Carmelo Anthony vs. Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant vs. Dirk Nowitzki and four other reasons to tune in to NBA TV
POSTED: Jan 26, 2016 11:20 AM ET
Dirk Nowitzki and Kobe Bryant meet for the 50th and final time tonight.
Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant have matched up 13 times over the course of their careers and to say Anthony has the upper hand would be an understatement. Anthony is 11-2 against Durant with averages of 29.0 points on 48.8 percent shooting, 37.5 percent from 3-point range and 6.9 rebounds. Durant has been solid against Anthony with averages of 27.9 points on 43.3 percent shooting, 40.7 percent from 3-point range and 6.8 rebounds. But the wins have been hard to come by. Will that change tonight as Durant looks to score 20-plus points for a 32nd straight game?
The most talked about rookie in the NBA continues to thrive under the bright lights of New York City. Porzingis is averaging 15.2 points (on 45.7 percent shooting), 8.0 rebounds and 2.2 blocks at Madison Square Garden this season with eight double-doubles. He already has two games in January with 25 plus points, and he will look to add a third to that tally tonight against Serge Ibaka. The Knicks are 0-13 when held under 92 points.
The Thunder are 13-1 this season when Russell Westbrook scores less than 18 points. In 2014-15, the Thunder were 3-6 when Westbrook didn't score more than 18 points as they desperately needed his scoring with Durant out most of the season. With Durant back, Westbrook is distributing the ball and working the glass much more frequently. That has led to him amassing five triple-doubles already this season (third best in NBA). Despite the reduced scoring load, Westbrook can still put up huge nights when it's required and he has three games of 40-plus points already this season. So which Westbrook will we see tonight? Scoring, distributing or a mix of both? There's only one way to find out!
Kobe Bryant and Dirk Nowitzki will face off for the 50th and final time tonight. The top two active leading scorers have had a back-and-forth rivalry with Bryant holding a 32-17 edge over Nowitzki in head-to-head matchups. In their previous 49 games, Bryant has averages of 25.5 points on 43.9 percent shooting and 29.7 percent from 3-point range while Nowitzki averages 22.8 points (on 45.5 percent shooting) and 36.9 percent from 3-point range. Nowitzki and the Mavericks have won their last nine games against the Lakers, which is their longest win streak in the history of the series. However, Bryant played in only three of these nine Lakers losses. Which future Hall of Famer will come out victorious in their final matchup?
Both the Lakers and Mavericks enter on losing streaks. Los Angeles has allowed 113.0 points per game during their six game losing streak and a seventh straight loss would match its season high. Dallas has only lost two straight, but a loss tonight would mark its first three-game losing streak since Nov. 22-25. Injuries have spurred this streak from the Mavericks, who were without Zaza Pachulia (leg) in their game on Sunday. Pachulia is doubtful for the matchup in Los Angeles tonight, so look for JaVale McGee and Dwight Powell to see increased action.
Chandler Parsons has been dominant for the Mavericks after slowly working his way back from injury. Over his last three games, Parsons is averaging 29.0 points on 60.8 percent shooting, 66.7 percent from 3-point range (12-for-18), 6.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists in 39.5 minutes. The Mavericks will likely surge up the Western Conference standings if Parsons is able to sustain this level of play for a significant stretch. But before we get ahead of ourselves, let's see if he can keep it up for at least one more game tonight against the Lakers, who have the worst defensive rating in the NBA (108.4).
NBA.com staff reports