The week has finally come to an end; while some teams wish it didn’t, others can’t wait to start the week fresh. There were countless last-second games, including some OT games as well. With Boston on a mini streak, can they keep it going into next week? How will the injuries of Dirk and Kidd affect the Mavs? Let’s take a look at the biggest games in the upcoming week!
Oklahoma City Thunder @ Los Angeles Clippers – Monday, January 29 at 10:30 PM ET on NBA TV
At 16-3, the OKC Thunder are the best team in the NBA right now while the Clippers are 11-6, trying to keep up with their cross-town rival Lakers. Both these teams have similar standings on the statistical side, and both teams desperately need a win. The Thunder, just 3 games ahead of the Nuggets, need a win to create some breathing distance in the division while the Clippers need to maintain the lead in the Pacific division. Although the superstars of both teams will have a huge say, the bench of both teams will also have a huge role. In the end, this will be a hard-fought and close game throughout, one that we should definitely watch out for.
Chicago Bulls @ Philadelphia 76ers - Wednesday, February 1 at 7:00 PM on NBA League Pass
The Sixers have finally calibrated themselves back into a playoff contender, but many “haters” out there believe most of their wins have come against fairly weak teams. This game should decide whether these haters make a good point, or the Sixers have actually changed dramatically since the signing of head coach Doug Collins. The Bulls will be charging in, but a well-rested Sixers team should be able to contain them. This will be a matchup to watch on whether the Sixers can handle the pressure of playing a strong team, or they are better off playing easier teams.
Chicago Bulls @ New York Knicks – Thursday, February 2 at 8 PM ET on TNT
Facing harsh criticism about chemistry and greediness issues, the Knicks will definitely need this win in order to silence the critics and start talks about a real playoff teams. On the other side, the Bulls will need to rebound from a tough loss at Miami with a hard earned win against a difficult team. Although the Knicks are struggling on both sides of the court, they will undoubtedly rely on Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire to step up on the offensive side and Tyson Chandler to not allow anyone to take close shots. Although the Bulls have the upper hand in this matchup, don’t count out the Knicks.
Miami Heat @ Philadelphia 76ers – Friday, February 3 at 7 PM ET on NBA League Pass
Anther tough test on whether the Sixers can outlast a strong opponent. Last time these two teams met down in South Beach, Miami shredded the Sixers, beating them by a whopping 21 points. However, Dwyane Wade was out when these two teams played so that could mean an even harsher beating, or it could mean a slight advantage. The Heat, without Dwyane Wade, have done statistically better than when the ‘Big Three’ are all in the starting lineup. The Heat will have gotten a lot of rest, as their last game was on Monday against a weak Hornets team. The Sixers come off what should be a hard-fought game against Chicago, but at least they don’t have to travel. This will be a key matchup for the Sixers especially, on whether they can handle back-to-back intense games.