Monday – Feb/07
Toronto raptors @ charlotte hornets – 7:00 PM ET
We tip-off the week with a battle for the Playoffs in the East. The 7th place Toronto Raptors visit the 9th place Charlotte Hornets. Starting 3 AfroBallers, the Raptors defeated the Hornets in Toronto late January.
It is a game of similarities. Both teams are among the Top 5 in Steals, Deflections, Loose Balls Recovered and Fast Break Points per game.
The similarities end there, as they are in very different moments in the season. Toronto begins the week with 5 straight wins, while Charlotte is coming from 4 straight losses.
Rising Stars “Team Payton” teammates LaMelo Ball and Scottie Barnes are the main attraction on each side. Watching defensive star Scottie defend offensive genius LaMelo will be a treat!
phoenix suns @ chicago bulls – 8:00 PM ET
The duel of the #1 seeds in each conference. The 42-10 Phoenix Suns face the 33-19 Chicago Bulls.
Suns are 3rd in points scored and 6th in least allowed points per game, as well as Top 3 in both Offensive and Defensive Rating. While the Bulls’ defense has fallen off a cliff since losing Lonzo and Caruso for injuries, the offense is still strong – the 4th best in the NBA.
Battle of All-Star duos CP3 & Booker versus Lavine & DeRozan. They have interesting resemblances in their games, as both duos play a mid-range heavy game and do it very efficiently. They are among the Top 3 teams that most shoot from mid-range and in the Top 5 in shooting % from that area.
Tuesday – Feb/08
Los angeles clippers @ memphis grizzlies – 8:00 PM ET
The Grizzlies are the best show on earth right now and the Clippers are their best opponent this week. That is already enough of a reason to tune in.
Memphis leads the NBA in Rebounds, Blocks, Steals, Fast Break Points, Second Chance Points, Points in the Paint and Loose Balls Recovered per game. They are also in the Top 5 in Offensive Rating and Deflections.
They complement all that hustle with a lot of swagger. AfroBaller Bane, JJJ and team leader Morant are winning with flair and enthusiasm of such heights that their games are must watch TV.
JA MORANT SAID WATCH YOUR HEAD 🔥 😱 pic.twitter.com/vTWIxaNGA0
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) February 6, 2022
Milwaukee Bucks @ Los angeles lakers – 10:00 PM ET
In Hollywood, AfroBaller Giannis Antetokounmpo, likely the best forward of this decade, faces LeBron James, a forward who dominated the previous one.
The individual matchup of the all-time greats is the main attraction, as the teams are having very different seasons. The reigning Champs Bucks begin the week in 3rd place in the East and are one of the favorites to win it all again. The Lakers lost more games than they won this season and have one of the toughest schedules until the end of the season.
The Westbrook Crisis should not improve with Holiday – one of the League’s best perimeter defenders – going against him all night. Whatever happens, this game will be content rich on the court, as well as off of it afterwards.
Wednesday – Feb/09
chicago bulls @ charlotte hornets – 7:30 PM ET
The Michael Jordan Bowl will be a battle of offenses. MJ’s current team will be the underdog and will try to even the season series, as the Bulls exploded for 133 points in winning their last game against the Hornets.
These potent offenses should have a magnificent evening, going against bottom 10 defenses on both sides.
Miles Bridges against DeMar DeRozan is the key matchup to watch. If Bridges can slow down DeRozan while being efficient on offense, MJ should be a happy Team Governor when the final buzzer rings.
golden state warriors @ utah jazz – 10:00 PM ET
The red hot Golden State Warriors, which start the week with 8 straight wins, will try to push down the free falling Jazz even further. While Utah is still 4th in the West, they lost 7 of their last 10 games.
The All-Star feud in Salt Lake City would be all day news, if the Jazz played in NYC or LA. The lack if media coverage avoids making the situation worse, but will not fix the issues between Gobert and Mitchell.
The aforementioned Mitchell is half of the game’s key matchup. His defense – criticized publicly by Gobert – will be tested to the fullest whenever he is guarding either of the Splash Brothers.
Steph Curry with the dot 🎯
— The Athletic NBA (@TheAthleticNBA) February 4, 2022
Thursday – Feb/10
AfroBallers Game of the Week
MILWAUKEE bucks @ phoenix suns – 10:00 PM ET
The Finals Rematch and All Nigerian contest is the AfroBallers Game of the Week. With Ayton hosting the Antetokounmpo brothers, Nwora and Ojeleye, there will be plenty of African highlights on this contest.
We saw the best version of the Bucks on opening night Playoffs rematch with the Nets and hopefully they will also bring full effort in Phoenix.
With Brook Lopez still out, the Nigerian Towers in the middle is the battle to watch closest. Giannis versus Ayton did not end well for the Suns’ Center in the Finals, will history repeat itself?
Friday – Feb/11
Minnesota timberwolves @ chicago bulls – 8:00 PM ET
Zach LaVine and the Bulls will host the team that drafted him. Currently 7th in the West, the Wolves – much like the Bulls – are enjoying their best season in basically a decade.
Led by All-Star Karl-Anthony Towns, the team is currently Top 5 in Points, Blocks and Steals per game. Their 3-Point Offense should give Chicago problems, as the Wolves are 3rd in the league in % of points scored in 3’s and 5th in 3 pointers made. In contrast, the Bulls’ defense allows the 4th highest 3-point % rate.
The battle of SGs is the one to keep a close eye on. All-Star Lavine versus Rising Star Edwards will be as explosive of a duel as there is in the NBA.
Saturday – Feb/12
brooklyn nets @ miami heat – 8:00 PM ET
The 2nd place Miami Heat will host the Brooklyn Nets, which started the week losers of 8 straight games.
If James Harden plays (a big if these days, as he has missed almost as many games since joining the Nets as he did his entire career prior to it) this should be an interesting battle of styles. While the Nets lead the NBA in Isolation plays, the Heat are second in cutting without the ball and off ball screens.
Kyrie Irving against Kyle Lowry is the most important matchup in the game. With or without Harden, a poor Irving game should be enough for the Heat increase its 4.5 games lead over the Nets.
los angeles lakers @ golden state warriors – 8:30 PM ET
A game between teams drastically under or over performing preseason expectations. While the Los Angeles Lakers were 3rd overall on ESPN’s Season Preview and have already reached their season long expected loss total, the 11th overall Gold State Warriors should surpass their forecasted wins for the season still in February.
Neither team has been particularly healthy, with 2 out of their Top 3 players missing significant time up to now. The Warriors have dealt much better with their absences, currently with the top Net Rating and Defensive Rating in the NBA, along with the 8th best offense. Meanwhile the Lakers are only the 21st team in Net Rating and the 23rd in Offensive rating.
Steph Curry against whichever Laker tries to guard him is the key matchup for this contest.
Sunday – Feb/13
atlanta hawks @ boston celtics – 2:00 PM ET
For the second week in a row, we close the deal with the Atlanta Hawks, winners of 8 of their last 10 games prior to this week. They will visit the Boston Celtics, who began the week coming from 4 straight wins.
This is an Offense versus Defense contest. The Hawks have the 2nd best Offensive Rating in the NBA to go against the Celtics, that currently has the 4th best Defensive Rating in the season, but is certainly playing the best defense in the league over the past month.
The Celtics in 2022:
— 1st in net rating
— 1st in defensive rating
— 1st in opponent eFG%
— 13-6 record
— Tatum averaging 26/8/5
— Brown averaging 25/7/4 pic.twitter.com/RP6e1F0SyN
— StatMuse (@statmuse) February 7, 2022
To stay in character, the key matchup is also an Offense versus Defense one. Marcus Smart will be the main responsible for trying to slow down offensive All-Star Trae Young.
"Criss-cross, applesauce with the shimmy!”
⏰: 6:00pm/et 📺: ESPN pic.twitter.com/wBvO0OPGni
— NBA (@NBA) February 6, 2022