Get ready for a full slate of NBA hoops this Monday.
We have 10 games of NBA action with plenty of entertaining matchups on the hook. Below we have you covered with tonight's full schedule and where to watch each game, as well as the biggest storylines and some direction as to where to shift your attention once games tip-off.
|76ers at Pistons||7:00 p.m.||League Pass|
|Raptors at Pacers||7:00 p.m.||RDS / TSN Network|
|Hornets at Magic||7:00 p.m.||League Pass|
|Heat at Nets||7:30 p.m.||SNE / SNO / SNW|
|Lakers at Cavaliers||8:00 p.m.||SN One|
|Nuggets at Mavericks||8:30 p.m.||NBA TV Canada|
|Celtics at Bulls||9:00 p.m.||League Pass|
|Spurs at Pelicans||9:00 p.m.||League Pass|
|Timberwolves at Warriors||10:00 p.m.||SN One / SNE / SNO / SNW|
|Thunder at Trail Blazers||10:00 p.m.||TSN 1|
|Kings at Grizzlies||Postponed|
All times listed are Eastern Standard Time
Games on Sportsnet, TSN and NBA TV Canada are not available live on League Pass
LeBron's return to Cleveland
With far fewer fans allowed into the arena (approx. 2000) as compared to Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse's full capacity, there shouldn't be a lot of fanfare around the return of LeBron James to Cleveland. It will only be his second time facing the Cavaliers in Cleveland, since signing with the Los Angeles Lakers as a free agent in 2018, having won the only previous encounter on Nov. 21, 2018.
LeBron's return aside, the record and recent play of the Cavaliers is worth discussing. As they host The King, the Cavaliers are 8-8 - the first time since 2003 that they are .500 or better when they host James as an opponent. In fact, it's the first time they are facing James, home or away, with a record of .500 or better.
Now, they've won three of their last four including a couple against the star-studded Brooklyn Nets and boast of a top-six defensive rating. The problem is that the Lakers are owners of the league's best defensive-rating and land in Cleveland with a perfect 9-0 record on the road so far this season.
Given the disparity in talent level and talent depth, the Cavaliers might not pose a huge threat to the Lakers in this game but their impressive play of late is certainly worth a watch. After all, surely nobody picked them to pull off two consecutive wins against the Nets, right?
Jokic-Luka duel in Dallas
The duel between two international MVP candidates, both of whom are also exceptional passers, face-off in Dallas.
And if their recent encounters are any proof, this is a can't miss game from Monday's slate. Four of their last five games, dating back to Mar. 14, 2019, have either been decided on the last possession of the game or in overtime.
Their most recent clash on Jan. 7, both Jokic and Doncic had 38 points as the Mavericks beat the Nuggets in Denver 124-117 in overtime.
What adds further interest to this clash is the team's contrasting momentum. After a 6-4 start, Dallas has lost four of their last six while the Nuggets have won eight of their last 11 after starting 1-4.
Can Nets showcase improved defence?
After 18 games, the Nets allow an average of 116.8 points per game - fourth worst in the league - while their defensive rating of 111.8 ranks 25th in the league.
After their 2-0 start to the season, it's been tough sweating for the Nets defence and the burden on that end of the court has increased after their acquisition of James Harden. Since the Harden trade they have gone 3-2, but their defensive rating in those five games ranks 29th and they've allowed an average of 126.8 points - a league-worst.
The Big 3 of Harden, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving have gone 1-1 through their two games playing together so far, recording their first win just a couple of days back by surviving a fourth-quarter rally by a shorthanded Heat squad with no Jimmy Butler, Tyler Herro, Avery Bradley and Meyers Leonard. Miami lost by just four points after being down by as many 18 in the second half.
Clearly, Brooklyn's biggest weakness is a defensive-minded big but playing consecutive games against the Heat gives them the potential to showcase some defence. With the Heat set to put out more or less the same roster, can the Nets put up a better effort?
Optimal viewing plan
7:00 - 7:30 p.m: Get your day going by splitting the screen on League Pass between the 76ers-Pistons game and the Raptors-Pacers clash. Can Philadelphia dominate early this time and win their fourth straight or will it be another close encounter from a couple of days ago? What about the game in Indiana? Can Nick Nurse sweep the back-to-back road games against his former assistant Nate Bjorkgren?
7:30 - 8:30 p.m: At 7:30, transition to Heat-Nets clash in Brooklyn. Can the shorthanded Heat squad put up another fight against the star-studded Nets roster? It all depends on Brooklyn's defence. Stay locked-in on this one until the final buzzer unless the game gets out of hand. At 8:00 p.m., without fail, add a split-screen to the Cavaliers hosting hometown hero LeBron James and the defending champions. It's the first time the Cleveland franchise has a .500 record or better when facing James. An upset is possible given that the Cavaliers pulled off a couple of the Nets last week.
8:30 - 10:00 p.m: Take a call on which of these two games you want to continue watching - Nets-Heat or Lakers-Cavs - and split the screen on League Pass with the tip-off the Nuggets-Mavericks clash in Dallas where four of their last five games have gone down to the wire.
10:00 - Bedtime: Before switching over to the late-night games, ensure to see how the Nets-Heat or the Lakers-Cavaliers games are going. If it's close midway through the fourth (hint: it quite possibly could be), watch those two till the final buzzer sounds. If you haven't had enough NBA hoops after three hours, check-up on the Nuggets-Mavs scores before moving on to catch Stephen Curry leading the Dubs against the Timberwolves and Damian Lillard carrying the short-handed Trail Blazers versus the Thunder.
One of those two West Coast superstars are bound to put on a show.
Buckle up for an actioned-packed night of NBA hoops.
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