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4 NBA things to know for Jan. 9
Some key storylines and NBA tidbits to know for the day ahead
Jeff Case, NBA.com
In 11 seasons, Russell Westbrook amassed all kinds of stats, won a Kia MVP and went on a run to The Finals with the Oklahoma City Thunder. After being dealt to the Houston Rockets this summer, his return is finally here (9:30 ET, TNT). Emotions are sure to run high for Westbrook and his former fans and, all that aside, this should be a great game. Since reaching .500 on Dec. 20, the Thunder rank No. 3 in guard scoring (76 ppg) — two spots higher than Houston in that category. The Rockets are coming off a thrilling game in Atlanta last night that featured an epic James Harden vs. Trae Young duel.
The lack of Joel Embiid (left finger injury) in this one takes a little luster off the matchup (7 ET, TNT). It remains an interesting game nonetheless, though, because of the direction the Celtics and Sixers are heading of late. Philadelphia is fresh off a win against Oklahoma City (the game in which Embiid first injured his finger), while Boston has lost two in a row after notching eight wins in nine games.
If you missed it last night, the Heat-Pacers game was a bit of a blowout. Miami won 122-108 on the road, but the bigger storyline from this one was the third-quarter war of words and shoves the Heat’s Jimmy Butler and T.J. Warren got into. Warren was ultimately ejected from the game for his actions against Butler during that dust-up and it will be interesting to see what happens next in this — either with more social media commentary or perhaps a rebuttal from Warren.
From Nov. 5, 1971 until Jan. 9, 1972, the Lakers made NBA history with their run of 33 straight victories. However, that streak came to an end in Milwaukee as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar notched 39 points and 20 rebounds to power a 120-104 Bucks win.