As NBA fans, we’re spoiled. Since December 25th, we’ve seen twenty-four games of absolute dominance. For nearly two weeks, we’ve seen the league’s best score 40+ points two dozen times, including Donovan Mitchell’s 71 points on Monday and Giannis Antetokounmpo’s double-nickel the following night.
Tonight’s first matchup pits two authors of some of the greatest games of late. In one corner is Jayson Tatum who dropped 41 points on the Bucks on Christmas Day. Playing host in Dallas is Luka Doncic who is leading the league in scoring at a cool 34.3 points per game. Last week, Doncic closed out 2022 with a 60-point masterpiece in an overtime win over the Knicks, 35 against his Texas rivals in Houston, and 51 vs. the Spurs. They've all been part of a seven-game winning streak that was the Mavericks looking like a Western Conference Finalist again. The Celtics, on the other hand, are riding a two-game losing streak. After seemingly righting the ship at the end of their homestand, they lost a stinker to the Oklahoma City Thunder 150-116 on Tuesday night.
Out west, the two-time MVP isn’t exactly filling up buckets, but he’s definitely stuffing his stat sheet. Nikola Jokic is averaging a near triple double with 25.6 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 9.5 assists a night. He’ll play host to the Los Angeles Clippers who, unfortunately, could be undermanned heading into Denver. Paul George tweaked his hamstring in their last game and Kawhi Leonard is dealing with a non-COVID illness. LA has lost three straight games heading into Ball Arena to face the #1 seed in the West.
In the night cap, the Nuggets are 5-point favorites over a potentially banged up Clippers team, but all eyes will be opener where the Mavericks are surprising 3-point home dogs hosting the Celtics. Dallas’ frontcourt limps into tonight’s contest without Dorian Finney-Smith and Maxi Kleber and could also be without JaVale McGee.
Here’s an interesting note from Green With Envy’s Greg Maneikis:
Their 8-1 record in nationally televised games suggests they will. Jayson Tatum’s 31.8 - 8.6 - 4.7 numbers in these marquee matchups suggest he’ll play at an MVP level.
Our friends at DraftKings allow same game parlays and if you’re expecting a Doncic-Tatum duel, let’s make things interesting. With a parlay, Luka and Tatum’s overs on points are 32.5 and 28.5 respectively; pair the over on both and you’re getting +130 odds. In their last meeting in Boston in late November, Doncic won the one-on-one duel with 42 points and nine assists, but Tatum won the game, scoring 37.