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NBA League Pass Games to Watch: Week 16

Here's a closer look at some of the top matchups of the week available exclusively on NBA League Pass.

Brian Martin, for NBA.com

The Jazz have won nine straight games for the third time this season; no other team has won more than eight straight.

Monday, April 5

Utah at Dallas
7 p.m. ET, NBA League Pass

The Jazz enter Week 16 riding a nine-game win streak. Not only is it the longest active streak in the league, it is Utah’s third streak of at least nine straight wins this season. No other team has won more than eight in a row (Atlanta, Brooklyn, Milwaukee). During their current streak (which dates back to March 19), Donovan Mitchell has averaged 28.1 points on 53.1%-51.6%-95.3% shooting splits, while Rudy Gobert has averaged 15.7 ppg on 68.9% shooting, 12.0 rpg and 3.3 bpg. Utah has outscored its opponents by 166 points in Gobert’s 267 minutes on court during the streak. On Monday, the Jazz face a Mavericks squad that has won four straight games for the fourth time this season, but is still searching for a five-game win streak. Dallas is also looking for its first win over Utah as the Jazz swept a two-game series in late January.

Tuesday, April 6

Portland at LA Clippers
10 p.m. ET, NBA League Pass

As Week 16 begins, we are in the final third of the 2020-21 regular season as 68.2% of the schedule has already been played. With the race to the playoffs in full swing, there is plenty to keep an eye on, from the battles among the top seeds for home-court advantage, to the race to get in the Play-In Tournament among the No. 7-10 seeds in each conference. If the playoffs began today, the third-ranked Clippers and sixth-ranked Blazers would meet in the first round. The Clippers won the first meeting of the season with the Blazers, 128-105 on Dec. 30 in LA, behind Kawhi Leonards 28-point effort. Tuesday is the second of three regular season games between these teams with a potential playoff matchup looming. While Damian Lillard ranks second in the league in scoring (29.6 ppg), he has been held in check by the Clippers over the past two seasons with Paul George and Leonard on the squad. In four games, Lillard has averaged 20 points on 36.0% (27-75) shooting from the field and 18.9% (7-37) from three as the Blazers have lost all four games. Is Dame ready for a breakout game against LA?

Wednesday, April 7

New York at Boston
7:30 p.m. ET, NBA League Pass

The Knicks and Celtics are both in the midst of the East’s Play-In Tournament mix.

The Knicks and Celtics enter Week 16 at 25-25 and ranked seventh and eighth, respectively, in the Eastern Conference standings. The addition of the Play-In Tournament adds multiple races to watch. Not only do you have teams doing whatever they can do to finish in the top 10 in order to qualify for the tournament and keep their playoff hopes alive, you also have the teams in the No. 5-8 range looking to finish in the top six in order to guarantee their playoff berth and avoid having to survive the Play-In. The latter group is where the Knicks and Celtics currently live. If the season ended today, they would meet in the Play-In Tournament, but the East standings so crowded (currently there are only three games separating No. 4 and No. 9) there is an opportunity to climb the standings and lock up a playoff spot. With so many teams in this race, head-to-head games like Wednesday’s game between the Celtics and Knicks take on the added importance of potential tiebreakers; New York leads the season series 1-0 with two more games yet to be played, including the final game of the regular season.

Thursday, April 8

Milwaukee at Dallas
9 p.m. ET, NBA League Pass

The Bucks held Giannis Antetokounmpo (left knee soreness) out of the lineup against Sacramento on Saturday, but the Bucks still got the win thanks to a season-high 33 points (as well as 11 assists) from Jrue Holiday, who signed a four-year contract extension  one day later. Giannis is not expected to miss extended time, so he should be available to join Holiday and the rest of the squad when they take on Luka Doncic and the Mavericks on Thursday. Giannis is 3-1 in head-to-head games with Doncic, including their first meeting this season on Jan. 15. Giannis finished with 31 points on 14-21 shooting and nine rebounds, while Doncic recorded one of nine triple-doubles this season with 28 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds in the loss. Both teams enter Week 16 riding win streaks — three in a row for Milwaukee and four in a row for Dallas.

Friday, April 9

Philadelphia at New Orleans
8 p.m. ET, NBA League Pass

After missing 10 games due to a bone bruise in his left knee, Joel Embiid return to the Sixers on Saturday and finished with 24 points, eight rebounds and three blocks in 29 minutes in a win over Minnesota. Tobias Harris continued his strong play as he led the Sixers with 32 points on 13-17 (76.5%) shooting from the field, 66.7% (2-3) from 3-point range and 100% (4-4) from the free throw line. Harris needs to raise his free throw percentage by just 0.1% to be in the 50-40-90 shooting club. If he could finish the season hitting those marks he would join an exclusive club that includes only eight NBA players. Speaking of shooting efficiency, the Sixers will face Zion Williamson and the Pelicans on Friday. Williamson ranks sixth in the league in field goal percentage as he connects on 62.4% of his shots (444-712). Williamson is on pace to make over 500 field goals this season. If he does and maintains this level of efficiency, he would become only the third player to ever shoot at least 62% from the field while making 500 field goals in a season, joining Hall of Famers Artis Gilmore (four times) and Wilt Chamberlain (one time).

Saturday, April 10

Washington at Phoenix
10 p.m. ET, NBA League Pass

The Suns enter Week 16 sitting 3 1/2 games back of the top-seeded Jazz in the West. While the Suns have won five straight, they have been unable to make up any ground since the Jazz have won nine straight games. Phoenix has built a 2 1/2 game cushion over the No. 3 Clippers as they look to solidify their playoff position. On the opposite side of the playoff spectrum are the Washington Wizards, who have dropped three straight games and find themselves on the outside looking in at the East Play-In. Bradley Beal has not played since March 27 with a right hip contusion and the Wizards have gone just 1-3 in his absence. He is questionable for Monday, but hopefully will be healthy come Saturday. Beal scored 34 points against Phoenix in their first meeting on Jan. 11 as the Wizards handed the Suns their second-biggest loss of the season (21 points). Beal edged out Devin Booker (33) in the individual scoring battle and the Wizards were able to get the win even with Russell Westbrook out of the lineup.

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