Game Guide: Mobley vs. Barnes, Clippers-Nuggets

Published March 22, 2022, 7:00 AMRenee Ticzon

The showdown between two top Rookie of the Year candidates headline this week's interesting matchups.


Topping the East

76ers vs. Heat: Mar. 22, 7:00 AM on NBA TV Philippines (via Smart GigaPlay and Cignal TV)

Sitting at the top of the Eastern Conference are two big-time teams, the Miami Heat and Philadelphia 76ers. Both teams have not secured a spot yet in the playoffs, but they’re en route to figuring out their positions.

The Heat have a little bit of leverage with their 47-24 record and are 7-3 in their last 10 games. However, they cannot get too comfortable as they’re going to face some heavy hitters. In their remaining games in March, Miami will face the 76ers, Golden State Warriors, Brooklyn Nets, and the rising Boston Celtics.

The same can be said for the 76ers who have added All-Star guard James Harden to the mix. Their March games include the Heat, both Los Angeles teams, Phoenix Suns, and the Milwaukee Bucks. While both teams are soaring through the regular season, the next few games will be a test on how they fare against stronger contenders and potential playoff matchups.

Is it time the Lakers hit the panic button?

Lakers vs. Cavaliers: Mar. 22, 7:00 AM on NBA League Pass

If you’re on social media, you know that the Lakers are now a meme machine. It seems like netizens are hard at work every single game to chuck up content. While this may be hilarious for some, it’s incredibly frustrating for the Lakers community.

The Lakers went from a champion team to a Play-In Tournament contender in just two seasons. The team’s experiment of trying to build a team filled with older All-Stars just isn’t cutting it.

So, is it time the Lakers hit the panic button?

The postseason is a few weeks away and the Lakers have a record of 3-8 in March. They are forcing LeBron to play like he’s in prime with averages of 29.8 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 6.2 assists. Unfortunately, it might be too late to even make any drastic changes, but will the Lakers have just enough to avoid a postseason absence?

Always a good time

Clippers vs. Nuggets: Mar. 23, 10:00 AM on NBA TV Philippines (via Smart GigaPlay and Cignal TV)

For some reason, games between the Clippers and Nuggets always end in nail-biters. Their first two outings went in favor of the Nuggets 103-100 and 130-128. Even their preseason match was settled by one point. It’s also not out of the realm of possibility that the two will meet during the play-in. The Nuggets are now no. 7, while the Clippers are eighth. 

Both teams are down with luck, and the postseason pressure is starting to get to them. Nikola Jokic has aired his frustrations with his performances, and Ivica Zubac is the perfect defender who can irk him even more. The Clippers are just below .500 with a three-game losing streak.

This game is crucial if they want to keep their heads above water. It will all boil down to who wants this match more and who has enough weapons.

Escaping the Play-In

Cavaliers vs. Raptors: Mar. 25, 7:30 AM on NBA TV Philippines (via Smart GigaPlay and Cignal TV)

Evan Mobley and Scottie Barnes are frontrunners for the Rookie of the Year award. Mobley is averaging 15.2 points and 8.3 rebounds, while Barnes has 15.5 points and 7.7 rebounds. Both teams are led by All-Star guards, Darius Garland and Fred VanVleet, who are excellent in scoring and getting their team going.

One game separates the Cavaliers and the Raptors. Cleveland may have suffered terrible blows during the season, but their resilience is what’s keeping them alive. Meanwhile, Toronto is on its way to resurgence. They are constantly improving season after season, and it won’t be long until the Raptors become a playoff staple.

All-Star leaders

Mavericks vs. Timberwolves: Mar. 26, 8:00 AM on NBA League Pass

Luka Doncic and Karl-Anthony Towns are two players that need no introduction. 

Doncic is averaging 28.1 points, 9.2, and 8.5 rebounds this season. His performance has been at an elite level for so long, it’s easy to forget that Doncic is just 22 years old.

KAT has only gotten better since winning the 3-point contest. He’s putting up 26.9 points and 10.5 rebounds since the All-Star break. He’s also led the Timberwolves to a record of 9-1, with four straight wins.

These two teams are filled with young talent but are playoff-caliber squads. Dallas is No. 5, but Minnesota is close behind in sixth with just two games separating the two. This should make for an interesting matchup.