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5 NBA things to know for Jan. 30
Some key storylines and NBA tidbits to know for the day ahead
Jeff Case, NBA.com
The starters for the 2020 All-Star Game are all set (and have been for a week). But who will get the reserve nods in the Eastern Conference and Western Conference? No doubt there are plenty of ways to discuss and debate this, but come 7 p.m. ET on TNT, we’ll know how it all shakes out. For the time being, take a listen to who the “Inside The NBA” guys had tabbed as their East and West reserves.
Toronto has been in a groove of late, having won eight in a row and jetting past the Miami Heat for the No. 2 spot in the East. Based on records alone, the Raptors’ road game with the Cleveland Cavaliers (7 ET, League Pass) may not be on your radar. But, before you skip past this one, consider how well Toronto has been playing over the last 15 days. That’s how long their win streak has been running and during that stretch, they’re No. 2 in Net Rating (11.2), No. 3 in Effective Field Goal percentage (58.2%) and have seen forward Norman Powell (18.1 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 44.2 3-point percentage) step up as well.
Boston improved to 2-0 against the Miami Heat after an impressive road win on Tuesday. Other than a Saturday showdown with the Philadelphia 76ers, the Celtics have a run of fairly easy games coming along. The first of which is tonight as the Golden State Warriors visit (8 ET, TNT), who — if you haven’t been paying attention — are the West’s worst team. Five of Boston’s next six games are against teams under .500 (Jan. 30 vs. Golden State, Feb. 3 in Atlanta, Feb. 5 vs. Orlando and Feb. 7 vs. Atlanta). In short, this could be a prime opportunity for Boston to gain a little ground in the playoff chase.
Based on current configurations, the 2019-20 Northwest Division title seems destined to land in Utah or Denver. As the Nuggets host the Jazz tonight (10 ET, TNT), there are almost too many interesting matchups to keep tabs on. Utah leads the NBA in 3-point percentage (38.4%) while Denver allows the second-lowest 3-point percentage (33.6%) in the NBA. Then, of course, there’s the center matchup of the defensive-minded Rudy Gobert taking on Denver’s offensive-minded Nikola Jokic. Throw in Donovan Mitchell vs. Denver’s stout perimeter defense, a variety of X-factor-type players on both rosters and this one should be juicy.
Back on Jan. 30, 1996, Magic Johnson of the Los Angeles Lakers came out of retirement, helping lead the Lakers to 128-118 victory over Golden State at the Great Western Forum. In his first game in more than five years, Johnson had 19 points, eight rebounds and 10 assists.