NBA Games of the Week 12/18-12/24
It is Christmas time and in the NBA, we have been given some awesome gifts already this year. Joel Embiid has stayed healthy and provided plenty of entertainment for us all. Just last week, he trolled Karl-Anthony Towns on Instagram and got into multiple verbal spats with Carmelo Anthony in an awesome triple overtime game. What’s even better is that he inspired Russell Westbrook to troll the troll at the end of the game. The standings look similar with Boston, Cleveland, and Toronto at the top of the standings in the East. The West is not much different with Houston, Golden State, and San Antonio maintaining their positioning. The bottom of the league has been shaken up as Nikola Mirotic has the Bulls thinking NBA Finals (just kidding) while they are in the midst of a 5 game winning streak. Let’s get to the games.
Monday December 18th
Golden State Warriors at Los Angeles Lakers (10:30PM EST)
This has to be the game due to the halftime ceremony for Kobe Bryant. I will go on the record and say I am not a Kobe Bryant fan, but it cannot be overstated how gifted of a player that he was. In typical Kobe fashion, he will get two jerseys retired and maybe he will cuss out his teammates for old time’s sake. Another great reason to watch this game is that the last encounter between these teams on November 29th went to overtime and was a really good game. You had Brandon Ingram playing a big game while Durant and Curry were big for the Warriors. There will be no Curry in this game and if the Lakers can get a win on Kobe’s jersey retirement night it would be big for the franchise.
Tuesday December 19th
Cleveland Cavaliers at Milwaukee Bucks (8:00PM EST)
The Cavaliers are already 2-0 over the Bucks and this would be a big win for the Bucks. The Bucks have been inconsistent and are currently on a 3 game losing streak after a 3 game winning streak. People would have you believe that Jason Kidd is on the hot seat, but it would be hard to believe that the Bucks would do that in the middle of the season. Eric Bledsoe has been good for the Bucks, but they seem to still be figuring things out. The Cavaliers have not looked back since their tough start. After a loss to the Pacers, they have rebounded and started a new winning streak that stands at 4. They are 17-1 in their last 18 games. Lebron has continued to be Lebron and if you have him, you are going to be alright.
Wednesday December 20th
Minnesota Timberwolves at Denver Nuggets (9:00 PM EST)
This will be the first meeting between these two teams and it could be vitally important for the playoff race. The Timberwolves are currently 4th in the West, while the Nuggets occupy the 6th spot. The Nuggets received some great news with the return of Nikola Jokic to the lineup on Friday in a win against the Pelicans. The Nuggets managed to go 2-3 without Jokic and with him back in the lineup they are ready to try and keep pace in the West. The Timberwolves have been very up and down and now that they are good, the Tom Thibodeau minutes debate has come into full swing. The Wolves and Nuggets have two of the better offenses in the league, this should be a fun one.
Thursday December 21st
Toronto Raptors at Philadelphia 76ers (7:00PM EST)
This game will be the first of a home and home for the Raptors and 76ers. They met in October and the Raptors put an absolute whooping on the 76ers winning by 34 points. The Raptors have been pretty quiet and have maintained their excellent play. They are a quiet 19-8 heading into the week. If the Raptors have been quiet, the 76ers have been incredibly noisy this season. With Joel Embiid and super rookie Ben Simmons, the 76ers have become NBA League Pass darlings. They are 3-7 in their last 10 games and have lost to some bad teams. Their record is currently 14-14 and the schedule will not let up for them. In their next 11 games they will play the Raptors three times in addition to games against the Spurs, Celtics, and Nuggets. This is going to be an important stretch for the 76ers and this game could be huge for them.
Friday December 22nd
New York Knicks at Detroit Pistons (7:00PM EST)
The New York Knicks have been on a tear and they are finding ways to win. They are currently on a 4 game winning streak and have won 5 of their last 6 games. They are currently tied for 4th in the Eastern Conference standings with three other teams. One of those teams is the Detroit Pistons, who were able to get off of their losing streak and have won their last two games. These head to head matchups will be huge for the Eastern Conference playoff race. Kristaps Porzingis has been great for the Knicks, but he has missed some games recently and is likely to miss the Knicks’ Monday game against the Hornets. The Pistons are coming off their toughest stretch of games and are hoping that they can continue winning with some great opportunities this week. They play the Magic twice in their next 5 games in addition to this game with New York and one against the Mavericks. This game is a chance for Detroit to get back on track.
Saturday December 23rd
Oklahoma City Thunder at Utah Jazz (8:00PM EST)
The Thunder and Jazz cannot seem to catch a break. The Thunder had a huge win against the 76ers and followed it up with a 15 point loss to the Knicks without Kristaps Porzingis. The Jazz had Rudy Gobert go down again with an injury to his knee in the 1st quarter of a game they won against the Boston Celtics. These two teams find themselves at the 8th and 9th seeds in the Western Conference. These head to head matchups become even more important and these two teams have met twice and have split the games 1-1. They will play on Wednesday of next week as well, making this game their fourth and final matchup of the season. The Jazz will be without Gobert for a month and the Thunder are dealing with some injuries themselves. Steven Adams, who has been the Thunder’s most important player in their last few games sat out their most recent game with a concussion.
Sunday December 24th
Christmas Eve has no games. Enjoy the time with family and friends and get ready for the full schedule on Christmas Day.