This is the Jump Ball’s weekly TV Guide for NBA fans. Happy New Year to all, a ton of exciting games this first week of 2018.
Monday, four games for the first day of the New Year, only one eye catcher.
Milwaukee Bucks (19-15) vs Toronto Raptors (24-10) The Raptors had an amazing end to the 2017 year and sit two and a half games out of first place. The Bucks are still struggling but it should be easy for them to get up for this game considering this is who knocked them out of the playoffs last year.
Tuesday, a five-gamer for the NBA and truthfully not a lot of great matchups, a good night for a movie.
Wednesday, this is the night the NBA is back in the swing of things with 12 games and one possible revenge game.
Cleveland (24-12) vs Boston Celtics (29-10) This could be one of the most exciting games of the season with the possible return of Isaiah Thomas to Boston for the first time since the playoffs last year. That is just one storyline to this game, add in Kyrie Irving and LeBron James clashing, and the Celtics know the Cavs are the team they’ll have to beat to get to the finals. This one is a must watch, especially if IT returns.
New Orleans Pelicans (18-18) vs Utah Jazz (16-21) All eyes are the Jazz rookie Donovan Mitchell whenever he’s on the floor; there is a chance Rudy Gobert will be back from his most recent injury too. The Pelicans sit at eighth in the standings as of now and these games matter since series records are the first tiebreaker come April.
Oklahoma City Thunder (20-16) vs Los Angeles Lakers (11-23) The Thunder have found their stride, or so it seems as of now but every time they appeared to have turned the corner they regress. The Lakers play incredibly hard but have been able to turn that into wins. The fun storyline to keep an eye on this one is the Paul George Laker flirtation storyline. Some Laker fans will be out to woo free agent to be Paul George to the Lakers.
Thursday, just two games for the NBA both on TNT but both very interesting.
Golden State Warriors (29-8) vs Houston Rockets (25-9) Their first meeting since opening night and if everyone is healthy a potential Western Conference Finals preview so all eyes will be on this. The Rockets were red hot at one point in December and many think they can pus the Warriors with their outside shooting and new found love for defense. Steph Curry put on a show in his first game back and looks like his old self, hitting 10 threes in that game. The most interesting thing to watch will be to see how the Rockets matchup when the Warriors go small.
Oklahoma City Thunder (20-16) vs Los Angeles Clippers (15-19) This is the second night of a back-to-back for the Thunder who is 3-3 on the second night. The Clippers are slowly beginning to get healthy, first Milos Teodosic returned and now Blake Griffin has come back from an extended absence, and not a second too soon. The Clippers have to begin making up ground if they hopes of getting into the playoffs and beating the Thunder would be a great start on that quest.
Friday, ten games on the agenda, there are at least 5 games worth watching, here are three good ones.
Minnesota Timberwolves (22-14) vs Boston Celtics (29-10) There is a lot of star power in this game, between the Wolves Karl Anthony Towns, Jimmy Butler, Andrew Wiggins, and the Celtics Irving, Al Horford, Jaylen Butler and Jayson Tatum. Also, two very well respected coaches, manning the sidelines should make for a fun game.
Toronto Raptors (24-10) vs Milwaukee Bucks (19-15) Playing for the second time this week, a fun experiment is to watch this game to see what adjustments both teams make; it is similar to a playoff series.
Utah Jazz (16-21) vs Denver Nuggets (19-17) This is another game that could have implications for a playoff race down the road. The Jazz are on the outside looking in thanks to injuries to Rudy Gobert but they’ll need to get going now. The Nuggets are sitting at sixth heading into the week but only three games ahead of ninth so they are hardly safe and need to keep padding their wins total.
Detroit Pistons (20-15) vs Philadelphia 76ers (16-19) Another matchup of Andre Drummond and Joel Embiid, which tends to give these games a little extra edge.
New York Knicks (18-18) vs Miami Heat (19-17) Both of these teams along with the Sixers could be fighting with each other for the final playoff spot in the East, so these games take on an extra level of importance for the season series.
Saturday, an eight-game night for the NBA, but only two that really stand out.
Milwaukee Bucks (19-15) vs Washington Wizards (21-16) Both of these teams plus the Pistons could be battling for home court in the playoffs so again this takes on extra importance. A fun matchup to watch will be John Wall and Eric Bledsoe going at each other, and of course, Giannis Antetokounmpo is always capable of putting on a show.
New Orleans Pelicans (18-18) vs Minnesota Timberwolves (22-14) The Pelicans have a low margin of error to make the playoffs and a win over the Wolves can help to boost their confidence. They are also only two games as of now out of the fifth seed, which could mean they would avoid the Warriors, Rockets, and Spurs if they got there. This is the same reasoning for the Wolves wanting to stay in the four/five seed.
Sunday, Five games on the docket with only one standing out.
New York Knicks (18-18) vs Dallas Mavericks (12-25) There is not a lot on the line but this game will be worth watching just for the Dennis Smith Jr vs Frank Ntilikina, many think the Knicks should have drafted DSJ over Ntilikina so they will be linked for quite awhile and this is the first time they both will matchup.
That is it for this week in the NBA!