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Here’s a look at the best battles in the National Basketball Association this week.
Wednesday, Jan. 1 at 7:30 p.m. ET
It hasn’t been a particularly great season for the New York Knicks thus far, but things are looking up. The Knicks come into Wednesday’s game on a two-game winning streak. In fact, after a miserable 10-game losing streak, the Knicks have bounced back to go 5-4 over their past 9 games. Maybe the team will continue that trend and kick off the new year in a positive fashion. New year, new Knicks? Their fans can dream.
Nets at Mavericks
Thursday, Jan. 2 at 8:30 p.m. ET
Luka Doncic is back, and that should share every team in the NBA. Doncic missed just four games due to his ankle injury and has not missed a beat in his time off. Doncic dropped 24 points on the San Antonio Spurs in his return and 31 points against the Golden State Warriors his next time out. Doncic has played MVP-caliber basketball this season, and will get a chance to continue that trend against the Brooklyn Nets, who have given up 111.0 points per game this season.
Friday, Jan. 3 at 10:30 p.m. ET
It shouldn’t be difficult to see the appeal in this one. The game marks the second time Anthony Davis will take on his former team. Davis went off in the first matchup, dropping 41 points on the New Orleans Pelicans. This time around, Davis will be playing at home, with the Lakers fans behind him. Is 50 points a possibility? 60? You can’t underestimate Davis’ desire for revenge.
Friday, Jan. 3 at 7:00 p.m. ET
The Boston Celtics and Washington Wizards have been polar opposites this season. The Celtics have a lock-down defense, allowing just 104 points per game. The Wizards, on the other hand, have been a sieve, giving up an NBA-high 121.5 points per game. To compensate, the Wizards have had to score a ton of points. The team’s 116.4 average ranks fourth in the NBA. Will Washington be able to score at will against one of the NBA’s best defenses?
Saturday, Jan. 4 at 6:00 p.m. ET
The Toronto Raptors and Brooklyn Nets both received makeovers in the offseason. Toronto’s came with in the form of a departure with Kawhi Leonard leaving to join the Los Angeles Clippers. The Nets saw an influx of talent, adding both Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant. Irving has put up strong numbers for his new team while Durant continues to recover from an Achilles injury. Though Leonard is gone, the Raptors continue to be a force in the East. It helps that Pascal Siakam has continued to develop after his breakout season. Taking down Irving and the Nets will only offer more proof that Siakam has turned himself into a superstar.