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5 NBA things to know for Feb. 11

Some key storylines and NBA tidbits to know for the day ahead

Jeff Case, NBA.com

1. A terrific showdown in Philly …

With just three days to go until NBA All-Star 2020, it’s hard not to get excited about the looming parade of superstars. Three of the players in the All-Star Game — Kawhi Leonard, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons — will be on the court for tonight’s Clippers-Sixers showdown (7 ET, TNT). Throw in that this is the first time Embiid, Simmons and Co. have faced off against Leonard since the 2019 Eastern Conference semifinals and this game gets an added level of intrigue. Keep an eye on the Sixers’ Furkan Korkmaz, who has been hot of late and is coming off back-to-back 30-point games.

2. … And another one in Houston, too

Lest you think the All-Star fun is only reserved for an East coast game, the Rockets and Celtics meet (9:30 ET, TNT) in a game featuring four more All-Stars (Kemba Walker, Jayson Tatum, James Harden and Russell Westbrook). Walker has lost his last three matchups to Westbrook-led teams, but this marks the first time they’re going at each other with their new squads. Harden’s scoring is still down a bit (27.5 ppg over his last 15 games) while Westbrook’s is rising (35.7 ppg in last seven games). Tatum, the newest East Player of the Week, is surging in his efficiency since Dec. 1, particularly when it comes to drives to the hoop.

3. Williamson ready to return vs. Blazers

All throughout his injury rehab process, Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson has embraced the long-term view when it comes to playing or not. He was held out of Saturday’s win against the Pacers because of a sprained right ankle, but is fully expected to suit up against Portland (8 ET, League Pass). This matchup could be decided by 3-pointers, though, as both teams are in the Top 5 in 3-point percentage and the Top 10 in 3-pointers made per game. Over the last 10 games, no one has shot 3-pointers better than Portland (43.1%) and, not surprisingly, the Blazers are 7-3 during that stretch.

4. On this date: Iverson’s first All-Star MVP

In one of the greatest comebacks in All-Star Game history, the Eastern Conference stormed back from a 21-point deficit to the Western Conference in the game’s final nine minutes to claim a 111-110 victory. Allen Iverson won the first of his two career All-Star Game MVPs (the other came in 2005) by scoring 15 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter to power the East’s big rally.

5. The legend of Dr. Jerry Buss

As the owner of the Los Angeles Lakers from 1979-2013, Dr. Jerry Buss oversaw one of the greatest stretches in sports and entertainment history. His beloved Lakers made it to the Finals 16 times – nearly half of his 33 seasons – and won 10 championships while missing the playoffs only twice. Lakers.com talked to those who knew the departed owner best in a must-read oral history.

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