This Week in the NBA (12/4 – 12/10)
It’s Monday. Don’t be sad! This means we have a fresh batch of NBA cookies in the oven. Let’s look ahead at the best matchups of the week.
Utah Jazz at Oklahoma City Thunder
December 5 @ 8PM ET
The Thunder have just won two games back to back against teams with better records for the first time this season. While they’ve shown flashes of what they could be (like defeating the Warriors in November), Carmelo Anthony and Paul George are finally sacrificing like they have to be. Still, OKC is need of some consistency. Tomorrow at 8PM they take on the Utah Jazz at home and try to to prove that they can score against top defenses without isolation play.
If you can’t make it to Oklahoma, watch the game on NBA League Pass.
Washington Wizards at Portland Trail Blazers
December 5 @ 10PM ET
Telling of their surprisingly easy schedule, the Blazers’ best opponent this season has been the Raptors – a game they lost. The Wizards, meanwhile, have struggled against every team above .500 and, quite embarrassingly, lost to the Lakers after talking trash about Lonzo Ball. Both of these groups seem to believe they can compete for a championship in the near future, but they’ll have to prove it to the rest of us. In this rematch from a couple weeks ago, now in Portland, expect a game that has you holding your breath until the final buzzer.
Can’t spare a trip to the liveliest arena of them all in Portland? Watch on NBA TV.
Los Angeles Lakers at Philadelphia 76ers
December 7 @ 8PM ET
Two rookie phenoms walk into a bar. This game could either be a classic – a foretelling of the next NBA decade – or an absolute joke. I’m banking on the former. Last time they met in LA, Joel Embiid had the best game of his career with 46 points and 15 rebounds. This time in Philly, expect the two assist farmers, Lonzo Ball and Ben Simmons, to lead the way. Both squads will drop enough cock-your-head-back-and-say-woah dimes to leave you hungry for another Philly-LA game (which we won’t get until fall 2018).
If you’re not enjoying a Philly cheese steak in PA this week, you can see this game on TNT.
Boston Celtics at San Antonio Spurs
December 8 @ 9:30PM
Don’t sleep on San Antonio. This black and silver snake in the grass has crept up on many a blindside, including a huge blowout of Golden State in Kevin Durant’s debut and, oh yeah, robbing the 2014 Finals-favorite Heat of their three-peat. That’s because they have the best coach in basketball. Luckily for Boston, they have the next best coach in basketball and my personal Coach of the Year pick in Brad Stevens. In what may be Kawhi Leonard’s return, Boston is bracing for their worst. If you’re a basketball nerd, take a pen and pad. There will be SLOB plays to die for.
San Antonio too long a drive? Catch this one on ESPN.