While most of the sports world will be focused on the NFL Championship games this weekend, the Association, big on star power, is active with a full slate of NBA action this weekend. If you are like me, and the pigskin just does not do it for you, here are some of the highlighted games this weekend.
Washington Wizards vs. Detroit Pistons. Wizards point guard John Wall is enough of a reason to tune in. His high-octane style of play is scintillating to watch; Wall’s blazing speed, creativity and improved outside shooting over the years are the main reasons why the Wizards went deep into the playoffs last year. While Washington is not playing as well as they were a year ago, the core–Wall, Beal, Porter, Morris and Gortat–know when to turn it on when it counts–health has been a major issue for this team as well this year. They will have to turn it on when they set foot on the court in Detroit Friday night. The Pistons have been one of the odder teams in the NBA this season, as well as one of the streakiest. With Andre Drummond’s dominance inside the paint, and eclectic players like Tobias Harris, who is making a bid to be an all-star this year, the Pistons are set to give Wall and company all they can handle Friday night.
New York Knicks vs. Utah Jazz. The Knicks’ inability to win on the road is the reason why they are looking outside of the playoff playground instead of playing on the swing set. They face the Jazz, a team who trying to find themselves after the heartbreaking departure of Gordon Haywood, as part of a long, grueling road trip. This game is worth tuning into because of the rookie matchup between guards Donavan Mitchell, a front runner for Rookie of the Year, and Frank Ntilikina, the point guard from France that virtually nobody in the Big Apple wanted, but are now warming up to. Twelve teams passed on Mitchell in the draft, and the Knicks were one of them. Indeed, Fearless Frank, as I like to call him, does not posses the sexy numbers Mitchell has thus far, but he has guile and toughness way past his 19 years of age should allow. Look for Frank and Donovan to put on a show Friday night, in a game that might otherwise go under the radar.
Milwaukee Bucks vs. Philadelphia 76ers. The city of Brotherly Love gets to marinate their beloved Eagles’ championship game with a doozy of a showdown Saturday night. Talk about star power, this one has it all. Yes, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Joel Embid are the names above the title, however, the supporting cast is chock-full of fun match-ups. The Bucks are loaded with long, versatile players who can give the Sixers fits, and vice versa. If the Greek Freak wants to be the most talked about player not named LeBron, Curry or Westbrook, then he must shine against the upstart Sixers on Saturday night. If the Sixers want to be looked at as more than just a team of fun players to watch, the time to make a statement is also on Saturday night. A potential gem.
Golden State Warriors vs. Houston Rockets. Indeed, I am not exactly cracking any kind of complicated code by highlighting this game. If you are not pumped up for this one you probably do not watch too much of the NBA. Even without James Harden, this game has bite. The star players on Golden State always get up to play Houston. While not as impressive as their early season stint, the Rockets are one of the best teams in the league and considered by many as the only serious threat to best Golden State in the West this post season. Happy Saturday.
Championship Sunday typically means all NFL all the time, and I will admit the schedule in the Association is on the light side. I look at Sundays slate of games like a pot luck dinner. There may be a gem of a dish somewhere in this smorgasbord of leftovers. Perhaps Kyrie Irving or Aaron Gordon shine in their early matinee, or maybe Kyle Kuzma fills up the stat sheet against the Knicks, to help his bid for the Rookie of the Year. We might even see the game of the week between the Indiana Pacers and the San Antonio Spurs, two teams that are loaded with stars both young and old. Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili are not going to be around forever; I am somewhat confident with this statement, perhaps Sunday is the last great stat line for one these old pros. Or both of them? Who knows? Therefore, it is always worth tuning in to the NBA.
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