Tune-In Tidbits: TNT Thursday, April 8, 2021
Get ready for Thursday's TNT doubleheader with five key stats to know about each matchup.
Brian Martin, for NBA.com
Lakers (32-19) at Heat (26-25)
7:30 p.m. ET, TNT
• The Heat won the first meeting for the season with the Lakers, 96-94 on Feb. 20 in the first of two regular season rematches from last year’s Finals. Kendrick Nunn led the Heat with 27 points, while Jimmy Butler added 24; the Heat are 4-1 this season when Nunn scores at least 24 points.
• The Lakers were shorthanded in the first meeting as Anthony Davis and Dennis Schroder missed the game, and will be shorthanded again on Thursday as Davis and LeBron James will be out of the lineup. Since LeBron was injured on March 20, the Lakers have gone 4-6 and averaged just 100.7 points per 100 possessions (30th in NBA). Prior to LeBron’s injury, the Lakers averaged 112.0 points per 100 possessions (15th in NBA).
• Los Angeles’ Montrezl Harrell (15.0 ppg) and Miami’s Tyler Herro (14.7 ppg) rank fourth and fifth, respectively, in bench scoring this season. As a team, the Lakers rank second (41.6 ppg) in bench scoring, while the Heat rank 22nd (34.1 ppg).
• The Heat have been 10.9 points per 100 possessions better when Jimmy Butler is on the court (plus-4.1 net rating in 1,213 minutes) than when he’s off the court (minus-6.8 net rating in 1,255 minutes). The Heat at 22-14 with Butler in the lineup this season, and just 4-11 in the games he has missed. Butler’s 10.9 differential is the seventh highest of the 117 players that have played at least 1,200 minutes this season.
Suns (36-14) at Clippers (34-18)
10 p.m. ET, TNT
• Phoenix is coming off a 117-113 overtime win over Utah in a clash of the two teams with the top records in the NBA. The Suns extended their win streak to seven games – their longest streak since sweeping all eight games in the bubble during last season’s restart. This will be Phoenix’s 12th game on the second night of a back-to-back; they are 9-2 in such games so far this season, with an average point differential of plus-10.2 ppg.
• While the Suns improved to 2-3 in overtime games this season — Phoenix is tied for second in overtime games played, trailing only Indiana’s six — the Clippers are one of two teams, along with the Raptors, to have yet to play an overtime game this season.
• The Clippers won the first meeting of the season, 112-107 on Jan. 3, behind a season-high 39 points from Paul George. George scored the majority of his points while matched up with either Devin Booker (9 points on 4-4 FG, 1-1 3FG in 3:32 of matchup time) or Deandre Ayton (123 points on 5-6 FG, 3-4 3FG in 1:28 of matchup time).
• Devin Booker led the Suns with 25 points in the loss to LA on Jan. 3. He scored six points on 3-7 shooting in 5:28 of matchup time against Nicolas Batum – getting 24% of his points in 35.5% of his total offensive matchup time. Booker had seven points on 1-2 3FG, 4-5 FT in 3:01 against Paul George. In a combined 4:08 against either Kawhi Leonard or Patrick Beverley, Booker was held scoreless and did not attempt a shot or free throw.
• The Suns opened the season 8-8 through Jan. 27 — tied with Cleveland and Atlanta at .500 for the 14th-best record in the league. Since then, the Suns have gone 27-6 – the top record in the NBA during that time, followed by Utah and Brooklyn both a 24-8. Devin Booker’s offensive production coincides with the the turnaround. In Phoenix’s first 16 games, Booker averaged 22.9 points (27th in NBA) on 17.4 shots per game and shot 47.3% from the field. Over Phoenix’s last 33 games, Booker has averaged 27.5 points (8th in NBA) on 20.2 shots per game and shot 50.3% from the field.