Raptors (13-15) at Bucks (16-12)
7:30 p.m. ET, TNT
• This is the third meeting of the season between the Raptors and Bucks with the season series split 1-1. The Raptors earned the most recent win on Tuesday behind 33 points from Fred VanVleet. The Raptors are 4-1 this season when VanVleet scores at least 30 points.
• While Giannis Antetokounmpo scored a game-high 34 points on Tuesday, Khris Middleton (Milwaukee’s second-leading scorer on the season at 20.3 ppg) was held to just 11 points on eight shot attempts – his second-lowest marks of the year in both categories. Norman Powell defended Middleton for a 4:26 (35.1% of Middleton’s offensive matchup time) and held him scoreless and without even a field goal attempt or assist.
• The Bucks (16.3 ppg, 1st) and Raptors (15.5 ppg, 5th) both rank in the top five in fast break points this season. The Bucks also rank first defensively as they allow a league-low 9.8 fast-break points per game, while the Raptors rank 18th at 12.8 ppg allowed.
• The Raptors (15.7) and Bucks (15.2) rank third and fourth, respectively, in 3-pointers made per game. The Bucks have the edge in accuracy as they rank third in 3-point percentage at 39.8% while the Raptors rank sixth at 38.6%. A key for Milwaukee is taking advantage of open looks – they rank fourth in wide-open 3-pointers made (8.8 per game), attempted (20.9 per game) and accuracy (41.9%) with the closest defender at least six feet away.
• Over the past 10 games, Pascal Siakam is averaging a team-high 24.4 points on 47.3% shooting from them field and 37.8% on 3-point attempts, with four 30-point games during this stretch. This is significant bump from his first 15 games of the season when he averaged 18.1 points on 44.1% shooting from the field and 25.4% on 3-point attempts with just one 30-point game.
Nets (18-12) at Lakers (22-7)
10 p.m. ET, TNT
• This a matchup of strength vs. strength as the Nets high-powered offense faces the lockdown Lakers’ defense. The Nets lead the NBA in scoring (121.7 ppg) and shooting (58.8 eFG%), and rank second in offensive efficiency (117.9). Conversely, the Lakers rank first in defensive efficiency (105.2), fourth in opponent eFG% (51.2%) as opponents average just 105.8 ppg against Los Angeles (2nd in NBA).
• LeBron James enters Thursday needing 15 points to join Karl Malone (36,928) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387) as the only players in NBA history to reach 35,000 career points. LeBron has scored at least 15 points in every game this season and has only 56 games with 15 points or fewer in his 1,294 career games played (4.3% of games).
• James Harden (65) and LeBron James (61) rank third and seventh, respectively, in clutch scoring this season. Harden is shooting 17-31 (54.8%) from the field and 7-13 (53.8%) on 3-pointers in 60 clutch minutes; of the 40 players with at least 20 clutch field goal attempts, Harden’s 54.8 FG% ranks third. LeBron is tied with Damian Lillard for the most clutch baskets made as he’s shot 24-49 (49.0%) in 64 clutch minutes.
• The Nets rank second in 3-point percentage, hitting 40.7% of their shots from beyond the arc and sinking 15.1 3-pointers per game (fifth in the league) thanks to Joe Harris (3.3), Kyrie Irving (3.1) and James Harden (3.0) all averaging at least three 3-pointers per game. However, the Lakers hold teams to 34.8% shooting on 3-pointers on 32.5 attempts per game, placing them third and fifth in the league, respectively.
• In eight games in February, LeBron James is averaging 26.8 points, 9.3 rebonds, 9.1 assists and shooting 53.3% from the field while playing a league-high 38.3 minutes per game. LeBron’s minutes were limited to begin the season as he averaged 31.8 mpg over through the first 14 games of the season with no games over 36 minutes. Over the past 15 games, LeBron has averaged 37.4 mpg with 10 games over 36 minutes.