NBA Top Games of the Week – Feb/14 to Feb/20

Monday – Feb/14

toronto raptors @ New orleans pelicans – 8:00 PM ET

The best game to tipoff All-Star week is to watch Nate Duncan and Danny Leroux do a Strategy Stream on one of the hottest teams in the NBA – Toronto Raptors, winning 8 out of their last 10 games – versus the newly improved New Orleans Pelicans.

The big attraction in New Orleans is how much of an improvement the addition of CJ McCollum will provide.

The Raptors play in a very unique fashion – with a lot of long and athletic ballers who play a BUNCH of minutes. Of the top 10 players in minutes per game, the Raptors hold 4 spots, with VanVleet leading the league, Siakam in second place, Anunoby in third and Barnes in ninth. Apart from VanVleet, no player in Coach Nurse’s rotation is under 6’5″. They have wingspan for miles, leading the league in Deflections & Defensive Loose Balls recovered per game.

Scottie Barnes going against Brandon Ingram is the matchup to watch for on this one.

Tuesday – Feb/15

cleveland cavaliers @ atlanta hawks – 7:30 PM ET

The battle of styles is on for this Cavs and Hawks game.

The Hawks are Top 5 in Offensive Rating, 3 point %, Mid-Range FG% and has the third best single game mark in made 3’s. The Cavs have the best Blocking game in the season, while being Top 5 in Defensive Rating & Opponent eFG%.

The individual duel to watch is between Eastern Conference All-Star PGs Trae Young and Darius Garland.

dallas mavericks @ miami heat – 7:30 PM ET

Winners of 5 straight games to start the week, the East leading Miami Heat will host the Trade Deadline active Dallas Mavericks.

The Heat are taking over the East with a well-oiled game on both sides of the ball. On Defense, the team is Top 5 in Opponent Turnover% and Loose Balls Recovered. On Offense, they are efficient, leading the league in both Free-Throw and 3-point percentages. With the a Top 5 scoring bench unit, they hold the fifth best Net Rating in the League.

The Mavs have one of the NBA’s premier offensive players, but are winning with their defense. They lead the NBA in Defensive Rebound % and are in the Top 10 in Opponent eFG%.

Luka Doncic versus Jimmy Butler is the matchup that will likely decide the game result.

boston celtics @ philadelphia 76ers – 7:30 PM ET

This will be a slow-paced, half-court heavy game. Both teams are in the bottom third of the league in pace and have half-court ball dominant star duos.

In Philly, this could be the home debut of their prized acquisition in the Ben Simmons trade: James Harden. Watching him pair up with MVP favorite and AfroBaller Joel Embiid is a treat any given night. When that is against one of the best defenses in the NBA, it gets even better!

Talking about that defense, the Celtics are currently 1st Opponent eFG%, 2nd in Defensive Rating, Rebounds and Blocks per Game, 3rd in Loose Balls Recovered and 10th in Turnover %.

The key matchup for this game is a bit different. The main thing to look out for is how quickly Embiid and Harden will mash – that is likely the defining matchup for the 76ers game and season.

Wednesday – Feb/16

denver nuggets @ golden state warriors – 10:00 PM ET

A big misconception about the Golden State Warriors is that they are only a 3-point shooting team. Indeed, they are at the top of the league in Made 3-pointers with a 3-point % rate among the Top 5 in the NBA. The offensive prowess does not stop there. The Warriors are 2nd in the NBA in Assists per Game and 3rd in at the basket FG%.

Their true colors show up for real on the other end of the floor. Holders of the best Defensive Rating in the association, their D is powered by the 2nd most Steals per Game, as well as a Top 5 rank in Rebounds and Deflections per game.

The Nuggets on the other hand are more of a one-sided club. Denver’s offense is impressive, with the 3rd best mark in eFG% and Assists per Game elevating the team’s Offensive Rating to a Top 10 level – even without 2 starting players out for most of the season in Murray and MPJ.

The battle to watch for on this game is the same as in any Nuggets game – Jokic against the entire opponent’s defense.

Thursday – Feb/17

miami heat @ charlotte hornets – 7:00 PM ET

As far as antagonistic playing styles go, it does not get much further away than the Miami Heat to the Charlotte Hornets.

The Heat are a well balanced team, powered by a rugged defense and that plays at the NBA’s slowest pace. They will deliberately and efficiently dismantle their adversaries on both ends of the floor.

Charlotte goes all out on offense – all the time. With the fastest paced team in the league, the Hornets lead the NBA in Points per Game and are 2nd in Fast Break Points per Game. They achieve that by ranking Top 5 in Assists, Steals, Deflections, Loose Balls Recovered and Points in the Paint per Game.

LaMelo Ball’s offense against Kyle Lowry’s defense is the perfect confrontation to individually manifest this game’s motto.

philadelphia 76ers @ MILWAUKEE bucks – 8:30 PM ET

AfroBallers Game of the Week

MVP duel between AfroBallers Joel Embiid and Giannis Antetokounmpo highlights our Game of the Week. Not only that, but this has the potential to be a preview to the Eastern Conference Finals.

While the Bucks are the reigning champs are still the team to beat in the East, these new 76ers have a former MVP joining forces with their current candidate for best player in the NBA.

The aforementioned battle between AfroBallers Joel and Giannis is also the key – and most fun – matchup to watch in this ballgame.

Friday – Feb/18

NBA Rising stars tournament – 9:00 PM ET

As we covered in our Rising Stars deep-dive, this night has the potential to be the best of the weekend.

The exceedingly great pool of talent and the new tournament format combine for what should be an exciting night for the NBA’s young stars.

Saturday – Feb/19

NBA all-star saturday night – 8:00 PM ET

Saturday night will begin with an AfroBallers takeover. The Antetokounmpo Bros will all compete in the same squad for the Skills Challenge trophy.

The great continent will keep being well represented in the second event of the evening, with sharpshooter Desmond Bane competing in the 3-Point Contest.

As per tradition, the Slam Dunk Contest is Saturday’s night cap. Anything close to the 2016 edition will be worth the wait.

Sunday – Feb/20

NBA all-star game – 8:00 PM ET

The new ASG format has certainly enhanced the level of competition. It is always nice to watch the very best going against each other and hopefully they will keep increasing the level of play in the 2022 game.

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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