NBA games on Thursday: Top 3 matchups to watch out for as league resumes after 2023 All-Star break

Philadelphia 76ers v Memphis Grizzlies
NBA stars Joel Embiid and Ja Morant

The 2023 NBA All-Star break is coming to an end this week, starting with nine games scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 23. This will include a couple of heavyweight matchups as well as a few matchups between teams vying for playoff positioning.

So on that note, here are the top three matchups scheduled for Thursday.


Top 3 NBA games on Thursday

Golden State Warriors star forward Draymond Green
Golden State Warriors star forward Draymond Green

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#3 LA Lakers versus Golden State Warriors

Golden State Warriors star shooting guard Klay Thompson (right) goes up against LA Lakers' Troy Brown Jr.
Golden State Warriors star shooting guard Klay Thompson (right) goes up against LA Lakers' Troy Brown Jr.

The LA Lakers (27-32, 13th in the West) and Golden State Warriors (29-29, ninth in the West) are two win-now teams that have disappointed so far. Both teams are on the outside looking in at the Western Conference playoff picture entering the key stretch of the season. They are also both dealing with injuries to key players.

Lakers star forward LeBron James is listed as day-to-day with a hand injury. Meanwhile, Warriors star point guard Steph Curry is still listed as out due to his lower leg injury. Golden State's starting forward Andrew Wiggins is also listed as day-to-day as he continues to miss time for personal reasons.

Nonetheless, Thursday's game will still be crucial for both teams' playoff hopes. It will also still mark a matchup between two of the premier franchises in the NBA.

Even with both teams not at full strength, fans will surely still tune in for the matchup. Additionally, popular stars like Anthony Davis, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green are not listed on the injury report ahead of Thursday’s clash.

The Lakers and Warriors’ season series is tied at 1-1 this season.

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#2 Philadelphia 76ers versus Memphis Grizzlies

NBA stars Ja Morant (left) and Joel Embiid
NBA stars Ja Morant (left) and Joel Embiid

The Philadelphia 76ers (38-19, third in the East) have rapidly been climbing the standings in the Eastern Conference. Philly has won four straight games and 13 of their last 16. Meanwhile, the Memphis Grizzlies (35-22, second in the West) have been struggling lately, going just 4-9 over their last 13 games.

The Sixers will be looking to maintain their positive momentum on Thursday while the Grizzlies will be looking to get back on track.

The game will also feature two of the NBA’s top stars in Joel Embiid and Ja Morant, as well as James Harden. Embiid will be looking to build upon his MVP case as he remains neck-and-neck with fellow stars Nikola Jokic and Giannis Antetokounmpo.

The Grizzlies are 1-0 versus the Sixers this season.

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#1 Cleveland Cavaliers versus Denver Nuggets

Reigning back-to-back MVP Nikola Jokic (left) goes up against Cleveland Cavaliers' Jarrett Allen
Reigning back-to-back MVP Nikola Jokic (left) goes up against Cleveland Cavaliers' Jarrett Allen

The Cleveland Cavaliers (38-23, fourth in the East) and Denver Nuggets (41-18, first in the West) have both been top-five teams this season. Their matchup on Thursday will mark the highest-profile matchup based on the standings.

Reigning back-to-back MVP Nikola Jokic will be in action, while the game will also feature a matchup between star guards Donovan Mitchell and Jamal Murray. The latter duo notably had an iconic playoff showdown in the Bubble in 2020.

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The Nuggets are 1-0 versus the Cavs this season.

For the full slate of NBA games on Thursday, click here.

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Edited by Anantaajith Raghuraman
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