Note: All stats and records through games played on Sunday, Feb. 21
Trail Blazers (18-11) at Suns (19-10)
It’s a battle between two of the most clutch players in the game – Damian Lillard ranks second in the league with 82 clutch points (on 61.5% shooting from the field, 58.8% on 3-pointers and 100% on free throws), and Chris Paul ranks fifth with 63 clutch points this season and let the entire league last season with 150 clutch points.
The Suns and Blazers enter the week ranked fourth and fifth in the Western Conference; could this game turn out to be a first-round playoff preview? This is the first meeting of the season between the Suns and Blazers; they split last year’s seasons series with the four games separated by just one point.
Kings (12-18) at Nets (20-12)
The Nets enter Week 10 riding a six-game win streak – the longest active streak in the league, as they just swept the Pacific Division in five straight road games. One of those wins came in Sacramento as Kyrie Irving (40 points, nine 3-pointers made) and the Nets set a franchise record with 27 3-pointers on 47 attempts (57.4%). The Nets became the fifth team to ever shoot 57% or better when attempting at least 40 3-pointers in a game.
While the Nets are the hottest team in the league at the moment, the Kings are looking to get back on track as they have lost seven straight games. Prior to this losing streak, the Kings had won seven of eight games; is it time for the pendulum to swing back in the wins direction?
Warriors (16-15) at Knicks (15-16)
Stephen Curry at The Garden – need I say more. Just a reminder that Curry posted the first 50-point game of his career at Madison Square Garden against the Knicks back in 2013. That 54-point performance remained his career high until this season as he has topped that mark twice already.
The Knicks are currently seventh in the Eastern Conference with Julius Randle making a strong push for All-Star consideration from the league’s coaches. He is one of four players averaging at least 20 points, 10 rebounds and five assists this season.
Raptors (16-15) at Heat (13-17)
The last two teams to represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals meet for the third time this season after splitting their first two meetings on Jan. 20 and 22 in Toronto. The Heat are back at full strength and coming off a 96-94 win over the Lakers in a Finals rematch.
Since returning to the Heat on Jan. 30, Jimmy Butler has averaged 21.1 points, 9.0 rebounds, 8.7 assists and 1.8 steals over the past 12 games. Pascal Siakam is one of four other players besides Butler to average at least 20 points, five rebounds, five assists and 1.5 steals over the past dozen games.
Timberwolves (7-24) at Bulls (13-16)
Anthony Edwards just had the dunk of the year on Friday night against the Raptors. Now the rookie will face another high-flier in Zach LaVine – the two-time winner of the Slam Dunk contest at NBA All-Star 2015 and 2016.
— NBA (@NBA) February 20, 2021
Speaking of All-Star, LaVine is looking to earn his first selection with the announcement of the reserves on Tuesday. LaVine is averaging career highs across the board (28.9 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 5.1 apg) and enters Week 10 ranked sixth in the league in scoring average and first in clutch scoring (85 total points in 74 minutes).
Hornets (14-15) at Warriors (16-15)
The Hornets defeated the Warriors in a wild finish on Saturday night, with Terry Rozier hitting an off-balance jumper from the left corner as time expired to give the Hornets a 102-100 win. It was Terry’s fourth-straight 30-point game – the longest streak in his career and tied with Zach LaVine and Damian Lillard for the longest active streak in the league.
Stephen Curry missed the game due to illness, but coach Steve Kerr is hopeful he’ll be able to return Tuesday so he most likely will be available for this game on Friday. Seeing Curry square of with rookie sensation LaMelo Ball should be entertaining in its own right.
Jazz (24-6) at Magic (13-18)
Utah saw its nine-game win streak snapped on Friday against the Clippers, but the Jazz still enter Week 10 with the best record in the league and a must-watch when they pop up on League Pass. Rudy Gobert (14.0 ppg, 13.5 rpg, 2.7 bpg) ranks second in the league in both rebounding and blocks and is likely headed to his second straight All-Star Game. The same can be said for Donovan Mitchell, who is averaging a team-high and career-high 24.6 ppg and dishing out 5.1 apg as well.
They will face an Orlando squad that enters Week 10 having won three straight and four of its last five games. The Magic have an All-Star candidate of their own in Nikola Vucevic (24.1 ppg, 11.7 rpg); how will he fare when matched up with Gobert? In their two meetings last season, Gobert held Vucevic to 23 total points on 8-25 (32%) shooting in 14:32 of matchup time.