The NBA season is pushing towards Thanksgiving, and the standings are starting to take shape with contenders and pretenders.
The Golden State Warriors have continued to be the best team in the Western Conference, but they have the Portland Trail Blazers and Denver Nuggets right on their heels. In the Eastern Conference, the Toronto Raptors have gotten off to a record start, while the Milwaukee Bucks have nearly kept pace behind the MVP-level play of Giannis Antetokounmpo.
With players like LeBron James, Steph Curry, Anthony Davis, Kawhi Leonard, and James Harden all in action in big games this week, it can be hard to decide which ones to watch. We’re here to help.
(All stats and records are as of Tuesday, November 12, 2018)
Atlanta Hawks vs. Golden State Warriors – Tue., 11/13, 10:30 PM – NBATV
Stephen Curry and the Warriors take on Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks in this matchup of offensively-inclined teams. The Hawks drafted Young hoping he could become their version of Curry, and while they’re at the bottom of the standings, Young has delivered so far while leading the team with 18.5 points and 8.2 assists per game.
Portland Trail Blazers vs. Los Angeles Lakers – Wed., 11/14, 10:30 PM ET – ESPN
LeBron James and the Lakers have gotten a burst of energy from newly signed Tyson Chandler, and they’ll play the Blazers and Damian Lillard on Wednesday. The Blazers have played above expectations, starting off the season 10-3 to rank second in the West behind the Golden State Warriors. The Lakers have shaken off some of their early season struggles and have now gone 7-3 over their last 10 games.
Golden State Warriors vs. Houston Rockets – Thu., 11/15, 8 PM ET – TNT
This will be the first matchup between the Warriors and Rockets since the teams faced off in the Western Conference Finals last season. The Warriors won that matchup, dashing the Rockets’ hopes of knocking Golden State off their championship perch. Houston got off to a slow start after dealing with a suspension for point guard Chris Paul and a hamstring injury for James Harden, but now both players are back and have the Rockets looking back to normal. The team has won four of the last six games and will try and keep that going against Steph Curry and Golden State.
Toronto Raptors vs. Boston Celtics – Fri., 11/16, 7:00 PM ET – ESPN
The Raptors have been one of the most impressive teams in the NBA to start the 2018-19 season, opening with a franchise-best 12-1 record. The team hasn’t lost a home game over their first seven, and by all accounts to start off, the trade for Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green has turned out to be a massive success for the Raptors. The Celtics have started off a bit slow after leading the East in wins last season, going just 7-6 to start the year. Both Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving are back from injuries sustained last season, and this early-season matchup could be a playoff preview between these two teams.
The Full National Schedule:
Players to Watch:
Hassan Whiteside, Heat: The 29-year-old center is averaging 18.3 points, 18.0 rebounds and 5.67 blocked shots in his last three games. For the season, he is averaging an NBA-high 3.55 blocks in 29.3 minutes.
Andre Drummond, Pistons: His current four-game streak with 20 or more points is a career high. He has also recorded five of the NBA’s eight games with at least 20 points and 20 rebounds this season.
Montrezl Harrell, Clippers: He is averaging 19.3 points on 82.1 percent shooting (23-of-28) in his last three games, raising his field goal percentage for the season to 68.1 (third in the NBA)
Luka Doncic, Mavericks: Dallas’ Luka Doncic is averaging 20.3 points, 6.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game.
Milestones to Watch:
Jamal Crawford, Suns: Crawford needs three points to pass Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen for 56th place all time.
Vince Carter, Hawks: Carter needs 44 points to reach 25,000 points for his career.
Marc Gasol, Grizzlies: Gasol 25 rebounds to pass Zach Randolph for the all-time franchise lead. Gasol is already the Grizzlies’ career scoring leader.
LeBron James, Lakers: James needs just 39 points this week to pass Wilt Chamberlain (31,419) for fifth place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.
Check out more on the NBA schedule at NBA.com.