NBA Rivals Week kicks off today and it’s sure to be an amazing week of Basketball!
Rivals Week is highlighted by 11 nationally televised games featuring some of the best rivalries, and new rivalries, in the association!
January 24: Knicks @ Nets, Lakers @ Clippers:
The Knicks are entering this game on the back of 3 straight wins, and since the addition of OG Anunoby, look like a completely different team. OG has given the Knicks some much needed defensive stability and a guy who can knock down the corner 3 ball efficiently! They look ready to go for an Eastern Conference Playoff run. Brooklyn on the other hand are struggling this season, currently in 11 th position in the East, they look to be making a move come NBA Trade Deadline, with Spencer Dinwiddie rumoured to be on his way out.
The Clippers have dominated this rivalry in recent years, but come into this contest losing the only two meetings between the teams this season. The Lakers won the last battle 106-103 on the back of big games from Anthony Davis and LeBron James. At the start of the season, the Lakers defeated the Clippers 130-125 in an OT Thriller, with Davis (27 Pts 10 Rbs) and LeBron (35 Pts-12 Rbs and 7 Asts) huge in that contest. Kawhi and Paul George combined for 73 points in Game 1, and they’ll be needed alongside James Harden to get their first victory over their cross town rival this season!
January 25: Suns @ Mavericks, OKC @ Spurs:
Phoenix and Dallas go head to head for the 2 nd time this season and this one is sure to be one of the best games in Rivals Week! There’s always plenty of feeling when these two teams meet ever since their very spicy playoff contest a couple of seasons ago. Luka dominated the first contest on Boxing Day between the two teams, having 50 Pts, 6 Rbs and 15 Assists in a 128-114 victory!
OKC have been incredible to start the season, with the Thunder sitting in 2 nd position out West, whilst their opponents are sitting near bottom in the league. The NBA has put this rivalry together on the back of two of the best Rookies in the league facing off against each other. Chet Holmgren goes head to head with Victor Wembanyama with what is sure to set up a rivalry between the two amazing big men for years to come. Chet is the current favourite to win Rookie of the Year, but you can’t count out Wemby given the numbers he has put up this season for the Spurs (averaging just shy of 20 Pts -10 Rbs).
January 26: Celtics @ Heat, Kings @ Warriors:
Boston and Miami are facing off for the 2 nd time this season, with the Celtics winning the opening battle 119-111. They’ve been a regular feature in the Eastern Conference Finals for a number of years now, and there’s no doubt the Celtics will want a little revenge for the way things ended last season in the conference finals, with Boston failing to win a Game 7 on their home floor after coming back from 3-0 down!
Golden State have had their last two games postponed due to the tragic passing of their assistant coach Dejan Milojevic. It’s very hard to know how Golden State goes moving forward for the rest of the season given the situation, as well as the fact that they were not playing good basketball at all this season (currently in 12th position).
January 27: Mavericks @ Hawks, TrailBlazers @ Spurs:
Atlanta has been poor this season especially at home, currently with an 8-12 record, and given the status of Trae Young is unknown (in concussion protocol), they may find it tough to get a win here. This Rivalry is based around Luka Doncic and Trae Young being traded to their opposing teams on draft night, and as much would say the Mavs torched Atlanta on Draft night, both players have reached the same goal for their teams. Luka and Trae have both been defeated in the Conference Finals, with the Hawks getting there on the back of the forever mentioned Philadelphia downfall night with Simmons and Embiid bowing out, eventually losing to the Bucks (NBA Champions). Dallas meanwhile were also defeated by the Golden State Warriors, who went on to win the NBA Title against the Boston Celtics.
Portland and the Spurs battle in a new rivalry in the NBA, with the Number 1 pick going up against the Number 2 pick in this match up. Wemby goes head to head with Scoot Henderson in a matchup between two battling franchises as of now. As of right now this won’t be one of the most highly watched match ups on Rivals Week, but over time it could grow with the two young studs looking to make their mark in the NBA!
January 28: Heat @ Knicks, 76ers @ Nuggets, Lakers @ Warriors:
Three times the fun to finish off Rivals Week, and we get things started with the Miami Heat heading back to Madison Square Garden to face off against the Knicks. Miami knocked off the Knicks in the 1 st round of the East Playoffs last season. In their first match up this season, New York stormed home late on the back of a 29-11 last qtr to win 100-98, and there’s no doubt this game will have a playoff type atmosphere, with both teams vying for a top 4 seed in the East.
Philly travel to Denver in our 2nd last Rivalry match up, with the focus on the last 2 MVP Winners. Both Embiid and Jokic had ridiculous nights out in their last match up, with Embiid going for 41 Pts, 7 Rbs and 10 Asts, whilst Jokic followed that up with 25 Pts, 19 Rbs and 3 Assists. Philly managed to win the match 126-121, and there’s no doubt this one will be another great battle between the 2 superstars vying for the MVP trophy again this season!
Our last match up for Rivals week takes us back to San Francisco, with the Los Angeles Lakers going head to head against the Golden State Warriors. This could very well be the last season we see LeBron in a Lakers uniform up against the Splash Brothers. While it may be their 1 st of 4 meetings this season, it may very well be the last time we see this match up with both teams as they are! Trade deadline is only a couple of weeks away, and there’s no doubting both teams will be busy on the phones to make some moves to give them any kind of chance to win the NBA Championship this season.
It’s going to be a great week of basketball and we look forward to the new and old rivalries
to take centre stage!