Tune-In Tidbits: TNT Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Luka Doncic is the only player in the NBA to record in the top five in both scoring (28.8 ppg) and assists (9.34 apg).

Celtics (15-15) at Mavericks (14-15)

7:30 pm ET, TNT

• Luka Doncic continues to lead the league in scoring off drivers, averaging 14.4 points on 23.5 drivers per game. The Celtics have a top-10 edge defender in Daniel Theis, which keeps opponents to shoot 52.5% at basketball.

• When the All-Star stores are announced tonight, will Jaylen Brown win her first All-Star nod? He is ranked 13th in the league in terms of scoring with the best rate of 25.5 ppg – one of many career high marks for Brown along with assistants (3.9 apg), field goal percentage (49.7%), 3- percent. point (40.9%) and free throw percentage (76.6%).

• Kristaps Porzingis made his debut on Jan. 13 after offseason knee surgery. In nine games in January he averaged 18.6 ppg on 44.9% shooting from the field and 28.6% on 3-pointers. Through the first eight games of February, Porzingis numbers have made a big jump – 22.8 ppg, 50.0% firing from the field, 42.3% on 3-pointers, and his fans have doubled to 1.8 per game.

• Last season, Marcus Smart was Luka Doncic’s top defender for a 7:21-point senior of matchup time and held Doncic to four points on a 1-for-5 shooting. With Smart on both sides due to injury, can either Brown (allowed three points on 2-4 FG in 2:03 of matchup time) or Jayson Tatum (allowed eight points on 3-4 FG in 1:25 of matchup time) to fill that defensive position?

• Boston has won three straight meetings and seven of its last eight meetings with the Mavericks going back to the start of the 2016-17 season.

The Nuggets will try to keep Damian Lillard under control tonight.

Blazers (18-12) at Nuggets (16-14)

10f ET, TNT

• Damian Lillard is fifth in the NBA in terms of practice rating as he finishes 31.6% of Portland’s offensive possession while on the court. This is the highest practice level of his career and he has seen a jump since the Blazers lost CJ McCollum to Jan’s injury. 16. In 13 games before McCollum went out, Lillard’s use was 28.8%; in the 16 games since McCollum went out, Lillard’s use has gone up to 33.9%.

• The Nuggets have fired at least 51% from the field and 44% from a 3-point range in each of the last three games. Only three teams have ever put together at least a four-game streak of shooting efficiency like that; his last team to do was the 2017-18 Utah Jazz (Jan. 30 – Feb. 4, 2018). The Blazers had a four-game climb in 1987, and the longest streak belongs to the Indiana Pacers with five in a row (April 13-20, 1994).

• The Blazers (31.7 ppg) and Nuggets (31.4 ppg) rank in first and second place, respectively in scoring in the first quarter, with the Nuggets leading an average of 3.9 points (highest in the NBA) into the second quarter.

• Nikola Jokic continues to post the best numbers in posts in almost every category this season – 26.6 ppg (10th), 11.1pp (11th), 8.5pp (5th) and 1.7 spg (4th). He leads all centers in assists and steals this season and is on pace to be the second base to average at least eight fans per game, joined Wilt Chamberlain in 1967-68 (8.6 apg).

• The Blazers come off a 132-100 loss to Phoenix on Monday – Portland’s biggest loss since falling 43 points to Milwaukee on November 21, 2018. The Blazers are looking to kick back back less than 24 hours later as they play their sixth back-to-back of the season. They are 3-2 on the second night of backup and have averaged 119.2 points per game, which is 4.1 ppg more than their season average.