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Here’s a look at the best battles in the National Basketball Association this week.
Wednesday, Dec. 11 at 7 p.m. ET
The Los Angeles Clippers and Toronto Raptors have similar records and have both looked good this season, but there’s only one thing that matters in this game: Kawhi Leonard. Leonard will make his return to Toronto for the first time since he led the Raptors to to their first-ever NBA championship and signed with the Clippers a month later. Leonard was with the Raptors for only a year, but he helped the team make history. His return will be a must-see.
Thursday, Dec. 12 at 8 p.m. ET
The Philadelphia 76ers have won six of their past seven games, but the Boston Celtics’ trio of Kemba Walker, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum has solidified in a big way. These two rosters facing each other should make for a hotly contested matchup, but games between the Sixers and Boston Celtics are always entertaining, at least for the angst. These two teams have had bad blood since the Celtics eliminated the Sixers in the 2018 Eastern Conference Semifinals, and it can make for excellent basketball.
Friday, Dec. 13 at 7 p.m. ET
The Los Angeles Lakers are on a roll. They’ve got the best record in the NBA (21-3) and Anthony Davis dropped 50 points on the Timberwolves on Sunday night. They’ve also won 11 straight road games, but the Miami Heat are a formidable foe. If any team is up to the challenge of ending that streak, it’s Jimmy Butler and the Miami contingent.
Saturday, Dec. 14 at 8:30 p.m. ET
Jimmy Butler is alive and balling for the Heat, but Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks are like a brick wall. Doncic has been playing like a man possessed, and he just surpassed Michael Jordan with his streak of 19 straight games with at least 20 points, five rebounds and five assists. The Heat have been a little inconsistent of late (after their OT win in Toronto they got shellacked by the Celtics), so who knows what kind of team the Mavs will be facing.
Sunday, Dec. 15 at 6:00 p.m. ET
Bad news for the Atlanta Hawks: The Lakers have an 11-1 road record. By the time they face the Hawks that could possibly be an 11-2 road record, but that would be little comfort for the 6-17 Hawks. The Lakers are completely overwhelming their competition right now, but at least the Hawks have Vince Carter, who will play his 1,500th NBA game this week. Small victories, right?