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NBA League Pass Games to Watch: Week 4

Each week throughout the season, we’ll dive into the schedule to highlight some of the best matchups you can catch only on NBA League Pass.

Brian Martin, for NBA.com

Jamal Murray and Donovan Mitchell meet for the first time since their epic scoring duel in last year’s playoffs.

Each week throughout the season, we’ll dive into the schedule to highlight some of the best matchups you can catch only on NBA League Pass.

(Note: All stats and records are from games played through Jan. 11, 2021.)


Jan. 12

Denver Nuggets (5-5) at Brooklyn Nets (5-6)
7:30 p.m. ET, NBA League Pass

The Nuggets opened the season losing four of their first five games, and not resembling the team that advanced to the Western Conference finals just a few months ago. But the new year has treated the Nuggets well as they enter Tuesday’s game in Brooklyn having won four of their last five games. Nikola Jokic is the only player in the NBA averaging a triple-double through the season’s first three weeks. He’s 17th in points (24.4 ppg), eighth in rebounds (11.2 rpg) and second in assists (10.4 apg).

Nikola Jokic is off to a historic start in 2020-21.

The Nets enter Tuesday having lost back-to-back games for the third time in their first 11 games of 2020-21. Kevin Durant returned to the lineup on Sunday against OKC, but his 36-point, 11-rebound performance wasn’t enough to hold off the Thunder. Through his first seven games in Brooklyn, Durant is averaging 29.3 ppg (2nd in NBA) while shooting 51.6% overall and a career-best 42.5% on 3-pointers. The last time Durant scoring average was this high over the course of a season? His Kia MVP campaign of 2013-14, which is the same season he won his fourth and most recent scoring title (32.0 ppg). Kyrie Irving remains out of the lineup, so Brooklyn will be shorthanded as they look to avoid a three-game skid.


Jan. 13

Dallas Mavericks (5-4) at Charlotte Hornets (6-5)
7 p.m. ET, NBA League Pass

After missing the first nine games of the season, Kristaps Porzingis was set to make his 2020-21 season debut on Monday before the Mavs-Pelicans game was postponed. That means our first glimpse of “The Unicorn” this season will come on NBA League Pass when the Mavs take on the Hornets. The Mavs went 5-4 without Porzingis in the lineup, but his return should open things up even more for Luka Doncic, who has recorded triple-doubles in two of the three games of Dallas’ win streak entering the week.

With a 109-88 win over New York on Monday, the Hornets have won four straight games — their longest win streak since April 3-9 in 2019). This game features a clash of two exciting young playmakers in Doncic and rookie Hornets rookie LaMelo Ball. On Saturday, Ball became the youngest player in NBA history to record a triple-double (19 years, 190 days) and has averaged 13.8 ppg, 11.0 rpg and 8.0 apg during the win streak. Gordon Hayward, Charlotte’s offseason free-agent acquisition, is hot as well, averaging 29.3 ppg on 55.4% shooting (50% on 3-pointers) and 92.3% on free throws during the win streak.


Jan. 14

Indiana Pacers (6-4) at Portland Trail Blazers (6-4)
10 p.m. ET, NBA League Pass 

The Pacers and Blazers are 6-4 through 10 games, but while the Blazers have won three in a row entering Tuesday, the Pacers have lost back-to-back games for the first time all season.

Portland’s third straight win came on Monday thanks to CJ McCollum’s second game-winning shot of the season. McCollum leads the Blazers in scoring at 28.1 ppg (3rd in NBA), his 47.8% shooting is the second-best mark of his career and his 44.5% mark on 3-pointers is a career-best. He’s also made a league-leading 49 3-pointers so far this season.

The Pacers are one of two teams — along with the Houston Rockets — to have three players averaging at least 20 points per game. For the Pacers, that trio is leading scorer Malcolm Brogdon (23.5 ppg), Domantas Sabonis (22.2 ppg, 12.4 rpg, 5.8 apg) and Victor Oladipo (20.0 ppg). Sabonis is also one of only four players to average at least 20 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists in 2020-21 (reigning two-time Kia MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo was the only player to accomplish that feat last season).


Jan. 15

Golden State Warriors (6-4) at Phoenix Suns (7-4)
9 p.m. ET, NBA League Pass
 

There are only three active players in the NBA that have scored at least 62 points in a game — and two will meet in this game as Stephen Curry (62 points on Jan. 3, 2021) and the Warriors take on Devin Booker (70 points on March 24, 2017) and the Suns. (How many of you knew that Carmelo Anthony — 62 points on Jan. 24, 2014 — had the other 62-point game before clicking the link above?)

Devin Booker and Stephen Curry are set to square off on Friday night.

Curry and Booker can explode offensively at any time, so keeping an eye on their games on League Pass is a must. Curry is tied for second with five 30+ point games in 10 games played so far this season. However, in two of his last three outings he has been held under 15 points and shot a combined 2-for-16 on 3-pointers. Will he be able to get loose against a Suns defense that allows the third-fewest 3-pointers made per game this season?

Booker has scored at least 20 points in seven straight games and has been held below 20 points only once this season. Playing alongside Chris Paul, Booker’s usage rate (28.7%) is at its lowest since his sophomore season back in 2016-17, but his effective field goal percentage (54.9%) is a career best. The Suns entered 2020-21 riding the momentum of their 8-0 Orlando bubble run and, despite a loss in Washington on Monday, they’re the No. 3 seed in the West.

Jan. 17

Utah Jazz (6-4) at Denver Nuggets (5-5)
8 p.m. ET, NBA League Pass
 

We highlighted this game in our League Pass watch guide for the first half of the season as it marks the first 2020-21 meeting between Donovan Mitchell and Jamal Murray since last season’s playoff duel. After trading shots for seven games in last season’s opening round — and setting the record with 475 combined points by opponents in a playoff series — will this rivalry pick up where it left off?

Take a look back at the Mitchell vs. Murray playoff duel.

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