Game Guide: Franchise stars Doncic-Tatum, rookies Mobley-Barnes face off

Published November 1, 2021, 5:00 PMJon Carlos Rodriguez

More exciting matchups coming up this week, bannered by Luka Doncic and the Mavericks taking on Jayson Tatum and the Celtics.

Doncic vs. Tatum

Mavericks vs Celtics: Nov. 7, 8:30AM on NBA League Pass (Delayed Telecast 9:00 AM on TV5)

Luka Doncic and Jayson Tatum are more than just two dudes trying to carry their teams into the deep end of the playoffs. There’s a lot of comparison between the two and it makes sense. Both are endgame superstars and among the top five players you’d want to hold the ball in the clutch. Both have a deep bag of tricks on offense. Both rock the Jordan brand. 

Their differences can be staggering though. Tatum is the more athletic of the two; Doncic the better playmaker. Tatum the steadier, rhythmic beat; Doncic a bold drum solo. 

When two players are in the process of taking Euro steps, stepbacks, and baby steps to greatness, that will always be a must-watch.

East Coast Rivalry

Heat vs Celtics: Nov. 5, 7:30AM on NBA League Pass

You can’t talk Eastern Conference rivalries without mentioning the Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics in the same breath. These are just two tough teams who’ve been going at each other from way back.

At some point or another, these two teams will stand in the way of each other in the quest to take back the crown in the East. The new-look Heat with Kyle Lowry and PJ Tucker are rejuvenated while the Celtics with new coach Ime Udoka are still experimenting. Consider this first meeting a 48-minute heat check for both squads.

Youngblood Matchup

Cavaliers vs Raptors: Nov. 6, 7:30 AM on NBA League Pass

A lot of rookie buzz surrounded the No. 1 and No. 2 picks, deservedly so. But No. 3 and No. 4 are also making deafening, high-decibel noise.

In seven games (all starts), the Cleveland Cavaliers’ rookie Evan Mobley has been putting up averages of 13.4 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 2.6 assists. Add to those stellar numbers a steal and a block per game and Mobley is a beast. Even LeBron James took notice, saying "He’s going to be a damn good basketball player in this league" after the Lakers beat the Cavaliers Saturday.

The Toronto Raptors’ rookie Scottie Barnes is also putting up numbers that scream more of All-Star than All-Rookie: 18.1 points and 8.9 rebounds per game. The Raptors have been pretty inconsistent to start the season (4 wins, 3 losses), but Barnes has been a constant star.

Mobley and Barnes have been so fun to watch, it’s crazy to think they still have a lifetime of career ahead of them. Now is the perfect time to pay attention.

Who Wants Melo?

Lakers vs Trail Blazers: Nov. 7, 10:30 AM on NBA TV Philippines via Smart GigaPlay or Cignal TV

Carmelo Anthony was like fine wine that sat on the shelf for a bit before the Portland Trail Blazers grabbed him. For two seasons in Portland, Anthony did what he usually does: pour on instant offense and provide veteran leadership. 

Fast forward to today and Anthony is a Los Angeles Laker, trying to get that chip with LeBron James. Immediately, the 3-3 Blazers seemed to have felt the pain of losing a prolific scorer off the bench. The 4-3 Lakers, meanwhile, aren’t exactly top of the pile with Anthony’s addition.

LeBron felt the league gave up on one of his best friends a few years ago, before the Blazers stint. Check out Melo’s numbers in his last two games though: 23.5 points on 5.5 3s made per game. Who wants Melo? More teams should.


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