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Tune-In Tidbits: TNT Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021

Get ready for Thursday's TNT doubleheader with five key stats to know about each matchup.

Brian Martin, for NBA.com

The Mavs have won 6 of their last 8 games.

Mavericks (15-15) at Sixers (21-11)
7 p.m. ET, TNT

• Joel Embiid scores 9.7 of his 29.8 points per game on post-ups, nearly four points more than any other player in the league. Nikola Jokic ranks second at 6.0 ppg; the 3.7 ppg difference between first and second place is the equivalent of the gap between second place and 21st place.

• The Sixers rank fifth in defensive efficiency (109.1) thanks in part to Ben Simmons’s 1.6 steals per game (8th in NBA), 3.9 deflections per game and 1.6 loose balls recovered per game (both rank 1st in NBA). However, the Mavericks hold the league’s third-ranked turnover percentage as they commit a turnover on only 12.2% of their possessions.

• The Mavericks enter Thursday having won six of their last eight games, with five of those games decided by five points or fewer. So far this season, the Mavs are 3-5 in games decided by five points or less.

• Getting off to a strong start has been imperative for both the Sixers and the Mavericks this season. The Sixers are 17-5 when they are either tied or lead after the first quarter and 4-6 when trailing after the opening period. The Mavericks are 13-2 when either tied or leading after the opening quarter and 2-13 when trailing after the opening period.

• Over the past five games for all teams, Luka Doncic leads the NBA in scoring at 34.0 points per game and is shooting 54.1% from the field, 51.2% (21-41) from 3-point range, while adding 8.4 rebounds and 8.8 assists to help the Mavs go 4-1 in that stretch.

 

Giannis Antetokounmpo held Zion Williamson to four points in 3:01 of matchup time in their first meeting on Jan. 29.

Pelicans (14-17) at Bucks (19-13)
9:30 p.m. ET, TNT

• Which team will control the paint in this matchup? So far this season, the Pelicans rank fifth in the league with 51.1 points in the paint, while the Bucks rank 10th with 47.8 paint points per game. The Bucks’ defense allows the fourth-fewest points in the paint (42.7 per game).

• The Bucks rank fourth in the league in 3-point shooting at 39.6% and fifth in the league in 3-pointers made (14.9 per game). Milwaukee ranks third in the league in wide-open 3-pointers made (8.5), fourth in wide-open 3-pointers attempted (20.2), and fifth in wide-open 3-point accuracy (42.2%).

• In 13 games in February, Zion Williamson is averaging 27.2 points on 66.5% shooting from the field to go with 5.8 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game. The Pelicans have outscored their opponents by 55 points in Zion’s 353 minutes on the court in February. In 17 games in December and January combined, Zion averaged 23.9 points on 58.7% shooting with a plus/minus of minus-48 points in 407 minutes played.

• The Pelicans won the first meeting the Bucks, 131-126 on Jan. 29, with four players scoring more than 20 points: Brandon Ingram (28), Lonzo Ball (27), Eric Bledsoe (25) and Zion Williamson (21). Giannis Antetokounmpo led all scorers with 38 points and added 11 rebounds and five assists. Giannis joins Nikola Jokic (5) and Luka Doncic (2) as the only players with multiple 35-10-5 games so far this season.

• Steven Adams was the primary defender on Giannis Antetokounmpo for a team-high 7:49 (68.1% of his offensive matchup time). Giannis scored 22 points 9-20 shooting from the field, 2-7 on 3-pointers and 2-2 on free throws against Adams. He scored 14 points 5-6 shooting from the field and 4-5 from the free-throw line in 3:43 against all other defenders.

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