NBA League Pass Games to Watch: Week 6

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Gordon Hayward’s layup with 0.7 seconds left capped off a comeback win for the Hornets in Orlando on Sunday.

Here is a closer look at some of this week’s best matchups available only on NBA League Pass.

(Note: All stats and records are from games played through Jan. 24, 2021.)

Jan. 25

7 p.m. ET, NBA League Pass

A new wrinkle to this season’s schedule — where teams play consecutive games in the same city, some on back-to-back nights, some with a day off in between — not only reduces team travel, it also sets up mini two-game series that have a bit of a playoff feel. The Hornets and Magic had their first meeting on Sunday with Gordon Hayward (39 pts, nine rebounds) hitting a game-winning layup with 0.7 seconds left to cap off a Hornets comeback win. Now less than 24 hours later, the teams will meet again with Orlando looking to avenge the loss and Charlotte looking to take a dominant 2-0 lead in the season series.
This game will also feature some NBA history as it will be the first game with two women in the same officiating crew. The NBA has had women referees for decades, but tonight will be the first time two work side-by-side on the same game.

8 p.m. ET, NBA League Pass

It’s always a must-watch game whenever LeBron James returns to Cleveland. After all, he spent 11 of his first 15 NBA seasons with the Cavs and led them to their first and only title in 2016. LeBron and the Lakers come to Cleveland tied for the best record in the league (13-4), but face an up-and-coming Cavs team that just spoiled the debut of the new Brooklyn Big Three last week. Collin Sexton has taken a leap in his third season and scored a career-best 42 points in a win against Brooklyn last week. He’s averaging a career-best 25.5 ppg this season, a 4.7 ppg improvement from 2019-20.
Can the Cavs be the first team to hand the Lakers a road loss this season? The Lakers are 9-0 on the road to open the season, the second-best start away from home in team history (NBA record 16-0 in 1971-72).

Jan. 26

9 p.m. ET, NBA League Pass

The Jazz enter this week as the hottest team thanks to the eight-game win streak they sport entering Tuesday’s matchup with the Knicks. Utah is not just winning games, it is crushing opponents with seven of the eight wins in the streak coming by double digits (and an average margin of victory of 15.9 points). During the streak, Donovan Mitchell is averaging a team-high 27.3 ppg while shooting 51% overall, 50% on 3-pointers and 89.5% at the line.

Jan. 27

7:30 p.m. ET, NBA League Pass

This game features two of the NBA’s most versatile big men in Denver’s Nikola Jokic and Miami’s Bam Adebayo. Jokic enters this week ranked 12th in the league in scoring (25.8 ppg), sixth in rebounding (12.0 rpg), tied for fourth in steals (1.9 spg) and second in assists (9.6 apg) — career highs in all four categories. Adebayo posted a career-high 41 points on Saturday and enters the week ranked ninth in the NBA in field goal percentage (61.7%) and 2nd among high-volume shooters (those ranked in top 125 in field goal attempts). (Jokic and Adebayo are also two of the six players averaging at least 20 points, eight rebounds and five assists per game this season.) The Nuggets enter the week riding a three-game win streak, while the Heat are short-handed but may get some reinforcements in time for the matchup.

Jan. 29

8 p.m. ET, NBA League Pass

The Clippers enter Week 6 riding a seven-game win streak that has propelled them to a tie with the Lakers for the top record in the NBA. Kawhi Leonard has put up monster numbers during the streak: 29.1 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 5.6 apg, 2.1 spg, 57% FG, 48.7% on 3-pointers and 96.9% on free throws. This is the third game of a six-game East Coast road trip for the Clippers. Entering the week, the Clippers are 11-4 against West opponents and 2-0 against East opponents, averaging 129.5 ppg in games against Indiana and Chicago. After opening the season with four straight wins, the Magic have gone 3-10 since, but have three home games this week.

Kevin Durant and James Harden return to Oklahoma City for the first time as members of the Brooklyn Nets.

8 p.m. ET, NBA League Pass

We spotlighted this game in our League Pass Watch Guide for the first half of the season as it marked the first appearance by Kevin Durant in Oklahoma City as a member of the Brooklyn Nets. Since then, the Nets added another former Thunder star in James Harden, who played his first three seasons in OKC. The Nets are 3-2 since adding Harden in a blockbuster trade, but the trio of Harden, Durant and Kyrie Irving have only shared the court for two games so far. OKC enters this week having lost three straight and five of its last six games.

Jan. 30

8 p.m. ET, NBA League Pass

Injuries to starters CJ McCollum (out four weeks with a foot fracture) and Jusuf Nurkic (six weeks, wrist fracture) have hurt, but Portland still has Damian Lillard, who gives the Blazers a chance to win in every game. In the first two games since losing McCollum, Lillard has averaged 37 ppg on 52.5% shooting (45% on 3-pointers; 100% on free throws). Entering Week 6, Lillard ranks third in the NBA in scoring (28.9 ppg) and will face another top-10 scorer in Zach LaVine (career-best 26.8 ppg, eighth in NBA). LaVine is one of seven players to average at least 25-5-5 this season as he’s enjoying a career-best season stats-wise in 2020-21.

Jan. 31

7 p.m. ET, NBA League Pass

The Sixers enter Week 6 with the top record in the East and have Joel Embiid playing like a Kia MVP candidate. Last week, Embiid averaged a league-best 37.7 ppg on 61.1% shooting and added 11.7 rpg to lead the Sixers to a 3-0 record. This is the first meeting of the season between the Pacers and Sixers, but in two games last season, Embiid averaged 36.5 ppg on 60.5% shooting and 16.0 rpg. The Pacers have Myles Turner (league-high 4.2 bpg) and Domantas Sabonis to try to slow down Embiid and help Indiana try to take down the conference leader.

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