NBA Games to Watch

NBA Games to Watch

My Most Anticipated "Week of Thanksgiving" Games


Because of my splurge on NBA League Pass, I now have the option to watch almost any game I want (save for the ones that I get blacked out of). So, at the beginning of every week, I go through all the games and see which games are worth watching. Here are my picks for next week:

Sunday, 11/18

Grizzlies vs. Timberwolves

While I'm writing this, the Grizzlies are 5th in the Western Conference. This also might be the first game of theirs that I am watching this season (it's still early). With that being said, I don't know much about this team only that Chandler Parsons (a former Houston Rocket) plays for them, so I will be looking out for him. Besides, I'm not recommending this game because of the Grizzlies. Instead, I think the coming weeks will prove to be interesting for the Timberwolves. With the recent trade of hothead Jimmy Butler, I will be curious to see how this team shapes up without him. In Butler's words, the Wolves "[bleeping] need [him]," so we will see if he is right!

Lakers vs. Heat

I plan on writing a whole piece on my new Lakers obsession (a guilty one I might add- I grew up a quasi-Celtics fan), so I will summarize here. In short, the chemistry between the Lebron, the young guys (Ball, Kuzma, Hart, Ingram, Caldwell-Pope), and the old guys (Rondo, Chandler, Stephenson, McGee) is fascinating to me. Josh Hart is also one of my new favorite players to watch (I recommend reading this great article by Paolo Ugetti from The Ringer). Also, I love watching players play against their former team (Lebron and the Heat).

Los Angeles Lakers vs Atlanta Hawks Full Game Highlights | 11.11.2018, NBA Season

Trail Blazers vs. Wizards

Similar to my Lakers fascination, the Wizards chemistry issues have been an interesting storyline in this young season. Their initial struggles (highlighted in this Washington Post article) were subject to media scrutiny, but they have appeared to have a found at least the beginning of a stride as we head into the holidays. Also, as I'm writing this, the Blazers are 2nd in the Western Conference, and it's always fun to watch good basketball.

Warriors vs. Spurs

I'm a bitter Rockets fan, but I have to admit, the Warriors are fun to watch. Because I live in the Bay Area now, I'm subjected to an overload of "Dub nation-ness." Again, it's always fun to watch good basketball, and the Warriors are, to say the absolute least, very good. As for the Spurs, the recent DeMar DeRozan trade has proven to be an excellent deal for the team as they stand 6th in the Western Conference. Also, Pau Gasol stills plays!

Monday, 11/19

Jazz vs. Pacers

The Jazz are currently .500 (ranked 9th the Western Conference), and the Pacers are .571 (ranked 5th in the Eastern Conference). The Jazz will be playing 5 games in 8 days, Indiana being the last game of this road-trip, so it will be interesting to see how well they hold up after being on the road. However, I'm most interested in Victor Oladipo. Along with basketball, Oladipo also sings (his new track "Connected" just dropped earlier this month) and has been politically involved in the recent unsuccessfully campaign to reelect senator Joe Donnelly of Indiana. On most nights, Oladipo appears to be the shining light amongst lower-ranked players; According to Paul Pierce, he's the "loneliest superstar in the Eastern Conference, maybe even in the league." Oladipo's rise in stardom, albeit lonely stardom, will be another interesting storyline to follow this season.

Suns vs. 76ers

I'll be honest, I would typically not be down to watch a Suns game. They are ranked last in the Western Conference, and if you haven't watched Charles Barkley go in on the Suns, please treat yourself. However, I am interested in seeing Trevor Ariza (a former Houston Rocket). The most interesting storyline in the NBA has been the Jimmy Butler fiasco. Long story short, Butler was frustrated at the lack of effort from the other Wolves players, specifically from superstars Karl Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins. As a result, he requested a trade. Finally, the Wolves reached a decision and Butler was traded to the 76ers. The coming weeks will be interesting to say the least; if Butler was frustrated with Towns and Wiggins, one can only imagine what is to come with the likes of Simmons, Embiid, and Fultz.

Celtics vs. Hornets

I'll be honest, I don't know a lot about the Hornets, but they are ranked 5th in the Eastern Conference. The Celtics are a hodgepodge of incredibly talented players, which sounds good, but actually might be terrible. The team, as they work out what lineups work best with all their star players, have suffered a few hard losses recently. Nonetheless, Jayson Tatum is on track to be one of the greatest of all time, and I like to imagine myself telling my grandchildren I watched him when he was just 20 years old.

Nuggets vs. Bucks

Two words: Giannis Antetokounmpo aka The Greek Freak. Giannis is on his way to an MVP season, and he's only 23 years old. According to one writer, "he's already surpassed heavyweights such as Lebron Jams, Kevin Durant, or Stephen Curry." I'll be honest, I don't know many of the other players on the Bucks, so it does feel like an Oladipo on the Pacers kind of situation. Regardless, the Bucks, currently ranked 2nd in the Eastern Conference, are set on their goal: "to be the top team in the East." The Denver Nuggets, according to Charles Barkley, "will have a better record than the Lakers." The Nuggets, although suffering a 4th straight loss last night, are still ranked 3rd in the Western Conference. Nikola Jokić and Jamal Murray are the two players to watch as they strive to recover from this week's losses.

Giannis Antetokounmpo vs Kevin Durant FREAKS Duel 2018.11.08 - Giannis With 24 Pts, 9 Rebs, 4 Asts!

Tuesday, 11/20

Raptors vs. Magic

The Raptors, with new addition Kawhi Leonard, are currently ranked 1st in the Eastern Conference. So, they're pretty good, I guess. There was some initial concern over the chemistry of the new team given that the Raptors traded fan-favorite DeMar DeRozan for Leonard over the summer. DeRozan and current Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry were best friends and splitting the two up was a true tragedy. Nonetheless, both Leonard and DeRozan appear to thriving in their new respective positions. I don't have a lot to say about the Magic besides the fact that I can't get over how much Aaron Gordon looks like Aaron Judge. This Blazers game comes at the end of a tough spot in their schedule (76ers, Lakers, Knicks) before they move on to tough road trip (Nuggets, Lakers, Blazers, Warriors). If there were any time to prove what this team is made of, that time is now.

Clippers vs. Wizards

The Clippers are a fun team, and they recently pulled out a win over the Warriors in OT. I haven't watched a Clippers game this year, so I just did a quick Google search to see how even played for them, and it appears to be a hodge-podge of many different players coming from many different teams (Lou Williams, Marcin Gortat, Patrick Beverly, Danilo Gallinari). Also, a former Houston Rocket, Luc Mbah a Moute, currently plays for the Clippers. I'm interested in following the Clippers storyline primarily because I've always been fascinated by the fact that LA has two teams. No matter how good the Clippers are, will LA ever love them as much as they love the Lakers (especially with Lebron)?

Golden State Warriors vs LA Clippers Full Game Highlights | 11.12.2018, NBA Season

Wednesday, 11/21

Pelicans vs. 76ers

As previously discussed, the 76ers will be an interesting team to watch in the upcoming weeks. The Pelicans are off to a slower start this season, but it's still early. With the loss of Demarcus Cousins in the Warriors in the offseason, Anthony Davis has become the star of the show for the Pelicans. If Anthony Davis were playing for a big-market team, like the Lakers or the Celtics, he would be talked about with the likes of Curry, Durant, and other big names. Anthony Davis is good, really good, and this is definitely one of my most anticipated games of next week. Rising stars Davis, Simmons, and Embiid are all coming up in a new NBA that they have the power to control.

Raptors vs. Hawks

The Raptors are good, and the Hawks are 2nd to last in the Eastern Conference. Nonetheless, Trae Young is a rising star in the NBA and has the potential to be Rookie of the Year. Also, he's affectionately referred to has Ice-Trae by the members of Migos, which is fun.

Knicks vs. Celtics

The Celtics are good, and the Knicks are 3rd to last in the Eastern Conference. I'll be honest, I would not watch this game if I weren't a quasi-Celtics fan.

Pistons vs. Rockets

If you couldn't already tell, I'm a Rockets fan. After a rough start to the season, the Rockets finally start to look like they are coming back. Whether or not this rough start can be attributed to Melo, I can't say because I don't know really know enough about basketball. Unless I am on my way to a Warriors game on Wednesday (I know this sounds traitorous, but come on, it's the Warriors!), I will definitely be watching this game. All I know about the Pistons is that Blake Griffin plays for them, so that's fun!

The two ESPN games for ESPN's NBA Wednesday are Lakers vs. Cavaliers and Thunder vs. Warriors, which I actually might go to! The Lakers vs. Cavaliers game will be interesting to see the fans reaction to Lebron being back in Cleveland; I hope it's not like Lebron's return to Cleveland after he went to Miami. Then again, that might be entertaining. I'm excited for both of these games mainly because of the potential tension and side-storyline, both between and within teams (the Draymond Green vs. Kevin Durant story is what I'm most interested in currently).

Full Kevin Durant-Draymond Green yelling video.

A few teams that I've already discussed are also playing on Wednesday: Pacers vs. Hornets, Trail Blazers vs. Bucks, Nuggets vs. Timberwolves, and Grizzlies vs. Clippers.

On Friday 11/23, I have the day off thanks to Thanksgiving Break. The games I hope to watch are Rockets vs. Pistons (again), Spurs vs. Pacers, Jazz vs. Lakers, and Trail Blazers vs. Warriors.

Overall, my top 3 games of this week are

1) Warriors vs. Thunder

2) Lakers vs. Cavaliers

3) Jazz vs. Lakers

Popular Right Now

Why Don't MMA Fighters Fight At Their Natural Weight?

Examining why MMA fighters cut weight and why they shouldn't.

In the main event of UFC 206 on Saturday night, Anthony Pettis fought Max Holloway for the UFC interim featherweight title. Well, it was a title fight for Holloway, not Pettis. Pettis weighed in at 148 pounds, three pounds over the featherweight division's 145-pound limit. This made him ineligible to win the title. This got me wondering, why don't fighters just fight at their natural weight?

Cutting weight is dangerous, at least the way fighters do it. Fighters drain the water from their body, almost to the point of severe dehydration. About five days before they weigh-in, fighters drink 2 gallons of water. Then, the next two days, they drink 1 gallon of water each day. The next day, they drink 0.50 gallons and the day before weigh-ins they drink 0.25 gallons of water. On the day of the weigh-in, they don't drink any water until after stepping on the scale. What this does is simple. After consuming a lot more water than usual on the first day, your body will hold onto whatever sodium it has and get rid of its potassium. Then, as you decrease your water intake, you'll start flushing out water. The increased levels of sodium proportionate to the water in your body will continue to draw water out of your cells for excretion. This process allows fighters to drain massive amounts of water out of their body and lose an extreme amount of weight in a short period of time. In addition to draining their bodies of water, fighters limit their carb intakes to 50g per day. They eat proteins and fats, avoid salt at all costs, and sweat as much as possible. After they weigh-in, fighters drink one liter of water every hour and eat clean carbs, proteins, and fats, to replenish their bodies. This allows them to get back to their normal weight within 24 hours. This way of cutting weight is incredibly dangerous and had led to death before.

So why do they do this? Fighters cut weight because they want to have an advantage on fight night. Weigh-ins are usually Friday mornings and fights are usually Saturday nights for the UFC. Fighters fight at weight classes below their natural weight so that they are able to weigh more than their opponent on fight night. For example, a fighter who naturally weighs 190 pounds could decide to fight in the welterweight division which has a weigh limit of 170 pounds. His opponent could legitimately be 170 pounds. Now, the fighter who weighs 190 has to drop 20 pounds before weighing-in. The week of the fight, he drains his body of all water, nearly dehydrating himself to weigh 170 pounds Friday morning. After weighing in, he rehydrates himself and eats like he hasn't seen a burger in 20 years. Since the fight is 24 hours later, this allows him to get back to his natural weight of 190 pounds. So, when the two fighters finally step into the cage, one will have a 20-pound weight advantage over his opponent. This is why fighters cut weight. To get that major advantage.

However, there is a problem with this. Almost all fighters cut weight. So continuing with the example, both guys fighting in the 170-pound bout would be stepping into the cage at 190 pounds. So there would be no advantage. I disagree with the concept of weight cutting. Fighters should not be nearly dying 24 hours before stepping into a cage to fight another human being. Fighting is dangerous enough as it is. We don't need the fighters to be weak and dehydrated as they make the walk down to the Octagon.

Here is a picture of UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor. The top photo is McGregor weighing-in for a fight at 145 pounds. The bottom, is McGregor weighing-in for a fight at 170 pounds.

At 145 pounds in the top photo, McGregor looks like a skeleton people put in their front yards as a halloween decoration. His cheeks and eyes are sunken in and you can see the spaces in between his muscles where water is supposed to be. It's disgusting. He looks like a corpse. In the bottom photo, McGregor looks completely healthy. He didn't have to cut weight for that welterweight fight. He's much more muscular and he looks like an actual human being. So why can't fighters just fight at their natural weight? Just look at the difference it had on McGregor.

UFC color commentator Joe Rogan has been outspoken about weight cutting. In an interview with SB Nation in 2014 he said,

"I’m a huge proponent of health and safety when it comes to the most dangerous sport in the world, and one of the most dangerous aspects of this dangerous sport is weight cutting. We’ve had guys die from weight cutting — both in college wrestling and in MMA in Brazil. It happens. Guys can die from weight cutting. I’ve seen guys that looked like they were going to die. I saw Travis Lutter when he weighed in for Anderson Silva and missed the weight. When he came back … I’ve never seen a person look worse in my life than Travis Lutter did then. He was shuffling. He couldn’t walk so he was sliding his feet across the ground. His lips were chapped, his body was completely dehydrated and his cheeks were sunken into his face, and he was going to fight the baddest motherf***er on earth in less than 24 hours."

He even went as far to say that weight cutting is cheating:

Weight cutting is dangerous, there’s a reason they weigh in the day before the fight; it gives them a chance to rehydrate. It’s crazy. Let’s call it what it is. It’s kind of cheating, but it’s cheating that everybody does. You’re allowing someone to pretend they’re 155 pounds. Motherf***er, you’re not 155 pounds! You look at Gleison Tibau and it’s like, ‘Dude, you are not a 155-pound fighter. You’re just not. I understand that you can get onto that scale and it can show 155 pounds, but that is for the briefest window possible.’ As soon as guys get off the scale, they suck on Pedialyte, they drink coconut water and do whatever they can to get fluids back into their system, and they’re f***ing dying.

I agree with Rogan. Weight cutting is just too dangerous. Guys should not be dying. And if we're watching these fights after guys go through these brutal weight cuts, imagine how entertaining the fights will be if they didn't have to do that.

Anthony Pettis is a former UFC lightweight champion, where the weight limit is 155 pounds. He made the decision to drop down to featherweight after losing his title to Rafael dos Anjos, and losing subsequent lightweight bouts to Eddie Alvarez and Edson Barboza. He debuted at featherweight earlier this year with a submission win over Charles Oliveira. He weighed in at 146 pounds for that fight. Although the limit is 145 pounds, fighters are allowed to be a maximum of one pound over. After Pettis missed weight this weekend, UFC president Dana White expressed concerns about his future at featherweight. "He came in, when he landed here in Toronto, he was 10 pounds (over), so he should've made the weight. What that tells you is he's too old and he's too big to make that weight, is my opinion. So we'll see where we go from here," White said on TSN SportsCentre. "I don't know if he can make the weight."

Pettis said in an interview with, that he got down to 146.5 pounds before his team decided he would not be able to lose any more weight. "My body just wouldn't let go of that extra weight. It's just one those things. We did everything right beforehand, everything was on point. My body just gave out. I had nothing left to give. In the end, we decided that my career and health are more important than those two extra pounds," Pettis said. After the fight, which he lost, Pettis announced he will move back up to lightweight. He said the weight cut was just too difficult for him and he can't make the weight.

Pettis isn't the only fighter who has ever missed weight. It happens quite frequently actually. In fact, last month at UFC 205, Kelvin Gastelum missed the 170-pound weight limit for welterweight fights for the third time in his career. His fight with Donald Cerrone was canceled as a result. After the weigh-in, Dana White told Fox Sports, “I’ll never let him fight at 170 again, I think he missed this one by 10 pounds.” This weekend at UFC 206, Gastelum returned to 185 pounds, where he started his career. In a middleweight bout against Tim Kennedy, he looked much healthier, scoring a TKO victory. Situations like these need to keep happening. Fighters need to be healthier and fight at the weight that best suits them.

Check out this video from ESPN Sports Science on the differences between featherweight Conor McGregor and welterweight Conor McGregor:

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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New Year, New Home

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As 2018 comes to a close, it's a perfect time to reflect on everything that's happened this year. One thing that's helped me with that recently has been the process of moving. From looking back on the past to getting ready for new beginnings, packing up my old things and clearing out my room has reminded me of both the tangible and memorable experiences not just from this year, but in the past decade I've spent in Atlanta. This short cinematic film is a recollection of the memories of my childhood home and the ride we've been on this year, a microcosm of thoughts from the past 365 days.

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