Game Guide: Sixers-Nets, Hawks-Bucks take the spotlight

Published March 7, 2022, 1:00 PMJon Carlos Rodriguez

James Harden gears up for his first match against the Nets since the trade; last season’s East finalists Hawks and Bucks are all set for battle.

Another wild one incoming

Warriors vs. Nuggets: Mar. 8, 10:00 AM on NBA League Pass

Once upon a time, DeMarcus Cousins was a Golden State Warrior. Both parties may likely prefer to have that stint stricken from the record because of the heartbreak attached to it. Now, Cousins is getting a new lease on life as a Nugget, and seems to be enjoying his time reuniting with Denver head coach Mike Malone (his former coach in Sacramento).

That’s one storyline to look out for as Cousins faces his former team, but, really, we should look no further than a couple of weeks ago when these two teams delivered on a wild ending. Down a point, Steph Curry appeared to have hit the game-winner with six seconds left at Chase Center. But in Denver’s final possession, Nikola Jokic, of course, found an open Monte Morris for a back-breaking, buzzer-beating 3. 

To add more color to this game, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said he will not be sending his “high-minute” players (a.k.a. his stars) to Denver as this game was the canceled one back in December due to health and safety protocols. Whatever happens and whoever shows up for this game, it’s going to be a wild one.

Brewing rivalry

Cavaliers vs. Pacers: Mar. 9, 8:00 AM on NBA TV Philippines

Check the standings and there should be no reason for the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Indiana Pacers to be in any sort of rivalry. Check out their last game, squint a little, and maybe there’s something there. The Pacers built a 20-plus point lead heading into the fourth, but then the Cavs started the final quarter with an insane 19-0 scoring run. The Pacers had no chance to recover in that game, but they’ll have their chance this week.

One of the Pacers’ ex-top scorers, Caris LeVert, is now a Cavalier, but he has yet to really shine because of a right foot sprain. He’s been out for more than a week now, but a return to the court against his former team is not unlikely.

ECF rematch

Bucks vs. Hawks: Mar. 10, 9:00 AM on NBA League Pass

The Atlanta Hawks surprised a lot of people who slept on them last year. They were the fifth-seed team that went all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals, only to fall to the eventual champs. They weren’t pushovers then; they aren’t pushovers now.

Unfortunately for the Hawks, the climb back to the top is much steeper now. They’re way down there in the East standings, hanging on for dear life to the 10th seed–the last spot in the play-in tournament. If they do make that climb, it won’t be surprising, but they’ll have to keep it locked in from here on out. A date with the reigning champs couldn’t have come at a better timing.

Revenge game

Nets vs. Sixers: Mar. 11, 8:30 AM on NBA League Pass

The biggest trade of the previous season was James Harden going to Brooklyn and the biggest trade of this season is James Harden going to Philadelphia. What we thought was a happy reunion with Kevin Durant ended up in a not-so happy situation.

Harden is now a Sixer, joining the long process to the championship with Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey. It’s looking good. The Sixers are within arm’s reach of the top seed in the East. Maxey is growing. Embiid is having an MVP season. Harden is looking like himself.

It’s not looking that good in Brooklyn, but they may have one final push in them with the return of Kevin Durant from injury and the looming return of Kyrie Irving in Barclays games. 

Now, it’s finally happening. Harden gets a crack at the Brooklyn team that just didn’t fit with him. More importantly, Ben Simmons will be in the vicinity of a Philly team that just didn’t work. There’s just too much history here, so make sure to set your alarms for this matchup.