Good news for the struggling Portland Trail Blazers: Superstar Damian Lillard received a cortisone injection procedure on his abdominals and could return as early as Sunday. Lillard received the shot last week and has been rehabbing ever since. The shot will not heal the underlying issue, but the hope is that it will ease the discomfort that Lillard has been dealing with. He has not played since Nov. 29. Here are two interesting NBA games this weekend. Check back for NBA odds.
Analysis of the best in NBA Betting 2021 season
Nets at Hawks
Friday night game at 7:30 PM ET on ESPN. These clubs nearly met in last season’s Eastern Conference Finals. The Hawks upset the 76ers on one side of the bracket in the semifinals but the Nets lost in seven games to the Bucks in the other.
Brooklyn hosted Atlanta on Nov. 3 this season in their first meeting and the Nets won 117-108. Kevin Durant scored 32 points and led the spurt that broke open the game late in the third quarter. Durant had 13 points in a 20-4 run to end the third that turned a tie game into a 16-point Nets lead going to the fourth. He added seven rebounds and five assists overall. Joe Harris made six 3-pointers and scored 18 points, and James Harden had 16 points and 11 assists. Harris is currently out injured.
De’Andre Hunter made all six 3-pointers and scored 26 points for the Hawks. Trae Young had 21 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds, but shot just 6 for 22. Hunter is currently out injured.
Atlanta will have a huge rest advantage for this one as it has been off since beating Minnesota 121-110 on Monday. Currently at 8-4 this season at State Farm Arena, Atlanta’s .727 home winning percentage is tied for the third best in the Eastern Conference. The Hawks’ eight home wins are tied for the most in the Eastern Conference. Atlanta is 18-4 in its last 22 regular season games played at the friendly confines of State Farm Arena.
So far this season, Hawks guard Trae Young has posted 12 points-to-assists double-doubles. Those 12 points-to-assists double-doubles are the most in the NBA. Hawks forward John Collins is leading the league in field goal percentage by a starting forward, shooting .572.
Warriors at 76ers
This is the first Saturday night ABC primetime game of the season. Because it’s so important to the league, all the stars should play unless they are truly hurt – as opposed to simply resting. That means MVP candidates Steph Curry and Joel Embiid. It’s the first meeting of the season between the Warriors and 76ers. Golden State has lost its past four in Philadelphia.
The broadcast team of Mike Breen, analysts Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson and sideline reporter Lisa Salters will call the matchup from Wells Fargo Center. The NBA Countdown team, featuring high-profile analysts Stephen A. Smith, Curt Gowdy Media Award-winner Michael Wilbon, Jalen Rose, and host Mike Greenberg, will provide pregame coverage on ABC live from courtside beginning at 8 p.m.
Golden State ranks third in the NBA in scoring (113.6 ppg), first in assists (29.0 apg), second in field goal percentage (.476), third in 3-point field goal percentage (.376). Defensively, the Warriors rank first in opponent scoring (100.6 ppg), first in opponent field goal percentage (.424), first in steals (9.92 spg), third in rebounding (47.1 rpg) and second in opponent 3-point field goal percentage (.324).
This could be the game where Steph Curry breaks Ray Allen’s all-time record for three-pointers made, although it probably won’t happen until early next week. When it happens, Curry will have hit the 2,974 mark in more than 500 fewer games, 500 fewer attempts and almost 20,000 fewer minutes that Allen required.
Curry is averaging 13.2 three-point attempts this season, which would be tied for the most in history, matched only by James Harden in 2018-19. A total of 63 percent of Curry’s shots this season have come from behind the arc, which would by far rank as the highest 3-point frequency of his career.
Curry has made at least one 3-pointer in 149 consecutive games, the league’s longest active streak and now the second-longest streak in NBA history after having passed Kyle Korver (127). Curry, who holds the all-time NBA record of 157 games, is the only player with two 100-plus streaks.