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Here’s a look at the best battles in the National Basketball Association this week.
Wednesday, Dec. 4 at 7:30 p.m. ET
The Boston Celtics and Miami Heat each have a 14-5 record and are looking to keep their strong starts rolling. The Celtics are coming off a loss to the Nets and a win over the Knicks that was much closer than it should have been, and need to get back into rhythm despite the likely absence of Marcus Smart. The Heat just beat the Nets thanks to some great closing from Jimmy Butler, and sit at the top of their division. A win for the Celtics could put them at the top of the Atlantic, so both teams have tons to play for in this young season.
Thursday, Dec. 5 at 7:30 p.m. ET
The Toronto Raptors are 15-4 and have the third-best record in the NBA. They’re doing just fine without Kawhi Leonard, but now they have to face the Houston Rockets and James Harden, who has been playing out of his mind. Seeing two of the best teams in the NBA face off already puts the game in must-watch territory, but with Harden on such a relentless tear, any game featuring him must be seen.
Friday, Dec. 6 at 10:30 p.m. ET
It’s still surprising to see the Los Angeles Lakers atop the west at 17-3, tied for the best record in the NBA. What a difference a season (and the addition of Anthony Davis) makes. It’s also surprising to see the Portland Trail Blazers struggling at 8-12, though they’ve won three in a row. The Blazers need a win to keep climbing out of the hole they’ve dug themselves, but it definitely won’t be easy against the Lakers.
Friday, Dec. 6 at 8:30 p.m. ET
Seeing Paul George and Kawhi Leonard on the court together is still a thrill, and the two of them have helped elevate this Los Angeles Clippers team even higher since George returned from injury. They just put 150 points on the Wizards, the second most in franchise history. The Milwaukee Bucks are no slouch (they own the best record in the NBA), but they might want to bring their best to this Clippers matchup.
Saturday, Dec. 7 at 2:00 p.m. ET
The New Orleans Pelicans facing the Dallas Mavericks will be a battle of the young stars, even with Zion Williamson still on the mend from knee surgery. Beyond the Pels’ Brandon Ingram, there’s another young phenom to watch: the Mavs’ Luka Doncic and his amazing heroics. Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis have done wonders for a team that finished second to last in the West last season, and have turned Dallas’ games into can’t-miss basketball.