Monday marks the 37th year of the NBA celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a full lineup of off-court games and activities that promote equality and social justice. Since his birthday became a federal holiday in 1983 (first observed in 1986), the NBA has remained committed to continuing Dr. King’s fight for equality and justice.
There were 358 NBA games played on MLK Day and Monday will add nine more to that list, including four nationally televised games on TNT and NBA TV and five more games available on League Pass.
Here’s your guide to a full day of hoops on Monday as we celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. King.
National game shows
Boston at Charlotte, 1 p.m. ET, NBA TV
This is a clash of teams at polar opposites in the Eastern Conference standings. The Celtics enter MLK Day with the NBA’s best record (32-12) and longest active winning streak in the East with six straight wins – only Memphis has a longer active winning streak with nine of in a row. Jayson Tatum is averaging 29.8 points, 9.3 rebounds and 5.7 assists during the winning streak. Jaylen Brown (27 ppg in four games played over the streak) has missed the last two games with an adductor injury and his status for Monday has yet to be announced. Meanwhile, the Hornets are just 11-33 this season and have lost four straight in Monday’s game against the Celtics. Boston has won its last four games played on MLK Day, a run that began in 2017 with a win over Charlotte.
Miami to Atlanta3:30 p.m. ET, TNT
This is a rematch of last year’s first-round playoff series, which the Heat won in five games. If the regular season ended today, the Heat (24-20) and Hawks (21-22) would advance to the Eastern Conference play-off tournament, as they sit seventh and ninth respectively in the standings. However, both are headed in the right direction — Miami has won three in a row and Atlanta has won two in a row — entering their MLK Day matchup. After going 12-15 in their first 27 games, the Heat have gone 12-5 in their last 17, led by the trio of Tyler Herro (22.7), Bam Adebayo (22.6) and Jimmy Butler (21.5) all on average. more than 20 points per game during this streak. It will be the second game of the season between the Heat and the Hawks, with Miami posting a 106-98 win at Atlanta on Nov. 27 behind 32 points from Adebayo and a triple-double from Herro.
Phoenix in Memphis6 p.m. ET, TNT
This game features two teams headed in opposite directions in the Western Conference standings. On Dec. 6, the Phoenix Suns were first in the West at 16-8 while the Grizzlies were third at 15-9 in 24 games. Since then, the Suns have gone just 5-15 and dropped to 10th place in the conference while the Grizzlies have gone 14-4 and are tied with Denver for the best record in the West. The Grizzlies are coming off a win over Indiana on Saturday that pushed their current league-best nine-game winning streak and set the internet ablaze with Ja Morant’s dunk candidate of the year. As for the Suns, they are just 1-8 in their nine outings and have been held below 100 points four times in their last seven games.
Houston vs Los Angeles Lakers10:30 p.m. ET, NBA TV
This will be LeBron James’ 11th MLK Day game in his career. In his first 10 MLK Day meetings, LeBron went just 3-7 averaging 23.4 points on 45.1% shooting from the field and 24.4% from 3-point range , 6.1 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 1.6 steals. But he won’t be the player on the field with the most experience playing on MLK Day. Houston’s Eric Gordon appeared in 11 MLK Day games during his 14-year career. Gordon enters Monday with a 4-7 record on MLK Day and averages 15.9 points, 3.6 assists, 2.5 rebounds and 2.1 3-pointers made on 35.4% shooting from range and 41.2% total shots.
Both teams are in action Sunday in Los Angeles — with the Rockets visiting the Clippers in the afternoon and the Lakers hosting the Sixers in the evening — so their MLK Day game will be the second night in a row for both teams. . The Lakers are 2-4 in such games, while the Rockets are 1-5.
Indiana to Milwaukee2:30 p.m. ET, League Pass
Both teams have played shorthanded recently. For Milwaukee, Giannis Antetokounmpo (knee pain) missed a two-game set against Miami this week and Khris Middleton (knee) remains on the sidelines. As for Indiana, Tyrese Haliburton (elbow, knee) is set to miss two weeks after sustaining an injury against New York on Wednesday and Myles Turner (back) missed last week of games – so we’ll have to keep an eye on the injury report coming into Monday’s game to see which players can adapt. It’s the first meeting of the season between these two teams, with the Bucks sitting third in the East and the Pacers eighth after three straight losses.
New Orleans to Cleveland3 p.m. ET, League Pass
This is the final game of a five-game road trip for the shorthanded Pelicans, who are without Zion Williamson (hamstring) and Brandon Ingram (toe). They face a Cavaliers team with the third-best home record (18-4) in the NBA.
Toronto to New York3 p.m. ET, League Pass
The Knicks and Raptors split their first two meetings of the season. In those first two games, Julius Randle averaged 31 points on 59% shooting (his highest against any opponent this season) and 12 rebounds for the Knicks, while Raptors forward Pascal Siakam averaged 35 points and 11 rebounds (his highest average against any team he’s faced more than once this season, in both categories).
golden state in washington3 p.m. ET, League Pass
It’s Game 3 of a five-game road trip for the Warriors, who have the biggest disparity between the home record (17-5) and road record (4-16) in the NBA this season. In his first two games since returning from a shoulder injury that sidelined him for four weeks, Stephen Curry has averaged 19.5 points on 41.2% shooting from the field and 31.8% from 3-point range as he continues to return to form. . The Warriors have the highest winning percentage of any team in MLK Day history (20-9, .690); can they rely on that record against a Wizards team that has only won one in its last five games?
Utah to Minnesota4 p.m. ET, League Pass
The final League Pass game on the MLK Day slate ends with Rudy Gobert and the Timberwolves hosting his previous team – the Utah Jazz – in their third game of the season. The road team won the first two meetings of the season – Utah winning at Minnesota in overtime (October 21) and Minnesota winning at Utah (December 9). Both teams enter the MLK Day game in the Western Conference Play-In Tournament Zone (7-10 seeds) as the Timberwolves are in seventh place at 22-22 and the Jazz in ninth place at 22-24.