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Here’s a look at the most intriguing games in the NBA this week.
Friday, Feb. 28 at 8:00 p.m. ET
The Milwaukee Bucks have already clinched a playoff spot, which is pretty impressive. That doesn’t mean the team can rest on its laurels moving forward. The Bucks are still playing for the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, though they have a good shot at securing it. The team also could be playing for history. At 48-8, the Bucks could technically set the record for most wins in a single season, though they would have to go undefeated from this point on. More than likely, the team will continue to dominate and become one of the best regular-season teams ever. While that’s impressive, Bucks fans want to see the team go all the way in the playoffs. The Oklahoma City Thunder will be a decent test to see how the Bucks will handle a playoff team from the West.
Mavericks at Heat
Friday, Feb. 28 at 8:00 p.m. ET
After a strong start, the Dallas Mavericks have faded in recent months. After sitting in third place in the West in the middle of the December, the Mavericks now find themselves as the No. 7 seed. While the team would really have to tumble to miss out on the playoffs, the slide is worrisome. Are the Mavericks the dominant team we saw early or the struggling team we see now? The Miami Heat should provide Mavericks fans with some answers. The Heat have not only been excellent this season, but they’ve been consistent. Miami has ranked no lower than fourth in the Eastern Conference all season. The Mavericks will hope some of that consistency rubs off as the team preps for the final two months of the regular season.
Saturday, Feb. 29 at 8:30 p.m. ET
Are we witnessing the breakout of Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum? The 21-year-old has taken his game to new heights this season, averaging 22.9 points per game and making his first All-Star team. Tatum, however, has gone to an even greater level lately. Over the past seven games, Tatum is averaging 30.6 points, including an excellent 41-point explosion in a tight loss against the Los Angeles Lakers. With James Harden and Russell Westbrook, the Houston Rockets have plenty of firepower to negate Tatum. But, as LeBron James said Sunday, Tatum has become “an absolute problem” on the court.
Sunday, March 1 at 8:00 p.m. ET
This matchup doesn’t lack for storylines. It marks the first time New Orleans Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson will take the court against LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Williamson, 19, has already proven to be quite the force, averaging 22.8 points and 7.2 rebounds in 12 games. We’ll see if he ups his output with the Western Conference-leading Los Angeles Lakers in town. The contest also features Davis going up against his former team. He’s enjoyed those games thus far, going off for 41 points and 46 points the two times he’s faced the Pelicans since leaving. Will Davis make it 50 points this time around?
Sunday, March 1 at 3:30 p.m. ET
A three-game losing streak doesn’t normally set off alarm bells, but the Los Angeles Clippers had sky-high expectations coming into the season. The team has three games to turn things around before the Philadelphia 76ers come to town. Even if the Clippers struggle in those games, the 76ers could be a nice opportunity to get right. While Philadelphia has played well this season, the team struggles on the road, where it’s 9-20. Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons could prevent a lot of panic in Philadelphia by turning that road record around, though Kawhi Leonard and Paul George present quite the challenge.