NBA Top Games of the Week – Jan/31 to Feb/06

Monday – Jan/31

Memphis Grizzlies @ Philadelphia 76ers – 7:00 PM ET

We start the week off with a game that has the potential to be the best of the week. Both teams are currently third in their conferences. They are led by MVP Candidates Ja Morant and Joel Embiid.

The similarities end there, as the Grizz is a running team, who loves to explore the fast-break, whereas the Sixers play a much more deliberate half-court game.

The matchups to watch are on the PG and C positions. Can Adams/JJJ cool off Embiid? Is Maxey ready to hold the lightning fast Morant? Tune in tonight and find out!

Tuesday – Feb/01

AfroBallers Game of the Week

Miami Heat @ Toronto Raptors – 7:30 PM ET

Our all hustle game of the week. The Raptors lead the NBA in deflections with over 18 per game and are second in Loose Balls Recovered with over 7 per contest. The Heat lead in charges drawn more than doubling the next best team in that category.

It is also our AfroBallers Game of the Week. Toronto represents the great continent inside the court with Pascal “Spicy P” Siakam, OG Anunoby and Precious Achiuwa, all brought to Canada by the Nigerian Team President Masai Ujiri. The Heat also have strong African ties, with starters Bam Adebayo and Gabe Vincent, as well as reserves KZ Okpala and Victor Oladipo.

The key matchup is between two high IQ players and defensive aces: Jimmy Butler and Scottie Barnes.

Wednesday – Feb/02

Charlotte Hornets @ Boston Celtics – 7:30 PM ET

This is clash of styles contest. While the Hornets are a potent high scoring team with the ball, the Celtics are a top defensive team. The way in which they attack is another difference, as Boston is one of the most isolation heavy offenses in the league, whereas Charlotte is one of the highest passing teams.

With the seventh place Hornets only 2.5 games ahead of the ninth place Celtics in the standings, this is one of the key games for both teams, as they fight for a Playoff spot in the East.

As for matchups, you cannot watch these teams play without a major focus on LaMelo & Bridges for Charlotte and Tatum & Brown for Boston. These four players alone are worth the admission price!

Denver Nuggets @ Utah Jazz – 10:00 PM ET

Two of the best Centers in the NBA will battle it out on this game. Only two games separate both teams in the standings.

This will be a high quality offensive game. The Jazz are at the top of the league in Offensive Rating and are second in points scored per game. The Nuggets are an extremely efficient team, in the Top 5 in assists per game and points per possession. Both teams are among the league leaders in EFG%.

It does not get any better in terms of the key matchup: the reigning MVP Nikola Jokic against reining DPOY Rudy Gobert.

Thursday – Feb/03

Phoenix Suns @ Atlanta Hawks – 7:30 PM ET

Winners of 7 straight games heading into the week, the blazing hot Hawks host the best and most consistent team in the league, the Phoenix Suns.

The Suns are a well oiled machine anyway you look at it. The team is in the Top 5 in the following major categories:

  • Winning %
  • Offensive Rating
  • Defensive Rating
  • Net Rating
  • Offensive Effective Field Goal %
  • Defensive Effective Field Goal %
  • Points Per Game
  • Points Per Possession
  • Assists Per Game
  • Rebounds Per Game

As for the Hawks, they have one of the league’s best offenses and – just as they did in the previous season – are playing their best basketball in the second half of the schedule.

There are a few interesting matchups here – Booker x Bogdanovic; Ayton x Capela – but the one to watch closest is Point God CP3 versus the offensive genius Trae Young.

Friday – Feb/04

Cleveland Cavaliers @ Charlotte Hornets – 7:00 PM ET

As far as an Offense versus Defense duel goes, this is it! Third best in Defensive Rating and second best in points allowed per game (Cavs) versus the best in points scored per game and third best in Offensive Rating (Hornets).

What these teams have in common is how great their youth talent is. Both squads are highly entertaining in their own way. The Hornets are near the top of the NBA in Points Per Game, Pace, Fast Break Points Per Game and Dunks Per Game. The Cavs are a top team in both Defensive Rating, Net Rating and Opponents Points Per Game.

There are two particularly intriguing matchups to watch for on this one: the Point Guards of the Future, LaMelo Ball against Darius Garland and Swiss Knife Forwards Miles Bridges versus Evan Mobley.

Philadelphia 76ers @ Dallas Mavericks – 10:00 PM ET

Winners of 7 games out of the last 10 played, the Mavericks will try to use their defense to stop the 76ers. The Mavs are currently third in points allowed per game and fifth in Defensive Rating.

Both teams prefer a slower paced game, playing through their stars – Embiid and Doncic – in a deliberate half-court offense.

Their ability – or lack of – in defending the opponent’s best player will be the key to the victory in this game.

Saturday – Feb/05

Miami Heat @ Charlotte Hornets – 7:00 PM ET

The free flowing, offensive-minded Hornets hosts the Eastern Conference leading Heat.

This should be a high scoring game, as both teams are currently in the Top 5 in Offensive Rating. They get there in opposite speeds though, while the Hornets are the second in Pace, the Heat are the second slowest team in the league.

The key matchup here is between LaMelo and Butler. Whichever floor general succeeds imposing his team’s rhythm in the game will likely come out as the winner.

Sunday – Feb/06

Philadelphia 76ers @ Chicago Bulls – 3:30 PM ET

Starting the week only separated by 0.5 games, the owners of the second and third best records in the East will battle to either keep or revert their positions in the standings.

The Bulls are one of the best shooting teams this season, being near the top of the league in most relevant shooting % categories (FG, 3pt FG, Corner 3pt FG, Mid-Range FG, FT). The 76ers have Joel Embiid, who’s +26 in the 2 games against the Bulls this season, averaging 24 points, 12.5 rebounds and 5 assists in those games.

The key matchup in this game will be The Process for Philadelphia versus Center By Committee for the Bulls.

Atlanta Hawks @ Dallas Mavericks – 6:00 PM ET

Closing out our Top Games of the Week, we have two rising teams that will be linked for the rest of their respective stars’ careers.

Traded for each other on Draft Night, Trae Young and Luka Doncic always give their best when playing the team that gave them away.

The All-Star Point Guard duel is the main attraction and the key matchup for this game. Whichever star comes out on top will likely end their team’s week on a high note.

Jay Ernani
Jay is a Basketball enthusiast, former Basketball player and coach, with experience in the game in the United States of America and in Brazil, at High School and College levels. He is passionate about the history of the game, defense and strong team culture. He is also into analytics, which are a recurrent part of his articles.

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