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4 NBA things to know for Feb. 4

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

1. Can Lillard keep things rolling?

Sometimes, an NBA player is just in a zone for a stretch of games. If you need an example of this theory, look no further than Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard. He is averaging 48.8 points per game over his last six games and is fresh off a 51-point demolishing of the Utah Jazz on Saturday night. The Blazers visit the Nuggets tonight (9 ET, League Pass) in a showdown that will surely test Denver’s backcourt. As much as eyes will be tuned to Lillard vs. everybody in a Nuggets uni, don’t overlook a good center matchup tonight, too, between All-Star Nikola Jokic and Portland’s Hassan Whiteside.

2. The present vs. the future in Milwaukee

Watching the work reigning Kia MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo puts in on the regular is always something to take in. But it wasn’t that long ago that he was a spry rookie trying to find his way in the NBA hierarchy. Zion Williamson is hardly the same type of youngster Antetokounmpo was, but perhaps he could be a future Kia MVP winner someday, too? We’re getting too far ahead of ourselves, of course, but its food for thought tonight as the Bucks host the Pelicans (7:30 ET, TNT). As much as that matchup will overtake the spotlight, though, don’t sleep on just how smart of a passing team the Bucks are this season.

3. Can Spurs find road success?

The first game of San Antonio’s rodeo road trip didn’t go as expected as it lost to the LA Clippers, 108-105, on Monday. The path doesn’t to success doesn’t get easier as the Lakers await the Spurs next (10:30 ET, TNT). The task is made even tougher by the play of Lakers forward Anthony Davis of late as he’s averaging 29.7 points, 8.7 rebounds and 4.7 assists, while shooting 60.4% in the team’s last three games. The Lakers might be particularly motivated tonight, too, by history: they can complete a season series sweep of San Antonio for the first time in 20 years.

4. On this date: ‘Larry Legend’ immortalized

Back on Feb. 4, 1993, virtually everyone at the Boston Celtics’ game that night was there to see someone who didn’t play anymore. In a special two-hour ceremony celebrating his storied playing career, Larry Bird’s No. 33 Celtics jersey was retired at sold-out Boston Garden.