As teams rapidly approach the 50 game mark on the season, the fight for the playoffs continue to produce a multitude of interesting storylines.
Here are the top five games to watch this week:
Utah Jazz @ Portland Trail Blazers: 01/30/2019
The Jazz and the Trail Blazers will play the final game in their season series on Tuesday. Portland suffered back to back blowouts in the first two games losing by a combined 51 points. The Blazers managed to squeak by Utah with a 109-104 win on January 21 and will be looking to split the season series.
Both teams come into the game on winning streaks and picking up the win over each other could be vital in deciding the final position in the playoffs.
Milwaukee Bucks @ Toronto Raptors: 01/31/2019
The road to the NBA finals in the East will almost certainly run through one of these two teams.
Giannis Antetokounmpo is the reigning player of the week and will match up with fellow MVP candidate Kawhi Leonard. The two players will be key to the success of their teams as the season winds down towards the All Star Game, and the two All Stars will be on show in what is sure to be a great game.
Houston Rockets @ Denver Nuggets: 02/01/2019
James Harden, Chris Paul and the Houston Rockets will travel to the Mile High City on Friday as they look to continue to push for a top four seed in the West. Harden is currently on a stretch of 23 games with 30+ points and is averaging 44.1 points over the course of January.
Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets will have to find a way to slow the offensive dominance of Harden. Currently the 2 seeds, they sit 1.5 games back of the Warriors and will need to keep winning in order to maintain their hopes of home court advantage.
Houston Rockets @ Utah Jazz: 02/02/2019
The road trip continues for the Rockets as they travel to Utah to take on Donovan Mitchell and the Jazz, who have lost just one of their last ten games. They are heating up at just the right time and need to continue these performances down the stretch to hold on to their place in the playoffs.
Two difficult games for the Rockets will put an even bigger emphasis on their rotation, having Chris Paul back could be the factor that keeps the Rockets on their run toward the top of the playoff seeds.
Oklahoma City Thunder @ Boston Celtics: 02/03/2019
Paul George has been on a tear recently, coming up clutch in the Thunder’s win over the Bucks last week, punctuated with a dunk over Giannis. His recent performances have put his name amongst the MVP race alongside Point Guard and perennial triple-double machine Russell Westbrook.
Kyrie Irving and the Boston Celtics have suffered some difficult losses throughout the season. Overcoming the rolling Thunder would send out the perfect message to the league that they are ready to make a run deep into the playoffs.
By Sonny Cohen