Tune-In Tidbits: TNT Thursday, May 6, 2021
Get ready for Thursday's TNT doubleheader with five key stats to know about each matchup.
Brian Martin, for NBA.com
Nets (43-23) at Mavericks (37-28)
7:30 p.m. ET, TNT
• The Nets enter Thursday looking to snap a three-game losing streak. They last lost three in a row from Feb. 5-9 and responded with eight straight wins. However, that eight-game win streak was snapped by Dallas (Thursday’s opponent) on Feb. 27. The Mavericks defeated the Nets 115-98 behind 27 points from Luka Doncic as the Nets played without both Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
• In the first meeting, Bruce Brown was the primary defender on Doncic for a team-high 3:46 (31.3% of Doncic’s offensive matchup time) and held him to two points on 1-4 shooting. Luka found more success when being defended by Jeff Green; in 1:20 (11.1% of matchup time), Doncic scored nine points (33.3% of total points) on 4-5 shooting.
• James Harden scored a game-high 29 points in Brooklyn’s loss on Feb. 27. Since Harden has been out since the beginning of April (including the April 5 game when he played only four minutes before re-aggrevating his hamstring injury), the Nets have gone 10-8, including a 4-5 mark in clutch games (score within five points in final five minutes of fourth quarter or overtime). The Nets were 19-3 in clutch games since Harden joined the team until the time he was sidelined; Harden remains Brooklyn’s top clutch scorer with 98 points (11th in NBA) in 93 clutch minutes.
• Tim Hardaway Jr. continues to rank second in scoring among bench players, averaging 15.1 ppg in 25.6 minutes over 39 games coming off the bench. However, in his most recent start he scored 36 points, including a career-high 10 3-pointers, in the Mavericks’ win over Miami. Dallas has won seven of their last 10 games to lift them to fifth place in the West (via a tiebreaker with the Lakers), all part of an impressive push to avoid the Play-In Tournament.
• Luka Doncic (12.4) and Kyrie Irving (9.8) rank third and eighth, respectively, in points per game off drives this season. Among the 40 players that average at least five shots off drives per game, Doncic has the highest field goal percentage (60%), while Irving ranks sixth (55.6%).
Lakers (37-28) at Clippers (44-22)
10 p.m. ET, TNT
• The Clippers are looking to sweep the battle of Los Angeles tonight, having won the first two matchups with the Lakers on Opening Night and on April 4. The Lakers were without LeBron James and Anthony Davis for the latter, and will likely be without LeBron and Dennis Schroder tonight. The Lakers are 9-13 this season without LeBron in the lineup. A Clippers win would complete their first sweep of the Lakers since 2015-16.
• Paul George has averaged a team-high 24.5 points in two games against the Lakers this season, while shooting 59.4% from the field and 58.3% from 3-point range. Kentavious Caldwell Pope (9:11) and Kyle Kuzma (4:42) were the primary defenders on George over those two games combined. George scored nine points on 3-5 shooting from the field, 2-2 from 3-point range and 1-1 from the free throw line against Pope; and scored 11 points on 4-8 shooting from the field, 2-5 from 3-point range and 1-1 from the free throw line against Kuzma.
• Anthony Davis has appeared in seven games for the Lakers since returning to the lineup two weeks ago; he is averaging a team-high 17.7 points on 40.7% shooting from the field and 20% from 3-point range, to go with 6.7 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 2.0 blocks as he continues to work himself back to top form after a prolonged absence.
• Rajon Rondo’s numbers in his 13 games with the Clippers (7.1 ppg, 5.3 apg, 1.2 spg) are nearly identical to his averages with the Lakers last season (7.1 ppg, 5.0 apg, 0.8 spg). Among players that average at least 10 points per game for the Clippers, Rondo leads the team in defensive rating (103.0) and ranks fourth in net rating (9.7).
• This is a matchup of strength vs. strength as the Clippers put their second-ranked offense (116.9 points per 100 possessions) up against the Lakers’ top-ranked defense in the league (106.5 points allowed per 100 possessions). A key to the Clippers’ offensive efficiency has been their shooting from beyond the arc as they lead the league at 41.7% on 34.5 attempts per game. However, the Lakers allow the fourth-lowest 3-point percentage (35.1%) and the fifth-fewest 3-point attempts (32.3).