Tune-In Tidbits: ESPN Saturday, May 1, 2021
Get ready for Saturday's ESPN primetime doubleheader with five key stats to know about each matchup.
Brian Martin, for NBA.com
Warriors (31-32) at Rockets (16-47)
7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
• Golden State goes for the season sweep of Houston after winning the first two games of the season series (March 17, April 10) by a combined 30 points. The Warriors have three players averaging at least 20 points per game against the Rockets this season: Stephen Curry (28.0), Jordan Poole (22.0) and Andrew Wiggins (21.0).
• Kevin Porter Jr. is coming off a historic performance on Thursday as he became the youngest player in NBA history to post a game with at least 50 points and 11 assists in Houston’s win over Milwaukee. At 20 years old, Porter Jr. beat the previous mark held by LeBron James, who was 23 when he had his first of two career 50-10 games. Porter Jr. posted the third 50-10 game of this season, and just the 21st since the 1983-84 season.
• Stephen Curry (31.3 PPG) retook the lead in the scoring title race with Bradley Beal (31.1 PPG) thanks to a 37-point effort on Thursday. This would be Curry’s second career scoring title and first since his unanimous MVP season in 2015-16 (30.1 PPG).
• The Warriors are looking to avoid a three-game losing streak and strengthen their hold on the final spot in the Western Conference Play-In Tournament. No. 10 Golden State holds a three-game lead over No. 11 New Orleans, but the Warriors and Pelicans have yet to play this season. They will meet three times over the final two weeks of the regular season, beginning on Monday.
• The scoring profiles for the Warriors and Rockets are nearly identical. Both teams score over 37% of their points on 3-pointers (GSW 37.5%, HOU 37.3%). Both teams score just under 48% of their points on 2-point shots (GSW 47.7%, HOU 47.5%). The teams are within one percentage point of each other again at the free throw line (HOU 15.3%, GSW 14.7%). There are two key differences — the Warriors score more in the mid-range (7.2% to HOU’s 4.0%) and the Rockets score more in the paint (43.4% to GSW’s 40.5%).
Nuggets (42-21) at Clippers (43-21)
10 p.m. ET, ESPN
• With the season series tied at 1-1, this final meeting will determine the head-to-head tiebreaker between the Nuggets and Clippers. A Nuggets win not only clinches the tiebreak, it moves Denver ahead of LA for third in the Western Conference playoff race.
• In nine games since losing Jamal Murray to a torn ACL on April 12, the Nuggets have gone 8-1 with Nikola Jokic (26.2 PPG, 58.7 FG%) and Michael Porter Jr (25.7 PPG, 56.7 FG%) combining to average 51.9 points, with both players attempting 16.7 shots and shooting over 56% from the field.
• Nikola Jokic (26.2 PPG, 10.9 RPG, 8.6 APG) joins two-time reigning NBA Most Valuable Player Giannis Antetokounmpo (28.0 PPG, 11.2 RPG, 5.9 APG) as the only players to average at least 25 points, 10 rebounds and five assists this season. If these numbers hold, Jokic would be the ninth player to post those averages over a full season, while Giannis would tie Oscar Robertson with the most such seasons with three.
• While the Nuggets have won four straight, the Clippers are looking to avoid a three-game losing streak after dropping road contests to New Orleans and Phoenix this week. Kawhi Leonard is listed as questionable to return from a foot injury; he has appeared in only one game since April 10. The Clippers have gone 6-3 without Leonard during this stretch.
• Denver is tied with San Antonio, Phoenix and Indiana for the most overtime games played this season with six; the Nuggets are 4-2 in those games. LA is one of two teams (along with Toronto) that has yet to play an overtime game this season. Denver is 11-7 in games decided by five points or less this season; the Clippers are 8-9.