NBA Top Games of the Week – Feb/28 to Mar/6

Monday – Feb/28

Minnesota timberwolves @ cleveland cavaliers – 7:00 PM ET

A small market affair tips-off the week. We have been telling you for a while to watch out for these teams.

The Wolves are near the top of the league in Offensive Rating and in Pace in 2022. The Cavs have a Top 4 Defensive Rating and are the slowest paced team in the NBA this year.

The battle of styles extends to the individual matchup to watch. Self proclaimed “Best Shooting Big Man” and reigning 3-Point Champion Karl-Anthony Towns will go against the best defensive frontline in the NBA, facing 48 minutes of either Jarret Allen (5th in Defensive Win Shares) or Evan Mobley (4th in Defensive Win Shares & 6th in Blocks per Game) guarding him.

chicago bulls @ miami heat – 7:30 PM ET

The stakes are high in this game, with the #1 seed in the East as the prize.

The Heat are picking up steam in 2022, powered by a Defense that forces the 3rd highest Turnover %, allows the 4th fewest Points per Possession and results in the 6th best Defensive Rating. The Bulls are the perfect opposite, ranking in the Bottom 5 in those same categories.

In Chicago, however, offense is king. This year, they have a Top 6 Offensive Rating. They achieve that by taking great care of the ball and being extremely efficient putting it in the basket – with a Top 5 rank in Turnover % and True Shooting %.

The key matchup is a former Bulls All-Star against Chi-Town’s current MVP candidate. Nobody has been able to stop DeMar DeRozan this season, but if someone can make his job as hard as humanly possible, that person is Jimmy Butler.

Tuesday – Mar/1

atlanta hawks @ boston celtics – 7:30 PM ET

This is our official Offense versus Defense matchup of the week.

In 2022, the Hawks are top 5 in Offensive Rating, True Shooting %, Points per Possession and Fewest Turnover %. In the same period, the Celtics own the best Efficiency Differential in the NBA. That is fueled by the best Defensive Rating in the league, along with being the defense allowing the fewest Points per Possession and forcing opponents to the lowest eFG%.

The key matchup is also an offense versus defense duel. If defensive aces Marcus Smart and Derrick White can hold down Trae Young, the engine to that Hawks’ offense, the Celtics will likely come out on top.

Wednesday – Mar/2

charlotte hornets @ cleveland cavaliers – 7:00 PM ET

Being small market teams on the rise with All-Star PGs running the show is about the only thing these teams have in common.

The Hornets lead the NBA in Points per Game, are the second fastest paced team, while being Top 5 in Assists, Made 3-Pointers, Fast Break Points and Points in the Paint per game.

The Cavs are a Top 5 team in Defensive Rating, holding the lowest opponent FG% in the Paint. They also play at the NBA’s slowest pace in 2022.

As for matchups, LaMelo Ball going against Darius Garland is as good of a PG battle as you can find in the league.

miami heat @ milwaukee bucks – 8:00 PM ET

Thought like the most likely Eastern Conference Finals matchup prior to the season, this if definitely a statement game for both teams.

One of the marks of a true contender is having a Top 10 Offense and Defense. The East Champions for the past two seasons should be well balanced teams with strong trios leading the way.

Miami is keeping their end of the bargain, ranking Top 10 in both Offensive and Defensive Ratings. While the Bucks rank in the Top 5 in Offensive Rating, their defense is still outside of the Top 10.

The individual matchup to watch for is an All-AfroBallers duel. First Generation Nigerians Bam Adebayo and Giannis Antetokounmpo will battle on both sides of the ball all night long on this one.

Thursday – Mar/3

AfroBallers Game of the Week

memphis grizzlies @ boston celtics – 7:30 PM ET

Both teams trail only the Suns for the best record in 2022, the leading Efficiency Differential Boston Celtics will host another Top 5 team in that category.

This will be a smoking hot AfroBallers Game of the Week, with the combined record for each team’s last 10 games being a whooping 16-4! That 80% winning rate would be virtually tied for best in the NBA, if it were a team’s record.

As great of a team contest as this will be, the highlight is certainly watching the most exciting offensive player in the worldJa Morant – going all in against the best defense in the NBA.

Friday – Mar/4

cleveland cavaliers @ philadelphia 76ers – 7:00 PM ET

This will be a grind it out, half-court heavy, run the clock down kind of game.

Even prior to Harden’s arrival, the 76ers were already one of the slowest paced teams in the NBA. The Cavs were already among the slowest all season, but rank dead least in pace after January 1st 2022.

Funny enough, it might be how faster either team plays that provides the path to a W on this game. Neither team is even average at defending faster paced teams, with both ranking in the bottom half in Opponent Fast Break Points per game.

AfroBaller Joel Embiid is the frontrunner for MVP honors this season. He is as close to unstoppable as there is in the NBA right now. If any front court has a chance against him, it is the duo he will face of Jarret Allen and Evan Mobley.

milwaukee bucks @ chicago bulls – 7:30 PM ET

Both teams have a claim for their status as true title contenders, the Bulls spending most of the season as a Top 3 team in the East Standings and the Bucks as the reigning NBA Champs.

They also have plenty of doubters, with compelling arguments against their contending aspirations. Chicago has one of the worst defensive teams in the NBA, while also having one of the worst records against Top 10 Efficiency Differential ranked teams – winning only 4 out of 18 games against those. Milwaukee has lost supporters with disappointing losses all season, currently a Fifth seed in the East.

The good news for Deer Nation is that Giannis is playing at an MVP level and their opponents have no great defender to throw at him. If Antetokounmpo goes off for a great offensive game, it will be hard for the Bulls’ MVP contender – DeRozan – to save the day for Chicago.

Saturday – Mar/5

golden state warriors @ los angeles lakers – 8:30 PM ET

The upcoming chapter of the Curry versus LeBron history will have high expectations and pressure on both teams.

With one of the third toughest remaining schedule, the Lakers start the week losers in 7 of their last 10 games. The team morale cannot be good in Hollywood, after its star and leader, LeBron James, expressed his displeasure with his GM’s inactivity at the trade deadline. Currently in ninth place in the West, the team needs every win it can get, in order to keep their playoff chances alive.

In San Francisco, the type of pressure is much different. Vastly over-performing expectations, the Warriors are currently 6 games behind the Suns for the league’s best record. Chris Paul is likely to miss the reminder of the regular season, giving Golden State a real chance at that #1 seed.

The key matchup to watch is between a defense which forces the fourth most turnovers per game against two players in the Top 10 for most turnovers committed per game: Russell Westbrook as the fourth worst and LeBron James as the tenth worst in that category.

Sunday – Mar/6

brooklyn nets @ boston celtics – 1:00 PM ET

This game is all about the potential debut of the Nets’ new Big 3. Both Simmons and KD are ramping up for a return in the coming games. Kyrie is cleared to play in the city of Boston.

It would be a great test for the new look Nets to put their three-headed monster against the NBA’s best defense. For the fans, it would be great to see one of the few teams who can match the expected Brooklyn offensive greatness with an All-NBA level defender for each player.

The plate here is filled with juicy matchups. Brooklyn’s offensive backcourt of Kyrie and Curry against Boston’s defensive duo in Smart and White. In the frontcourt all around talents will battle on both sides, with Tatum and Brown for the Celtics facing KD and Simmons for the Nets.

phoenix suns @ milwaukee bucks – 3:30 PM ET

The second game of ABC’s Sunday double-header is the second and last 2021 Finals Rematch of the regular season. Less than a month ago, the Suns came out on top – and did it convincingly so!

Without Chris Paul leading the show, the Bucks should be able to avenge that loss. CP3 scored 17 points and dished out an eye popping 19 assists.

AfroBallers Ayton and Antetokounmpo will again face-off in the key matchup of the game. The Suns’ center shinned in their last meeting, having the highest +/- of the last contest with +21, while scoring game-high 27 points. Giannis was way below his season averages, shooting 35.7% from the field, scoring only 18 points and grabbing 7 boards.

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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