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NBA League Pass Games to Watch: Week 5

These are some of the top matchups this week as NBA League Pass has a free trial week going on (Jan. 18-24).

Brian Martin, for NBA.com

Damian Lillard and Ja Morant meet for the first time since last season’s Play-In Game.

NBA League Pass is offering a free trial this week (Jan. 18-24). To take full advantage, here are seven games to catch this week only on NBA League Pass.

(Note: All stats and records are from games played through Jan. 17, 2021.)

Jan. 18

Houston Rockets at Chicago Bulls
8:00 p.m. ET, NBA League Pass

Victor Oladipo is set to make his Rockets debut Monday in Chicago as the Rockets take on the Bulls. Oladipo was acquired from Indiana following the blockbuster deal that sent James Harden to Brooklyn and began a new era for the Rockets. How will the trio of John Wall, Oladipo and Christian Wood (one of five players averaging at least 23 points and 10 boards) look in their first action together?

Jan. 20

Brooklyn Nets at Cleveland Cavaliers
7:00 p.m. ET, NBA League Pass

Take advantage of any chance to see this new-look Nets squad come together, because if their first game was any indicator, they are going to be must-see TV. Behind James Harden’s huge triple-double (first 30-point triple-double ever in a team debut) and Kevin Durant’s season-high 42 points, the Nets defeated Orlando on Saturday. After an MLK Day matchup with Milwaukee, the Nets will open a back-to-back with Cleveland — a team that has exceeded expectations through the first month of the season.

Memphis Grizzlies at Portland Trail Blazers
10:00 p.m. ET, NBA League Pass

The last time these two teams met was in the first-ever NBA Play-In Game to decide the eighth and final spot in the Western Conference playoffs. The Blazers defeated the Grizzlies 126-122 in a thrilling game to keep the Grizzlies out of the playoffs for the third straight season. Memphis enters this week riding a four-game win streak and just got reigning Kia Rookie of the Year Ja Morant back after a missing eight games with an ankle injury. Meanwhile, the Blazers are 8-5 entering this week behind Damian Lillard (27.6 ppg), the fifth-leading scorer in the league.

Luka Doncic is averaging 30.9 points, 12.7 rebounds and 11.1 assists through the first seven games of January.

Jan. 22

Miami Heat at Toronto Raptors
7:30 p.m. ET, NBA League Pass

The last two teams to represent the Eastern Conference in The Finals meet for a pair of games this week (Wednesday and Friday) in Tampa (the temporary home of the Raptors). If either teams hopes to make a return The Finals, they will need to overcome a slow start to the season. Miami enters this week at 4-7 and having lost three straight games, while Toronto is 4-8 but has won two straight.

Dallas Mavericks at San Antonio Spurs
8:30 p.m. ET, NBA League Pass

It’s an intra-state clash between these Texas squads that enter the week within a half-game of each other in the standings. Since the calendar flipped to January, Luka Doncic has recorded four triple-doubles and put up averages of 30.9 points (3rd in NBA), 12.7 rebounds (6th) and 11.1 assists (1st) over seven games. The Mavs also have Kristaps Porzingis back in the lineup; he has averaged 17 points in his first three games. For the Spurs, they have seven players averaging in double figures, led by DeMar DeRozan at 20.7 ppg. Dejounte Murray (15.8 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 5.2 apg) joins Doncic and seven others as the only players to average at least 15-7-5 so far this season.

Jan. 23

Denver Nuggets at Phoenix Suns
9:00 p.m. ET, NBA League Pass

This is the second meeting of the season between the Nuggets and Suns and their first game came down to the wire on New Year’s Day with the Suns prevailing 106-103 thanks to a clutch jumper by Chris Paul in the game’s final 10 seconds. Paul (21), Devin Booker (22) and Deandre Ayton (22) led a balanced attack from Phoenix, while Denver was led by Jamal Murray’s 31 points and Nikola Jokic’s near triple-double (17 pts, 11 ast, 9 reb). So far this season, the Suns are 3-3 in games featuring clutch time (score within five points in final five minutes), while the Nuggets are just 1-6.

Jan. 24

Sacramento Kings at Memphis Grizzlies
8:00 p.m. ET, NBA League Pass

It’s speed vs. speed as two of the most dynamic and athletic point guards — Sacramento’s De’Aaron Fox and Memphis’ Ja Morant — square off. Fox closed out Week 4 with one of the best performances of his young career as he finished with a career-high 43 points, 13 assists, 4 steals and 4 rebounds in a loss to New Orleans. It was the first 40-10 game of the Sacramento Kings era (which began in 1985). Morant returned to the court on Saturday after missing eight games with an ankle sprain and if this play is any indication, the ankle appears to be just fine.

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