without Anthony Davis, who is recovering from a bruised tailbone. The Rockets, who have recent losses to the Warriors and Pelicans, have a tall mountain to climb to beat them. They can do it, though. Never underestimate James Harden and Russell Westbrook — even against LeBron James.
Saturday, Jan. 18 at 3:30 p.m. ET
The last time the Clippers and Pelicans faced off, the Clippers demoralized the Pels 134-109. That was the second game of what would become a 13-game losing streak for the Pelicans, but they’ve majorly turned things around. In the last month they’ve more than doubled their win total, going from 6 to 14, while losing just four games in that span. Zion Williamson’s still not back, but this isn’t the same team Kawhi Leonard and Paul George faced in late November. The Pelicans want revenge, and they just might get it.
Saturday, Jan. 18 at 6:00 p.m. ET
Four words: Kyrie Irving is back. The Nets star recently returned after missing 26 games and it’s like he never left. The Nets have struggled, but Kyrie could right the ship. He’ll be tested almost immediately with a contest against the NBA-best Bucks, who have six total losses and look nearly flawless on the court. Irving had no trouble getting back into his flow during his first game back, but the Bucks and Giannis Antetokounmpo will try as hard as they can to keep him out of rhythm.
Monday, Jan. 20 at 7:30 p.m. ET
Anthony Davis’s bruised tailbone might be healed just in time for the Lakers to take on the Celtics, another matchup of the NBA’s best teams. This is the first time the Lakers and Celtics have faced off this season, and it’s poised to be a barn burner. Both teams are at or near the top of their conferences, and with the long, deep rivalry between them, any game between them is a must-watch.