Game Guide: Steph’s record chase, Cream of the East, Jokic vs. Trae

Published December 13, 2021, 6:00 PMMiguel Flores

Steph Curry resumes his hunt for the all-time 3-point record, the Sixers and Nets battle it out in the East, Jokic’s Nuggets face Young’s Hawks.

Is today the day, Steph?

Warriors vs Pacers: December 14, 8:00 AM on NBA League Pass

It was pretty crazy that people thought Steph Curry could break Ray Allen's all-time 3-pointers made record when he was still 16 3s away last December 9 against Portland. It was still bold to believe Curry could break the record when he was 10 away against Philadelphia on December 12.

Such is the joy in following Steph Curry. We’ve seen him do amazing things in the NBA so breaking the all-time record for career 3s and the record for most 3s in a game in one go didn’t seem too brazen. The counter is now down to a humbler seven 3s away. Seven would be a lot to ask for from any other shooter ever, except for Steph.

And if he doesn’t end up breaking the record against Indiana, the Warriors visit the Knicks in Madison Square Garden the following night. It would be perfect for Curry to make history in the Mecca of Basketball.

The King vs. Luka Magic

Lakers vs Mavericks: December 16, 8:30 AM on NBA TV Philippines via Smart GigaPlay app

LeBron James has faced several players dubbed the future of the league for a good five years now. No player has truly taken the mantle from the King since, at the ripe age of 36-going-on-37, LeBron is still dominating the NBA.

Luka Doncic seems to be one of the few players that truly represent the future of the NBA without LeBron. He’s young and so good at basketball that it wouldn’t be a surprise if Doncic would be the heir to the kingdom.

For now, there’s regular season minutiae to be settled. Every time the Lakers have met the Mavs in the LeBron-Luka era, it’s been nothing but clutch basketball and jersey swaps.

Even if Luka remains out for this game (ankle soreness), there's still enough hijinks to keep you glued. For one, it's a Lakers game and they've never lacked for drama. Then you get Jason Kidd coaching against the Lakers, for whom he was assistant coach for two seasons including the 2020 title run.

Between Westbrook heaves and Kidd coaching decisions, there's going to be plenty of entertaining throws in this one.

The Cream of the East

76ers vs Nets: December 17, 8:30 AM on One Sports

For those who have been following closely, the Sixers and the Nets should have already jumped out as the best teams in the East.

At 18-8, the Nets are comfortably at the top of the conference. It’s been an astounding parade of MVP-level production from Kevin Durant and James Harden (don’t let Twitter fool you; Harden has been terrific this season). At 14-12, the Sixers don’t have the record of a top team, but that’s because of injuries. It's easy to forget that a relatively healthy Sixers squad started this season at 8-2, before Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris entered health and safety protocols.

It’s a marvel that both these teams are thriving, given how most of their offseason was spent dealing with star players that have yet to play this season. Like it has been for much of this season, this Nets-Sixers matchup should be great, even without Ben Simmons and Kyrie Irving.

Heel vs. Heel

Nuggets vs Hawks: December 18, 8:30 AM on NBA TV Philippines via Smart GigaPlay app

Both these teams’ best players are hated by separate states. Both teams are also ravaged by injuries.

Is Nikola Jokic getting overlooked for MVP this year? Maybe, yes. Does Trae Young deserve any MVP love? Probably not.

The fact remains that the Nuggets and Hawks are both disappointing when their star players sit for any extended amount of time. It’ll be interesting to see which NBA villain prospers when they meet on Saturday.

The Freak vs. The Prototype

Cavs vs Bucks: December 19, 10 AM on NBA League Pass

Everyone wants their own Giannis Antetokounmpo.

It’s impossible for every team to get a seven-foot alien with a nearly eight-foot wingspan, but there’s always the next best thing. There’s no way to replicate everything that a two-time MVP does, so Evan Mobley simply imitates the bits he can emulate.

The trend now for NBA teams is to find players tall enough to protect the rim with enough agility to defend quicker players. Aside from the unstoppable scoring, Giannis’ defensive versatility was the difference-maker in last season’s Finals.

The Cavs have that in Mobley. He may not be as terrifyingly polished as Giannis, but Mobley has been good enough to immediately make the Cavs a playoff team in his rookie year. This season should just be the first of many bouts between Giannis and Mobley.