NBA Preview: What You Need to Know About the Best Games to Watch This Week

LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers hangs onto the rim after a turnover at AT&T Center on October 27 , 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that , by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images)
 Ronald Cortes/Getty Images


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.

Here’s a look at the top games, stars, storylines, and milestones to know this week. (Plus, check out the full schedule of games at NBA.com.)

(All stats and records are as of Tuesday, November 12, 2018)

Atlanta Hawks vs. Golden State Warriors – Tue., 11/13, 10:30 PM – NBATV

Trae Young #11 of the Atlanta Hawks dribbles the ball against Landry Shamet #23 of the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center on October 29, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Getty Images

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 #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers attempts a layup past LaMarcus Aldridge #12 of the San Antonio Spurs during the first half at Staples Center on October 22, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

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

Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors drives on Ian Clark #2 of the New Orleans Pelicans during an NBA basketball game at ORACLE Arena on October 31, 2018 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

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

Kawhi Leonard #2 of the Toronto Raptors drives to the basket against Willie Cauley-Stein #00 of the Sacramento Kings at Golden 1 Center on November 7, 2018 in Sacramento, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

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:

NBA
NBA

Players to Watch:

Andre Drummond #0 of the Detroit Pistons dunks against the Boston Celtics during the first half fo the game between the Pistons and the Celtics at TD Garden on October 30, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

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:

Vince Carter #15 of the Atlanta Hawks dribbles the ball against the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center on October 29, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

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.