Tune-In Tidbits: ESPN/ABC Saturday, April 24, 2021
Get ready for Saturday's action on ESPN and ABC with five key stats to know about each matchup.
Brian Martin, for NBA.com
Raptors (25-34) at Knicks (33-27)
1 p.m. ET, ESPN
• New York goes for its ninth straight win today when they host Toronto at MSG. The last time the Knicks won at least nine in a row was eight years ago when they won 13 straight from March 18 to April 9, 2013.
• During New York’s eight-game win streak – the longest active streak in the NBA – Julius Randle has averaged 30.0 points, 9.0 rebounds and 6.9 assists in 40.8 minutes per game, while five other Knicks are averaging double-figure points. Rookie Immanuel Quickly is averaging 18.9 minutes per game, but the Knicks have outscored their opponents by 87 points in those 151 total minutes.
• The Raptors enter Saturday riding a four-game win streak — matching their longest streak of the season. During the streak, OG Anunoby and Pascal Siakam have led the Raptors in scoring at 23.5 ppg apiece with each appearing in two of the four games. Chris Boucher was the top scorer (14.5 ppg) and rebounder (9.0) among players that appeared in all four games, but he is out after suffering a sprained MCL.
• The Raptors and Knicks have split their first two meetings of the season, with New York winning most recently on April 11. Julius Randle scored a game-high 26 points, with 14 of those points coming while being defended by Pascal Siakam. In 6:25 of matchup time, Randle shot 4-9 from the field with Siakam blocking three of his shot attempts, 0-3 from 3-point range, and 6-6 from the free throw line. In nearly the same matchup time (6:36), Randle held Siakam to 10 points on 4-10 shooting, 1-3 from three and 1-1 from the foul line.
• Nerlens Noel ranks fourth in the NBA in blocks (2.2 per game) and third in rim protection as he holds opponents to 50.1% shooting at the basket while he’s defending. Noel has blocked at least two shots in 10 consecutive games; that is the longest active streak in the league, and four shy of Rudy Gobert’s 14-game run for the longest streak of the season.
76ers (39-20) at Bucks (36-22)
3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
• This is the second meeting in three days and the final matchup of the regular season between the Bucks and Sixers. The Bucks go for the season sweep as they are coming off a 124-117 win on Thursday behind a combined 51 points from Giannis Antetokounmpo (27 points, 16 rebounds and six assists) and Khris Middleton (24 points, five assists). Giannis has 41 career games with at least 25 points, 15 rebounds and five assists; since 1983-84, only Charles Barkley (66) and Kevin Garnett (50) have more such games.
• The Bucks held Joel Embiid to 24 points on 9-21 shooting and a season-low three rebounds as the Bucks dominated the glass 45-33 overall. Brook Lopez was the primary defender on Embiid for 7:55 (72.5% of Embiid’s matchup time); Embiid scored 21 points on 9-19 shooting from the field, 0-4 from 3-point range and 3-3 from the free throw line against Lopez.
• The Bucks scored the first 10 points of the game and won the first quarter 40-26 as they never trailed on Thursday. The Bucks rank third in first-quarter scoring (30.5 ppg) and take an average lead of 2.7 points into the second period. The Sixers are 7-11 this season when losing the first quarter; the Bucks are 29-6 when they win the first quarter.
• The Sixers (15.3) and Bucks (14.8) rank third and fourth, respectively, in fast break points this season. In head-to-head matchups, the Bucks have stayed near their season average as they have scored 14.5 fast break points per game against the Sixers; however, the Sixers have averaged just 6.5 fast break points against the Bucks this season — tied for their second-lowest average against any opponent this season.
• Of the 26 players that defend at least five shots at the rim per game, Milwaukee Brook Lopez holds opponents to the fifth-lowest shooting percentage (51.1%), while Joel Embiid ranks 10th (54.7%). Both players average 1.4 blocks per game as both teams rank in the top 10 in limiting opponent points in the paint — Milwaukee third at 43.2 ppg, Philadelphia ninth at 46.0 ppg.
Lakers (35-24) at Mavericks (32-26)
8:30 p.m. ET, ABC
• This is the second meeting in three days and the final matchup of the regular season between the Mavericks and Lakers. The teams split their first two meetings with Dallas getting a 115-110 win on Thursday behind Luka Doncic’s 30 points to spoil Anthony Davis’ return from a 30-game absence. The Mavs are 14-8 this season when Luka scores 30 or more points.
• Anthony Davis had four points on 2-10 shooting from the field, 0-1 from 3-point range and 0-2 from the free throw line to go with four rebounds, one assist, one steal and one block in 16:40 of game action, all coming in the first half. Davis is listed as probable for Saturday but will remain on a minutes restriction.
• The Lakers rank second in bench scoring this season, with their reserves accounting for 41.1 points per game. They are led by Montrezl Harrell at 14.1 ppg, which ranks fourth among eligible bench players. Harrell finished with 14 points on 7-8 shooting on Thursday but played only 17 minutes as he racked up five personal fouls. Dallas’ Tim Hardaway Jr. ranks third in bench scoring on the season (15.1 ppg) but had just eight points on 2-10 shooting on Thursday.
• Dennis Schroder made his presence felt on both sides of the ball. Not only did he score 25 points and dish out 13 assists, he was also the primary defender on Luka Doncic for a team-high 5:19 (42.9% of Luka’s offensive matchup time) and held Doncic to five points on 1-8 shooting from the field, 1-4 from 3-point range and 2-3 from the free throw line.
• Kristaps Porzingis had 19 points and six rebounds before leaving the game in the third quarter due to an ankle injury on Thursday. He is listed as questionable for Saturday’s rematch. This season, the Mavs are 23-16 with Porzingis in the lineup and 9-10 when he’s out.