This is the Jump Ball’s weekly TV Guide for NBA fans. We point out what games are must-watch TV each week.
Monday, 11 games on the docket for the NBA.
Milwaukee Bucks (12-9) vs Boston Celtics (20-4)
The Celtics have the been the NBA best defensive team all season and they will take on the Bucks who since the Eric Bledsoe trade have slowly been improving their defensive rating to 105.2 from 109.5. Giannis Antetokounmpo should always be on the list of players to watch, Kyrie Irving has been amazing in the fourth quarter for the Celtics, so should be a close one that should be fun to watch.
Golden State Warriors (18-6) vs New Orleans Pelicans (12-11)
This would have been a bigger matchup if Anthony Davis didn’t get hurt in the game against Utah. The Warriors are quite banged up and haven’t been playing to their potential. The Pelicans will be dependent on DeMarcus Cousins carrying the load if they are going to win. With Cousins and Draymond Green on the floor at the same time, the refs will be getting an earful on every whistle.
Tuesday, a light 3 game schedule.
Utah Jazz (12-11) vs Oklahoma City Thunder (10-12)
The Thunder’s struggle has everyone asking what’s going on and if they will turn it around so every game is worth viewing. The flip side, Donovan Mitchell has had an amazing week, averaging 26.3 points while shooting 51.4% from three; this is including the 41-point outburst against the Pelicans. Read Zach Lowe’s piece on the Jazz to see learn more about this rookie.
Wednesday, 10 games on the calendar, but this could be a heavy blowout night.
Detroit Pistons (14-8) vs Milwaukee Bucks (12-8)
This is the last stop for the Pistons on a four-game road trip and they could get stuck looking ahead to the Warriors coming into town on Friday. Tobias Harris is shooting 46.6% from three, the Bucks will need to prioritize running him off the three-point line all game.
Thursday, 4 games on the agenda but TNT have the two funniest games.
Los Angeles Lakers (8-15) vs Philadelphia 76ers (13-9)
It was only a few weeks ago when Joel Embiid (46 points) and Ben Simmons (18, 10, and 9) put on a show in Tinsel Town. The baby Lakers have been struggling going 3-7 in their last ten games, especially on the road (2-8). This is the first of a four-game road trip for them and 6 of their next seven are all on the road.
Houston Rockets (18-4) vs Utah Jazz (12-11)
The Rockets have been great all season and they’ve been even better since Chris Paul came back from his knee injury. They are in the top five in both offensive and defensive rating with each game the Rockets look more and more like a threat to the Warriors. The Jazz’s preference for playing a slow down pace means this will be a battle of playing styles, with the Rockets wanting to push the pace.
Friday, 8 games for a fun NBA Friday night.
Golden State Warriors (18-6) vs Detroit Pistons (14-8)
This is the final stop for a long 6 game road trip for the Warriors, which means it is easy to lose focus knowing they get to head home afterward. The much-feared Warriors death lineup has struggled this season is a -16 in their total 56 minutes together. The Pistons knocked off the Celtics last week and could be looking to add another big win to their belt. Andre Drummond’s improved passing and free throw shooting has been a revelation this season for the Pistons and has found good chemistry in the Pick-and-Roll with Reggie Jackson.
San Antonio Spurs (15-8) vs Boston Celtics (20-4)
This game will be a defensive battle, as the Celtics are first in defensive rating, and the Spurs are fourth. The last time they played, the Celtics came away with a 14-point win but the Spurs were without Manu Ginobili (rest) and Tony Parker (Quad). Two of the best coaches going head to head is always going to be prime viewing for basketball heads and this game is no different.
Saturday, 10 games to replace all that time spent watching college football.
Philadelphia 76ers (13-9) vs Cleveland Cavaliers (16-7)
The Cavs beat the Sixers by 22 when they played last week behind 30 and 13 from LeBron James and as a team shot 40.5% from three. The Cavs have shaken off their early season struggle and looking like they are beginning to gel. This game will be a chance for the Sixers to show if they learned from that loss and it is unlikely they will go 3-28 from deep like they did in that game. A win for the Sixers here would show they are continuing to grow as a team.
Houston Rockets (18-4) vs Portland Trail Blazers (13-10)
This is a huge test for the Blazers improved defense if they can slow down the Rockets high-powered attack. There is no letting up against the Rockets since they always have at least one future hall of fame point guard on the court at all times. The Blazers could use this signature win to prove they can play with the big boys.
Sunday, 6 games for the NBA.
Boston Celtics (20-4) vs Detroit Pistons (14-8)
The Pistons ended the Celtics winning streak last week when they met behind great games from Harris (31 points, 5-6 from 3), Drummond (26 points and 22 rebounds), and Jackson (20 points and 7 assists). This is not going to be something the Celtics will have forgotten about when they meet in Detroit.
Philadelphia 76ers (13-9) vs New Orleans Pelicans (12-11)
It’s not likely Davis is back from his groin injury so the focus should be on the battle between Cousins and Embiid. Both are great talents and can do so much on the court, watching them go head-to-head is a must see. Come for their skills on the court, stay for the likely trash talk and postgame trolling on social media.
That is it for this week in the NBA!