NBA

NBA League Pass Guide to the Week: Can't miss games for April 5-11

Post-All-Star break is always an exciting time in the NBA with multiple superstar head-to-head matchups slated every week.

In the shorter 2020-21 season, the jam-packed second-half schedule means more of those contests to circle on your calendar.

Here's a quick scan through the must-see games for the upcoming week (April 5-11).

All game times listed are IST.

Tuesday, April 6

Knicks at Nets - 4:30 a.m

Despite the injuries, the Nets have worked their way to the top of the Eastern Conference along with the 76ers and the Bucks, courtesy of their depth. Meanwhile, the Knicks, who are among the best defensive teams in the league, are 25-25 heading into this week and in the middle of a logjam in the East standings.

Although the Nets have already won the previous two encounters, it hasn't been easy. Both games were decided by single digits, and this one could attract more eyeballs with Kevin Durant possibly returning.

Jazz at Mavericks - 4:30 a.m

Going by the recent results for these teams, this should be an absolute entertainer.

The league-leading Jazz have won nine straight and seem to have recovered from their rough patch leading into and following the All-Star Game. On the other hand, Luka Doncic and the Mavericks have been rising after a slow start, having won four straight and 18 of their last 25.

In their two previous matchups in Salt Lake City in late January, the Jazz won both games comfortably. How will this one go?

Wednesday, April 7

76ers at Celtics - 5:00 a.m

These two franchises have provided us exciting, gripping contests over the past few years. The return of Joel Embiid spices the matchup that much more.

Can the Celtics, who are in desperate need for momentum having lost eight of 13 since the All-Star break, grab a statement win and turn their season around? Or will the East-leading 76ers (entering the week) dominate off the back of Embiid and showcase their championship-level potential?

Lakers at Raptors - 5:00 a.m

A short-handed Lakers squad that has missed both its All-Star in LeBron James and Anthony Davis recorded some much-needed wins last week. They have won three of their last four heading into this week, with wins coming against the Cavaliers, Magic and Kings.

This clash in Tampa against the Raptors is the start of a five-game East Coast swing for the team. With or without LeBron and Davis, this game could set the tone for the rest of their trip, which includes stops in Miami and Brooklyn.

On the flip side, the Raptors pulled off a historic 53-point win after having lost 13 of their previous 14. Can they carry that momentum into what should be a winnable contest?

Trail Blazers at Clippers - 7:30 a.m.

With two key starters returning from injury, the Trail Blazers have picked up some steam by winning four of their last five heading into this week.

While the Clippers seemed to have found their mojo during their recent six-game win streak, back-to-back losses to the Magic and Nuggets hasn't helped them find consistency, something that's eluded them since February.

Another interesting element to this is where the season series stands. Heading into this one, the Clippers lead 1-0 with two games remaining. Winning the head-to-head will be key given how close both teams are in the West standings.

Thursday, April 8

Pelicans at Nets - 5:00 a.m

The stacked Nets are the hottest team in the league since mid-February, having won 20 of their last 23. They'll host a Pelicans squad led by Zion Williamson, who's having a season for the history books.

From Zion to Durant, Kyrie Irving to James Harden and Brandon Ingram to Blake Griffin, this one is a must-watch.

Jazz at Suns - 7:30 a.m.

Since mid-February, the Suns have been the second-hottest team in the league.

The Jazz and Suns are two of only three that rank in the top 10 of both offensive and defensive rating. Get the popcorn going because this should be a good one.

Friday, April 9

Bucks at Mavericks - 6:30 a.m.

This contest will be headlined by the face-off between Doncic and Giannis Antetokounmpo, two of the top international players in the league.

The last time they played, it went down the wire in the favour of the Mavericks, with both stars balling out.

Both teams come into this week with plenty of momentum.

Trail Blazers at Jazz - 7:30 a.m.

It's a competitive week for the league-leading Jazz. After facing the Mavericks and the Suns in the span of three days, they host Damian Lillard and the Trail Blazers on the second night of a back-to-back. The Jazz winning all three games would be a huge statement.

The Jazz and Trail Blazers previously played in the opening week, with Utah blowing out Portland. Can Lillard and the Trail Blazers make this one more competitive?

Suns at Clippers - 7:30 a.m.

The Suns have been rolling coming into this week. They'll be looking to make a statement by carrying the momentum forward with wins over the Jazz and the Clippers.

Los Angeles is in dire need of consistency. Acquired at the trade deadline, how much of an impact will Rajon Rondo make? What about DeMarcus Cousins, who could soon be joining the team?

Plenty of storylines could be impacted by the result of this game. Don't miss this one at the STAPLES Center.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA or its clubs.

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