Just about the time Philadelphia seems to be turning the corner toward Finals-contender status, it falters. Such was the case on Saturday, as it lost 109-91 in Dallas after solid wins against the Thunder and Celtics before that. Things don’t get easier for the Sixers as a visit to Indiana is next (7 ET, League Pass) and they’ll be doing so again without Joel Embiid. Indiana is also struggling as it tries to figure out some lineup permutations. Still, this game may mostly be about the Sixers and whether or not they can show they’re true contenders in the East.
It’s easy (and not inaccurate) to point to the guard triumvirate of Chris Paul, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Dennis Schroder as the reason behind the Thunder being a surprising 22-17. They’ve been clutch when it matters and provided all the scoring a team could want. But as a game with the Wolves nears (8 ET, League Pass), don’t overlook the Thunder’s big men. Nerlens Noel and Steven Adams are excelling as top-of-the-key playmakers, with Adams averaging a career-best 2.7 assists per game this season. Their playmaking has become an underrated aspect to watch in OKC’s surprising rise in 2019-20.
The Lakers impressed in their last game, dominating the Thunder 125-110 on Saturday despite LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Danny Green all missing the game due to injury. As the Lakers host the Cavs tonight (10:30 ET, League Pass), Green is off the latest injury report while Davis is questionable and James is probable. Davis (tailbone) is not expected to play against Cleveland while James miss the OKC game because of flu-like symptoms. Given the state of both teams, its not unreasonable to expect the Lakers to have the advantage vs. Cleveland — even if LeBron sits out again.
On Jan. 13, 1999, Chicago Bulls star Michael Jordan announced his retirement from the NBA for the second time during his 15-year career. He did so with one of the most impressive resumes in league history — six-time NBA champion, six-time NBA Finals MVP, five-time NBA MVP, 14-time All-Star, 10-time scoring champ and two-time Olympic gold medalist.