Charlotte Hornets vs. New York Knicks
• The Knicks enter MLK Day on a three-game win streak that coincides with a great stretch of play from RJ Barrett. During the streak, he is averaging 29.7 points on 53.2% shooting from the field and 56.3% from 3-point range on 5.3 attempts per game. Mitchell Robinson (15.3 ppg, 11.3 rpg) and Julius Randle (14.3 ppg, 10.0 rpg) are both averaging double-doubles.
• The Hornets won the first meeting with the Knicks, 104-96 on Nov. 12, behind a combined 46 points from Miles Bridges (24) and Gordon Hayward (22) as well as LaMelo Ball’s near triple-double with 12 points, a career-high 17 rebounds, nine assists and a career-high-tying five steals. The Hornets held Barrett to a career-low-tying two points on 1-for-9 shooting; Hayward defended Barrett for 5:32 (50.9% of Barrett’s offensive matchup time) and held him scoreless on 0-for-4 shooting.
• These teams are polar opposites in pace as the Hornets rank second in the league (101.36 possessions per 48 minutes) while the Knicks play at the league’s slowest pace (95.5). Charlotte ranks third in fast-break points (15.4 ppg), while New York ranks fifth in fewest fast-break points allowed (11.2 ppg).
Chicago Bulls vs. Memphis Grizzlies
• The Bulls enter MLK Day having lost three straight (their longest losing streak of the season) and four of their last five games, but remain atop the Eastern Conference standings by a half time over Brooklyn. During this losing streak, the Bulls defense has allowed league highs of 130.0 points per game and 53.9% shooting. Prior to this losing streak, the Bulls ranked 12th in opponent points per game (107.0) and 16th in opponent field goal percentage (45.4%)
• DeMar DeRozan ranks second in clutch scoring this season with 78 points in 63 minutes. DeRozan is shooting 55.0% (22-40) from the field, including 2-2 from 3-point range (both game-winning buzzer-beaters on back-to-back nights) and 88.9% (32-36) from the free throw line in clutch situations. No player has made more clutch free throws this year than DeRozan.
• Memphis leads the league in points in the paint (55.5 ppg), while the Bulls allow the 12th-most points in the paint (47.6 ppg). The Bulls lead the NBA in mid-range scoring (16.0 ppg on 44.2% shooting), while the Grizzlies allow 9.2 ppg on 41.1% shooting (12th-highest) on mid-range shots.
Milwaukee Bucks vs. Atlanta Hawks
• The Hawks won the first meeting of the season with the Bucks, 120-100 on Nov. 14, behind Trae Young’s 42 points, eight 3-pointers, 10 assists and eight rebounds. There have been four games this season in which a player has had at least 40 points and 10 assists — Young has the last two such games, while Stephen Curry and Ja Morant have the two others. Since he entered the league in 2018-19, Young has nine 40-10 games, second only to James Harden’s 14 during that time.
• Trae Young is averaging a league-high 14.4 points per game on pick-and-roll ball handler plays so far this season. After finishing ninth his rookie season (7.8 ppg in 2018-19), Young has finished second (15.3 ppg in 2019-20) and first (13.9 ppg in 2020-21) the past two seasons. However, his efficiency this season (0.94 points per possession) is down slightly from each of the past two seasons (0.98 ppp).
Utah Jazz vs. Los Angeles Lakers
• Rudy Gobert returned to the lineup after missing five games, bringing the NBA’s most-used five-man lineup back together. This season, the lineup of Mike Conley, Bojan Bogdanovic, Rudy Gobert, Royce O’Neale and Donovan Mitchell has shared the court for 462 minutes over 29 games and outscored opponents by a league-high 129 points.
• LeBron James has scored at least 25 points in 13 straight games, a run that began on Dec. 19, 2021 and has seen him average 33.5 points on 54.2% shooting. LeBron’s 13-game run is the longest active streak in the NBA and the second-longest posted this season behind 17 from Young (Nov. 22-Jan. 7).
• The Jazz average a league-best 27.1 points per game on pick-and-roll ball handler plays. Gobert averages a league-high 6.7 screen assists that produce 16.3 points per game for Utah. The Lakers have allowed 16.1 points per game on pick-and-roll ball handler play so far this season (12th fewest) with opponents posting at 44.2% effective field goal percentage (4th lowest).