This weekend marks the first of five straight Sundays in which the NBA will play in primetime in India. You can catch the action this Sunday at 9pm IST on Ten 1 and Ten 3.
- March 10: Bulls at Pistons
- March 17: Lakers at Knicks
- March 24: Clippers at Knicks
- March 31: Bucks at Pistons
- April 7: Heat at Raptors
With the Bulls and Pistons up first, here's a closer look at some of the biggest reasons to tune in!
Blake Griffin's superstar season
Away from the limelight of Los Angeles and in the bottom half of the Eastern Conference playoff standings, Blake Griffin is quietly having a monster season.
For a player that once finished third in MVP voting behind only Kevin Durant and LeBron James, it's not to be taken lightly that he's having perhaps the best season of his entire career.
It's apparent on the surface. Griffin is averaging a career-high 25.2 points per game which when you also take into account his rebounding and playmaking, puts him on a short list this season that includes only MVP frontrunner Giannis Antetokounmpo and four-tme MVP LeBron James.
Taking a closer look reveals that not only is Griffin filling up the stat sheet, he's doing so while carrying the burden typically reserved for MVP candidates.
Pistons coach Dwane Casey trusts Griffin so much that he runs his entire offence through him. According to NBA.com/stats, Griffin touches the ball over 91 times per game, second in the league behind only Nikola Jokic who is near the top of the MVP debate while playing a Griffn-esque role with the Denver Nuggets.
MORE: NBA MVP Power Rankings
There are cameras above the floor in every NBA arena that captures every movement by every player and the ball. A company called Second Spectrum then takes these millions upon millions of data points and with its machine-learning algorithms, churns out never-before-seen insights. It's what allows us to know things like how fast players run, how many times someone touches to the ball or how long the ball remains in any one player's possession.
If you think players like Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Giannis Antetokounmpo control everything for their teams, just know that Griffin has the ball in his hands even more than they do, averaging five minutes of total time of possession every game.
Want to watch one of the NBA's best forwards in action? Tune in for the Blake Griffin show!
Who are the best clutch players in the NBA?
When the game is tight and late, who are the players you'd most want on your team? Names like LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, James Harden and Kyrie Irving probably come to mind.
Here's another name to consider: Zach LaVine.
Sunday marks his 24th birthday and if recent history is any indication, he could end up celebrating by coming up clutch once again.
Earlier this week against the 76ers he capped off a 39-point performance with this game-winning shot.
ZACH LAVINE DOUBLE CLUTCHES FOR THE LEAD!#BullsNation 108#HereTheyCome 107- NBA (@NBA) March 7, 2019
0.5 on the clock on @ESPNNBA. PHI ball. pic.twitter.com/nW80PYnINz
That came less than a week after he dropped a career-high 47 points in a triple-overtime thriller against the Hawks in what was the third-highest scoring game in NBA history.
Even if he's just starting to make waves for his lae-game heroics, just know that LaVine has been doing it all season long! He's made 17 shots in the final two minutes of one-possession games, the most in the NBA this season.
Zooming out to the final five minutes of games and the score within five points, the more standard definition of clutch time, and only Kyrie Irving and Kawhi Leonard have been more prolific shot makers this season.
If this one goes down to the wire, expect to see some fireworks from LaVine.