Week 16 (January 31 to February 6) of the NBA will welcome a new month and the midseason break. Teams will now play with urgency, knowing that any win can go a long way in the playoff standings. It’s time to see some of the treats that are in store for us in the upcoming week as teams try to catch the last bus to the postseason.
Brooklyn Nets versus the Phoenix Suns. James Harden versus Chris Paul. What’s not to like? Both Paul and Harden are averaging around 10 dimes per game so the “assists battle” in this game will be a side story to watch out for. Another thing to remember is that both teams are in the top five when it comes to field goal percentage, so efficient playmaking and shot selection will be on full display.
This will be the fourth and final meeting between the Denver Nuggets and Utah Jazz in the regular season. The Jazz won the previous three and if the Nuggets lose this one, it will hound them for the rest of the season. The idea of possibly facing the Jazz in the playoffs without a win under their belt could mean a mental disadvantage.
The matchup between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers may not bring as much hype anymore, with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are out with injuries. You would be forgiven if you won’t be watching this game, but you might regret it. The Clippers have already erased deficits of 24 or more points three times this season. Even if they are trailing early in this game, sticking around might be worth your time.
No one will get tired of the fact that Luka Doncic and Trae Young were traded for each other. It is ingrained in everyone’s mind and someone will always blurt it out every time these two play against one another. Some will say Doncic is the better player because of his triple-doubles, while others will argue that Young is better because of his scoring. Maybe everyone should stop the debate and just enjoy the show.
Here Today, Gone Tomorrow?
This isn’t news for fans but it’s good to be reminded about the NBA replacement players from time to time. You have Lance Stephenson and DeMarcus Cousins, who are probably on multiple 10-day contracts by now, playing seriously well. Known to be on the wild and wacky side before, Stephenson and Cousins are showing that they can be good pieces of a team’s structure. Just ask the Indiana Pacers, who will quickly say that Stephenson should stay until the season ends.
Another example would be Bismack Biyombo of the Suns. This guy was out of the league until health and safety protocols brought down some of the regular players in the league and open roster spots popped up everywhere. Now he’s watching out for lob passes from one of the best point guards. It would be fun to see players in these situations get NBA contracts. If not, then it will be sad to see them go.
Follow Joey Almendras on Twitter @Buyaw
Main Image Credit: via aberdeen news