Today in the NBA: Sunday, January 13th
Sunday offers us a solid 7 games to fit around the NFL playoffs. Headlined by a Blazers vs Nuggets showdown, there should be no shortage of interesting games on the night should you get tired of NFL action.
Toronto Raptors @ Washington Wizards - 1pm ET
These two teams have already met twice this season with Toronto getting the best of the Wizards on both occasions.
Toronto is, simply put, one of the best all-around teams in the NBA. With Kawhi posting his best offensive season to date.
After bouncing back from an oddly tough win against the Hawks with a blowout of the Nets, Kawhi Leonard and the Raptors set their sights on the Wizards.
In a strange twist of fate, since losing star John Wall, the Wizards have actually been playing better basketball.
With the keys to the organization solely sitting in Bradley Beal's hands, he hasn't disappointed. Scoring at an insane clip, Beal has the Wizards 5-3 since losing Wall. While still well below .500 on the season, Beal has given Wizards fans hope that they might still have a shot at sneaking into the playoffs.
On paper, Toronto should run away with this game. That said, Beal and the Wizards are hot right now. Look for this to be a hard fought battle with Toronto pulling away in the fourth.
Philadelphia 76ers @ New York Knicks - 1 pm ET
Philly and New York have met twice in the season, with the Sixers handing a blowout to the Knicks on both occasions.
I'll keep this one short and sweet. The Knicks are a bad basketball team. Like really bad. Meanwhile, the Sixers are a very good basketball team coming off back to back losses. Don't expect that losing trend to continue against the Knicks.
The Sixers will come out and demolish the Knicks on their home court to get back in the win column.
Milwaukee Bucks @ Atlanta Hawks - 3:30 pm ET
The last time these two teams met, the Bucks predictably dominated the Hawks and scored over 140 points on their porous defence.
Milwaukee is coming off an oddly satisfying loss against the Wizards. Despite missing Giannis for the contest and giving up 40 points in the first quarter, the Bucks clamped down from there on out and almost mounted a second-half comeback.
The Hawks, on the other hand, are coming off a big win against Philadelphia and have been playing some competitive basketball for the first time all season in recent weeks. While they still boast one of the NBA's worst records, they've been far better than the record indicates.
This all hinges on if Giannis plays or not. If cleared, the Bucks should dominate the Hawks. However, if Giannis isn't cleared, expect a gritty, low scoring affair between the two squads. That said, the Bucks have enough quality depth where even without Giannis, they should be up to the task.
Houston Rockets @ Orlando Magic - 6 pm ET
In what will be the first matchup between the Rockets and Magic on the year, both teams come in riding high off a win.
The Rockets have been on fire recently. Behind the strong play of James Harden, Houston is 8-2 over their last 10 games including quality wins over Denver, Golden State, Boston, and Oklahoma City.
Meanwhile, the Magic, while struggling, recently pulled out a surprise win over the Celtics last night. However, as they are coming into this matchup on the tail end of a back to back, they'll most surely have their work cut out for them.
Expect the rested Rockets to absolutely roll the Magic. The Celtics do have a tendency to overlook teams and that showed against the Magic last night. Don't expect the Rockets to fall for the same trap.
Golden State Warriors @ Dallas Mavericks - 7 pm ET
Golden State and Dallas have done battle on the hardwood twice so far this year. With the season series tied at 1-1, the two teams match up once again in Dallas.
The Warriors are coming off a dominating wire to wire beatdown of the Bulls and have won three consecutive games. With the return of DeMarcus Cousins just around the corner and the Durant-Green drama has died down, things are looking bright for Golden State.
Dallas is coming off back to back victories and despite their sub .500 record, offer a unique challenge to every NBA team.
As they have the misfortune of playing in the Western Conference, they've faced a bevy of quality opponents so far, but are considerably stronger than their record indicates. With rookie sensation, Luka Doncic improving his play on seemingly a nightly basis, the Mavericks continue to look like a more and more dangerous team.
Golden State has a tendency to overlook weaker opponents during the regular season and look to be in cruise control after dominating the Bulls. Meanwhile, the Mavericks are sneakily excellent at home with a 16-4 record.
It may be a bold call but look for Dallas to pull off the upset here and continue their winning ways at the American Airlines Center.
Portland Trail Blazers @ Denver Nuggets - 8 pm ET
In what is shaping up to be the premier matchup of the evening, the Denver Nuggets take on the Portland Trail Blazers for the second time this year. Their first matchup was a tightly contested affair with Denver winning by a mere point.
Coming off thrashing the Hornets, Trail Blazers improved their record to 7-3 over their last 10. One of the more dangerous offensive units in the game, Portland has the firepower to go blow for blow with any team in the NBA.
Denver meanwhile, is looking to get back into the win column after an embarrassing loss to the Suns. As this game comes on the second half of a back to back, the Nuggets will almost certainly be a bit worn down headed into the matchup.
Despite being worn down from last night's loss, look for Denver to get back on track and take down the Blazers. This should be a fast-paced and exciting game, but look for Denver to establish control late before pulling away.
Cleveland Cavaliers @ Los Angeles Lakers - 9:30 pm ET
In our late game of the day, the lowly Cavaliers take to the road to face the Lakers minus LeBron. In the first meeting between the two squads, the Lakers took down the Cavs in a close affair.
Cleveland is still yet to win a game since December 18th. To be honest they haven't really even come close. Don't expect that to change any time soon.
Although the Lakers are under .500 without LeBron, with Kyle Kuzma healthy in the King's absence, they've been able to go 3-3.
While things are by no means peachy in Hollywood without the King and Rondo, they've at least been able to pick up a few wins and hang around the playoff picture.
The Lakers will dominate the Cavs here. Even without LeBron, the Lakers have shown the ability to win a basketball game against competent teams. Cleveland is pretty far from a competent basketball team, so expect LA to roll at home.
That's it for tonight's matchups! Tomorrow we have a quiet 6 game set that should be loaded with some one-sided affairs. As always, enjoy the games and check back in tomorrow for the next installment of Tonight in the NBA!