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NBA CrunchTime ready for an exciting 9-game night

CrunchTime is back on Monday at 8:30 ET to take you through the NBA action.

A new week is here, bringing us another loaded slate of NBA action on Monday night. There are nine games tonight, each of which will have implications that can shake up the standings as teams battle to break apart from the pack.

In the East, the Milwaukee Bucks lead the way at 21-8, following the Celtics’ fall back to Earth. Only 6.5 games separate the 1-seed from the Atlanta Hawks, who currently sit in the 8-spot.

In the West, there’s even less room to breathe. Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans have enjoyed sustained success that has seen them rise to second in the conference — but only earn 3.5 games of separation from the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Wolves are currently occupying the 10-seed, putting them on the cusp of falling out of the Play-In Tournament.

With all four of these teams in action tonight, along with a talented host of stars across the league, there’s no better way to keep up than with CrunchTime on the NBA App.

Starting at 8:30 p.m. ET, watch Jared Greenberg and former NBA champion Channing Frye as they bring you all of the high-flying dunks, logo-length 3s, and late-game drama from around the Association.

The crew will also offer the latest advice in betting and fantasy to give you the boost you need to edge out the competition.

Not sure what to expect from a packed Monday? Here are some of the top storylines to look out for in tonight’s games.

Traded teammates clash in Cleveland

Mitchell faces his former team for the first time on Monday night.

Donovan Mitchell faces his former team for the first time Monday night.

It’s no secret the Cavaliers made one of the biggest splashes last summer. They landed Donovan Mitchell in a transaction that saw three players, three first-round picks, and two additional pick swaps make their way to the upstart Jazz. 

The results in Cleveland are evident as the Cavs are one of the strongest teams in the East. They are two games behind the top spot and Mitchell is leading the way with 29.5 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 4.6 assists per game.

The Cavs also boast a combo of All-Stars from last year in guard Darius Garland and center Jarrett Allen. Garland (20.8 points and 8.0 assists per game) commands a potent offense that sees Allen (13.7 points and 10.3 rebounds per game) make his mark in the low post.

On Monday, the Cavs match up with the Jazz, who, despite losing their leading man, have been one of the biggest surprises in the league thus far. The Jazz are currently two games above .500 and continue to impress with their efficient play. They’re led by a player who proved integral to last year’s Cavs, then headed to Utah in the trade with Cleveland.

Lauri Markkanen (22.3 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game) has come through multiple times this season for the Jazz in clutch moments, earning consideration as a potential All-Star himself.

His ability to score from both sides of the 3-point arc is worth noting. Markkanen is shooting 52.9% from the field on the season, and 42% from range.

Who will emerge victorious against their former teams on CrunchTime?

Lakers look to gain momentum after wild finish

Wizards-Lakers ends on a chaotic loose ball sequence that saw LeBron James make a timely assist to secure the win for L.A.

After a 119-117 win against the Wizards that saw the game swing back and forth into the final seconds, LeBron and the Lakers will try to keep it rolling against the Suns in Phoenix.

James, 37, continues to play well in Year 20, as he tallied 33 points, 7 rebounds, and 9 assists last night, lifting the Lakers as they try to cope with the month-long loss of Anthony Davis to injury.

His teammates stepped up in the victory over the Suns as well. Lonnie Walker IV put up 21 points, and big man Thomas Bryant posted a double-double (16 points, 10 rebounds) in place of Davis as the starter.

The battle-tested Suns will provide them with an intense test.

Phoenix is the 4-seed in the West, trailing the Grizzlies by only 1.5 games for the top spot in the conference.

Led by Devin Booker (28.0 points and 5.7 assists per game), the Suns continue to see success under Monty Williams, November’s Coach of the Month in the West.

Which team will walk away with the win tonight on CrunchTime?

MVP candidates matchup In Milwaukee

Giannis Is In The Midst Of Another MVP Campaign

Giannis is in the midst of another MVP campaign.

The Bucks are the best team in the East. And it is no surprise that Giannis Antetokounmpo has been the reason why. The Greek Freak is averaging 30.6 points, 11.1 rebounds, and 5.3 assists per contest this season. 

He has been the force that has seen Milwaukee win seven of their last 10 games, as he sits second in the latest Kia MVP Ladder.

On the opposing side, the youthful Pelicans have also been dominant this year.

With an MVP candidate of their own, Zion currently sits at the sixth spot on the Kia MVP Ladder, and he has solidified his case of late.

Over his last 10 games, Zion has done it all, putting up 29.7 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 5.9 assists. The second-seeded Pelicans have won seven of those 10.

Two of the league’s most overwhelming talents and formidable teams square off Monday. Which squad will prove strongest Monday? Tune in to CrunchTime to find out.

The red-hot Magic take on the Hawks

The Orlando Magic have been absolutely flying lately. They are on a six-game winning streak in which they have beaten the likes of the Celtics and Raptors twice — the Celtics in back-to-back contests — and have taken down both the Hawks and Clippers.

With a win tonight, Orlando would extend their winning streak to seven, which would be the longest by the franchise since the 2010-11 season, when Dwight Howard, Stan Van Gundy and a talented host of creators, including Jason Richardson, Vince Carter and Gilbert Arenas, took the team to 52 wins. 

The efforts of rookie Paolo Banchero (22.0 points and 6.8 rebounds per game), who has firmly held onto his spot atop the Kia Rookie Ladder, have paved the way for this year’s success in Orlando.

On the other hand, Atlanta has continued to be competitive, including taking one from the Hornets 125-106 on Friday. The Hawks are 15-15 on the year. 

In their last time facing the Magic, a 135-124 shootout loss, six different players scored 15 or more points and Trae Young dropped 16 assists.

See if the Magic can keep their streak alive, and much more tonight on CrunchTime, streaming on the NBA App. Here’s the full slate for an exciting Monday night.

7 p.m. ET: Jazz @ Cavaliers

7 p.m. ET: Raptors @ 76ers

7:30 p.m. ET: Magic @ Hawks

8 p.m. ET: Spurs @ Rockets

8 p.m. ET: Mavericks @ Timberwolves

8 p.m. ET: Bucks @ Pelicans

8 p.m. ET: Trail Blazers @ Thunder

9 p.m. ET: Lakers @ Suns

10 p.m. ET: Hornets @ Kings