Tune-In Tidbits: ESPN Monday, March 15, 2021
Get ready for Monday's ESPN doubleheader with five key stats to know about each matchup.
Brian Martin, for NBA.com
Knicks (20-19) at Nets (26-13)
8 p.m. ET, ESPN
• Brooklyn won first meeting with the Knicks, 116-109 on Jan. 13, behind 26 points from Kevin Durant. Kyrie Irving did not play in the contest, and the James Harden trade had not been completed. This time around Irving and Harden will play and Durant will be out due to a hamstring injury; the Nets have gone 14-6 this season without Durant.
• Durant has not played since Feb. 13 due to the hamstring injury; the Nets have gone 10-1 in those games with James Harden nearly averaging a triple-double with team highs of 28.1 points, 10.6 assists and 9.7 rebounds. Kyrie Irving has added 26.8 points, 5.9 assists and 5.3 rebounds during this stretch.
• While the Nets lead the NBA in offensive efficiency (118.0 points per 100 possessions) and effective field goal percentage (58.6%), they will face a stingy Knicks defense that ranks fourth in defensive efficiency (108.6 points allowed per 100 possessions) and allows the second-lowest effective field goal percentage (51.2%).
• Nerlens Noel ranks fourth in the league in blocks (2.0 per game) despite averaging just 22.2 minutes per game. The last player to average at least two blocks while playing fewer than 23 minutes per game also plays for the Knicks – Mitchell Robinson in 2018-19 (2.4 bpg in 20.6 mpg).
• James Harden enters Monday averaging 25.2 points and 11.0 assists per game. There have been only five seasons in NBA history when a player has averaged at least 25 points and 11 assists. Harden was the last player to do it in 2016-17 with Houston; prior to that it has not been done in 44 seasons, when Nate “Tiny” Archibald became the only player to lead the NBA in both categories in 1972-73. The only other player to do it is Oscar Robertson (3x).
Lakers (25-13) at Warriors (20-19)
10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
• The Lakers and Warriors have split their first two meetings of the season. LeBron James has been the Lakers’ top scorer against Golden State at 19.0 ppg, while Stephen Curry has been the Warriors’ top scorer against Los Angeles at 21.0 ppg. For both All-Stars it is their lowest scoring average against any team they have faced more than once this season.
• While Stephen Curry nearly averages five 3-pointers made per game (league-high 4.8), he has been held to 5-19 (26.3%) shooting from beyond the arc in two game against the Lakers this season. Dennis Schroder has spent the fourth-most time defending Curry of any player this season (9:16), and has held Curry to 1-13 shooting from the field including 0-10 on 3-pointers over two games.
• Which team will control the paint? The Lakers rank sixth in points in the paint (51.9 ppg) while the Warriors rank fifth in allowing the fewest points in the paint (44.5 ppg). Golden State ranks second in the league in rim protection, allowing teams to shoot just 59.8% at the basket while they are defending.
• The Lakers have the sixth-highest scoring bench in the league at 39.5 points per game, which accounts for 35.5% of their total offense. The bench is anchored by reigning Sixth Man of the Year Montrezl Harrell, who ranks sixth among eligible bench players in scoring (14.1 ppg) and seventh in rebounding (6.5 rpg)
• The Lakers are 13-6 in games featuring clutch time (score inside of five points in final five minutes of fourth quarter or overtime). LeBron James ranks seventh in clutch scoring with 74 points on 47.6% shooting form the field and 39.3% on 3-pointers. Stephen Curry lead the Warriors (9-8 in clutch games) with 67 clutch points (12th in NBA) on 40.9% shooting from the field, 47.6% on 3-pointers and a perfect 21-21 on free throws.