That’s right, now through Sunday, January 26, you can gorge on NBA games from around the country. Wanna see if Giannis has the juice to win back-to-back MVP awards? Is Zion Williamson actually the savior the Pelicans need to make a run for the 8th seed in the West? Will Victor Oladipo return from injury with enough spring in his step to help the Pacers earn home court advantage in the first round? Will Kristaps Porzingis’ knee be healthy enough to get the Mavs home court advantage in the first round? Is Anthony Davis’ back going to keep being a problem the way it was in Monday’s blowout loss to the Celtics?
On Wednesday, you can watch the Denver Nuggets head to Houston to face James Harden and the Rockets. On Friday afternoon, after your boss has left the office early, you can tune at 3pm ET as Giannis and the Bucks take on the Hornets. Saturday, you can check out offensive juggernaut Luka Dončić and the Dallas Mavericks against Rudy “The French Rejection” Gobert and the Utah Jazz. Come that tragically empty Sunday when there’s no football, you can watch Kawhi and the Clips take on Nikola Vučević and the Orlando Magic. If you need additional help deciding, we refer you to Zach Lowe’s annual NBA League Pass rankings.
While League Pass will have you covered for all out-of-market games, here’s a look at the NBA’s national TV schedule for the week:
Wednesday, January 22
Philadelphia 76ers (28-16) vs Toronto Raptors (28-14)
7pm ET on ESPN
The Sixers beat the Knicks Saturday, 90-87, with Ben Simmons going 21-7-8, but Joel Embiid is still a couple weeks away and the Philly press is already worried about his conditioning for the stretch drive. Fred VanVleet scored 29 and Kyle Lowry scored 28 on Saturday to lead the Raptors to a 122-112 win over the T’wolves.
San Antonio Spurs (17-23) vs New Orleans Pelicans (16-27)
9:30pm ET on ESPN
DeMar DeRozan posted 20-9-9 in the Spurs’ 107-102 win over Miami on Sunday. The team followed that up by beating the Suns 120-118 on MLK Day. The surging Pelicans are still 4½ games out of the 8th seed in the West, but are scheduled to get a shot in the arm Wednesday with the NBA debut of the #1 overall draft pick Zion Williamson — buckle up!
Thursday, January 23
Los Angeles Lakers (34-8) vs Brooklyn Nets (18-23)
8pm ET on TNT
LeBron James is averaging 25.5-7.7-10.9; the only other guys who’ve done better than 25-7-10 are Oscar Robertson (4 times), James Harden, and Russell Westbrook (twice). However, at age 35, James is 6 years older than any of them were when they accomplished it. The Nets’ 2-11 slide has been highlighted by the ever magnanimous Kyrie Irving once again playing GM, letting the guys further down the bench know that they shouldn’t get too comfortable.
Dallas Mavericks (27-15) vs Portland Trail Blazers (18-26)
10:30pm ET on TNT
On Friday, the Mavs extended their winning streak to 4 with a 120-112 victory over the Blazers, with Luka Dončić going 35-8-7. Better still, Kristaps Porzingis is due back this week from a long layoff to rest his knee. Damian Lillard had one of the best games of his career yesterday, dropping a franchise-record 61 points (including 11 threes) in Portland’s overtime win over the Warriors.
Friday, January 24
Los Angeles Clippers (30-13) vs Miami Heat (29-12)
8pm ET on ESPN
One of two teams not to play on MLK Day, the Clips notched their third straight win on Saturday, beating the Pelicans 133-130 by overcoming a 14-point deficit in the 3rd, with Kawhi Leonard going 39-6-6 with 5 steals. Bam Adebayo had 21 points, 16 rebounds and 6 assists Sunday against the Spurs, but it wasn’t enough as the Heat fell 107-102.
Saturday, January 25
Los Angeles Lakers (34-8) vs Philadelphia 76ers (28-16)
8:30pm ET on ABC/ESPN3
Although they’re still the No. 1 team in the West, the Lakers were steamrolled 1379-107 by the Celtics on Monday. They look to bounce back against a Sixers team that’s on pace to win 50+ games for the 3rd straight year, a run of success that hasn’t occurred in Philly since the Dr. J Era.
Sunday, January 26
Boston Celtics (27-14) vs New Orleans Pelicans (16-27)
6pm ET on ESPN
Speaking of legendary teams, Jaylen Brown (20ppg), Jayson Tatum (21.3) and Kemba Walker (22.1) are on track to be the first trio of Celtics to average 20 ppg in a season since John Havlicek, Bailey Howell and Sam Jones in 1966-67. This will be one of the first majors tests for Zion Williamson, who appears to enjoy playing basketball much more than he likes to watch it.
Stats through Sunday, courtesy of Basketball Reference