The NBA regular season is hurtling towards the finish line and SBS has five things you should keep an eye out for over the final week of matches.
By
Nick Houghton

6 Aug 2020 - 4:10 PM  UPDATED 6 Aug 2020 - 4:10 PM

WATCH four NBA games in six days - starting Saturday, August 8 - LIVE, FREE and in HD on SBS VICELAND and live streamed via SBS on Demand.

How to watch NBA restart - 9 games in 13 days - LIVE on SBS
With the 2019-20 NBA season set to restart, you can WATCH 9 games in 13 days LIVE, FREE and in HD on SBS VICELAND and live streamed via SBS On Demand.
 

Houston are ready for lift-off

Houston Rockets have taken to life in the bubble with huge wins against Dallas Mavericks and Milwaukee Bucks in their opening two games of the NBA restart. 

While they suffered a shock loss at the hands of Portland on Wednesday, Houston’s point-scoring prowess has been on display in Florida with star duo James Harden and Russell Westbrook in fine form.

Up next, they have a match-up against Western Conference top seed Los Angeles Lakers - which could double as a preview for a potential playoff clash between the two sides.

The Rockets have embraced their small-ball identity and it could be the perfect formula to defeat Lebron James and his Lakers. 

Houston is ranked sixth in the West but are only half a game behind fourth-place Utah with five games left to play.

The Rockets will feature twice on SBS VICELAND and SBS On Demand over the next week - starting with their clash against Sacramento Kings on August 10 and the game with the Indiana Pacers on Thursday, August 13.

Battle for the eight seed

The most thrilling storyline going into the NBA restart was the six-way battle for the final play-off spot in the Western Conference.

Memphis, San Antonio, Portland, Phoenix, New Orleans and Sacramento are all in with a shot of qualifying for the postseason with plenty of shocks expected over the final seven days of the regular season. 

Leading the play-off race is the Ja Morant-led Memphis Grizzlies, who are currently ranked eighth with a one-game lead ahead of ninth-placed Portland.

However, they have a horror schedule for their remaining four games which include games against Boston, Oklahoma City and Milwaukee. 

Read More
Five reasons to watch the WNBA LIVE on SBS
The WNBA season is just around the corner and, while things will be a little bit different this time around, it’s a campaign which could prove to be one of the most enthralling yet.

It is a similar predicament for the Trailblazers, who must play Denver, the Clippers, Philadelphia, the Mavs and the Nets.

Patty Mills and his San Antonio Spurs team sit two games behind Memphis in 10th place, and will need an almost perfect run home if they are going to snag a play-off spot.

The biggest wildcard in the battle for eighth is New Orleans and Zion Williamson. 

After resting Williamson in their first two games, the Pelicans unleashed the future-superstar against Memphis with great success.

They are two games behind Memphis, but have a relatively easy run home with two games against Sacramento as well as clashes with the Spurs, Magic and Wizards.

Rounding out the chase is Phoenix and Sacramento, who are 2.5 and three games behind the eighth-placed Grizzlies. 

While their play-off hopes are only slim, stranger things have happened in the NBA.

You can catch Sacramento’s crunch game against the Houston Rockets live on SBS VICELAND and SBS On Demand from 10am on Monday, August 10.

Boomers in the bubble

There are four Australians bunkered down at the NBA’s Disneyland home for the competition restart, with Ben Simmons, Joe Ingles, Aaron Baynes and Patty Mills all fighting for their team’s play-off hopes.

Simmons and his Philadelphia 76ers team have struggled since the NBA restart - slumping to sixth place in the eastern conference, with their title hopes quickly fading away.

A nine-point win on Thursday against the Washington Wizards could have proved costly for the 76ers, with Simmons carted off with a knee injury which could sideline the former number one overall pick for an extended period.

For Patty Mills and the San Antonio Spurs, the battle is on to keep their incredible 22-year play-off streak alive.  

Read More
'Basketball will be the vehicle' - Mills launches Indigenous Basketball Australia
Australian NBA star Patty Mills has announced the launch of Indigenous Basketball Australia (IBA), an enterprise designed to create elite pathways and "instil basketball skills, values, and wellness" for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth in Australia.

In 10th place, two games behind eighth-placed Memphis, the Spurs will need a near-perfect run over their final five games if they are going to sneak into the post-season. 

It is a different story for Joe Ingles and the Utah Jazz, who are flying high in fourth place in the Western Conference having clinched their place in the playoffs.

As the sixth man for the Jazz, Ingles will play a big role as Utah look to close out the regular season on a high.

Finally, Aaron Baynes will be fighting for a new contract at Phoenix with the Aussie big man back on the bench after the return of Suns star Deandre Ayton. 

Miami heating up

Miami Heat have become one of the biggest surprise packets in the Eastern Conference this season and that hasn’t changed since the restart.

The boys from South Beach have raced to a 2-1 start from their first three games, including a 20-point win against Denver and a six-point win against Boston.

They have shown their roster can match it with the league’s best, and in big man Bam Adebayo they have a player who could be the key to stopping Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo.

However, one concern facing coach Erik Spoelstra is a foot injury to superstar guard Jimmy Butler, which has ruled him out of the side’s last two games.

Miami is taking a seemingly conservative approach to the injury but Spoelstra will want his star man on the court before the play-offs.

SBS VICELAND and SBS On Demand will broadcast Miami Heat’s clash against Western Conference play-off hopeful Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday, August 13 from 10am.

Pacers' Warren puts in claim for bubble MVP

Indiana Paces wing forward T.J Warren has been among the surprise stars of the NBA restart - with his performances through the opening three games outshining even the leagues biggest names.

Warren shot an incredible 53 points against the 76ers, going 9-from 12 outside the arc.

He then followed it up with a 34-point game against the Wizards, which also included 11 rebounds, four assists, four blocks and four steals.

The man known as Tony Buckets, produced a last-up performance of 32 points against Orlando Magic. 

It will be interesting to see if Warren can keep up his incredible scoring touch over the final five games of the regular season.

You can see T.J Warren in action when SBS VICELAND and SBS On Demand broadcasts Indiana Pacers' clash against Houston Rockets on August 13 at 6am.

Remaining NBA regular season schedule LIVE on SBS VICELAND and SBS On Demand

Saturday, August 8

NBA - Sacramento Kings v Brooklyn Nets

7:00am – 9:30am 

 

Monday, August 10

NBA - Houston Rockets v Sacramento Kings

10:00am – 12:30pm 

 

Thursday August 13

NBA - Indiana Pacers v Houston Rockets

06:00am - 08:30am

 

Thursday, August 13

NBA - Miami Heat v Oklahoma City Thunder

10:00am – 12:30pm