The Philadelphia 76ers got a huge win over the Bucks for Christmas, only to go a on a 3-game skid from which they have not yet recovered, a streak that included back-to-back 1-point losses. The Los Angeles Lakers, on the other hand, have recovered from their own holiday blues which saw them lose their fourth straight on Christmas Day, as they’ve since won three straight.
Friday, January 3
Philadelphia 76ers (23-13) vs Houston Rockets (23-11)
8pm ET on ESPN
The Sixers ended 2019 by getting beat up by the Pacers 115-97 as they collectively hit just 6 of 29 from 3-point land. It was Philly’s third straight loss and their sixth of their last nine games, a skid that has seen them fall down to sixth place in the East. Ben Simmons has now gone 11 consecutive games without hoisting a single three-pointer and has fired off just 5 all season. The Rockets marked the end of the year with a 130-104 victory over the Denver Nuggets with James Harden once again leading all scorers with 35 points. Harden is now averaging a league-best 38.2 ppg. As a team the Rockets lead the league in 3-point attempts and 3-pointers made, but are 20th in 3-point percentage.
New Orleans Pelicans (11-23) vs Los Angeles Lakers (26-7)
10:30pm ET on ESPN
Break up the Pelicans! New Orleans has won their last four in a row, with wins over Portland, Denver, Indiana and, most recently, Houston. On Sunday, the Pels bested the Rockets 127-112 behind Lonzo Ball’s first triple-double of the season, a 27-10-10 effort. In other news, the Pelicans are hopeful that their #1 draft pick, Zion Williamson, will be ready to finally make his NBA debut sometime this month. The Lakers recently hit a tough part of their scheduled and fared rather poorly, losing four straight to Indy, Milwaukee, Denver, and the Clippers, though they’ve since recovered with wins over Portland, Dallas and Phoenix. LA was the straw that stirred the drink in Wednesday’s 117-107 win over Phoenix, as he posted 31-13-12 for his 8th triple-double of the season and the 89th of his career, good for 5th all time. In other news, LeBron is just 3 steals short of tying Allen Iverson for 14th all time at 1983.
Stats through Wednesday, courtesy Basketball Reference