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Cavaliers: Tristan Thompson (foot), Larry Nance Jr. (chest), and Matthew Dellavedova (concussion) are out.
Celtics: Jayson Tatum (shoulder) is a game-time call.
Clippers:Luc Mbah a Moute (knee) remains out.
Hornets: Jeremy Lamb (hamstring) is probable.
Jazz: Ricky Rubio (hip) and Raul Neto (hamstring) are out. Dante Exum (ankle) and Ekpe Udoh (back) are probable.
Kings: Marvin Bagley III (knee sprain) is out.
Nets: Treveon Graham (back) is out.
Pistons: Zaza Pachulia (achilles) is out.
Raptors: Kawhi Leonard (load management)
Rockets: Kenneth Faried (hip) is probable.
Today’s NBA Matchups
Charlotte Hornets (30-36) at Houston Rockets (41-25)
Line: Rockets -9, O/U: 225
Rockets: 113 ppg, bottom five defense, bottom five pace
Hornets: 111 ppg, below average defense, average pace.
- The Rockets have won eight straight, and they’ve held opponents to an average of under 96 points per game in the last four. That includes Boston, Toronto, and Philadelphia.
- James Harden had just 20 points on 7-25 shooting in Dallas, but Eric Gordon had 26 and Chris Paul blocked a shot at the end to seal a 94-93 victory.
- Clint Capela is averaging 13 points and 12 rebounds since returning from a thumb injury that kept him out for over a month.
- The Hornets have lost 10 of their last 14 and it will be an uphill battle, but they’re just a game back of the eighth seed.
- Kemba Walker is averaging 23 points on under 40% shooting in his last ten. He had 25 in a 131-114 loss in Milwaukee on Saturday.
Detroit Pistons (34-31) at Brooklyn Nets (35-33)
Line: Nets -2, O/U: 223
Nets: 112 ppg, below average defense, below average pace
Pistons: 107 ppg, above average defense, average pace
- The Nets have won three in a row, but all against teams that have no shot at the playoffs. They won 114-112 in Atlanta on Saturday.
- Spencer Dinwiddie carried Brooklyn with 23 points, 7 assists and 6 rebounds off the bench.
- Jarrett Allen impressed with 20 points and 12 boards, and D’Angelo Russell added 18 points and 6 assists.
- Allen Crabbe and Caris LeVert combined for 3-17 shooting. They’re both vital pieces moving forward.
- Detroit has won five straight and surged past Brooklyn into the sixth seed out East.
- You can divide the Pistons’ season into three distinct stretches:
- Up to 12/1: 13-7
- 12/2 to 1/29: 8-21
- 1/30 on 13-3
- Blake Griffin had 28 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists to lead a 131-108 drubbing of Chicago yesterday.
- Andre Drummond is averaging 19 points and 17 rebounds in his last ten.
Oklahoma City Thunder (40-26) at Utah Jazz (37-28)
Line: Jazz -3.5, O/U: 227
Jazz: 109 ppg, top five defense, average pace
Thunder: 116 ppg, second-best defense in the NBA, top five pace
- The Jazz have fallen into a virtual tie with the Spurs and Clippers for sixth out West after losing to the Grizzlies 114-104.
- Donovan Mitchell exploded for 38 points and 5 assists as the primary ball handler in that game, a role he’s comfortable in.
- Ricky Rubio is out tonight with a hip issue, and Royce O’Neale filled in with 10 points as a starter in the Memphis loss.
- The Thunder have lost seven of their last ten, coming off a 118-110 L to the Clippers.
- Paul George is back after missing three games with a shoulder injury, but he’s shot just 31% from the floor in his three games back. He’s the key for this team, he needs to be healthy and productive for them to really play well.
- Russell Westbrook finished with 32 points, 8 rebounds, and 7 assists. He’s focused more on scoring with PG either out or struggling.
Sacramento Kings (33-32) at Washington Wizards (27-39)
Line: Kings -1, O/U: 240
Wizards: 114 ppg, bad defense, faster than average pace
Kings: 113 ppg, bottom-third defense, second-fastest pace
- The Wizards have fought admirably without John Wall, and even though they’re 12 games under .500, they are exactly four games out of the playoffs in the East. The Kings are a winning team, and they’re four games out of the playoffs in the West.
- Bradley Beal put up 36 points, 10 rebounds and 9 assists in a 135-130 OT loss in Minnesota. He’s averaging 30, 6 and 8 in his last ten.
- Trevor Ariza added 27, while Bobby Portis and Jabari Parker combined for 36 points and 20 boards.
- The Kings have struggled recently as they push for the playoffs, but playing the Knicks twice in a week certainly helps. They won both games, but only by single digits.
- De’Aaron Fox led the Kings with 30 points, 8 assists, and clutch plays late to secure a 102-94 win over New York yesterday.
- Buddy Hield and Harrison Barnes combined for 30 points and 12 rebounds, but they shot just 32% from the floor.
Toronto Raptors (48-19) at Cleveland Cavaliers (16-50)
Line: Raptors -9, O/U: 222
Cavaliers: 104 ppg, worst defense in the NBA, bottom five pace
Raptors: 114 ppg, above average defense, average pace
- Kevin Love is averaging 21 and 11 since returning to the floor, and the Cavs are 5-3 when he plays in their last ten.
- Cleveland will use the rest of the season to evaluate young talent, and it seems they have a few keepers. Cedi Osman, Jordan Clarkson, and Collin Sexton have all averaged 15+ points per game in the last five.
- Kyle Lowry had 24 points, 10 assists and 7 boards to lead the Raptors to a 125-104 win in Miami yesterday.
- Pascal Siakam added 20, 5 and 5, and he was one of eight Raptors who scored in double figures.
- Kawhi Leonard managed his load yesterday in Miami. He’s missed almost 30% of Toronto’s games this year, and Cleveland probably isn’t important enough for him to play.
- It looks like Nick Nurse is going to stick with Serge Ibaka in the starting lineup, for now, making Marc Gasol one of the league’s best bench players.
Boston Celtics (41-26) at Los Angeles Clippers (38-29)
Line: Celtics -2.5, O/U: 227
Celtics: 112 ppg, top five defense, slower than average pace
Clippers: 114 ppg, below average defense, fast pace
- The Clippers have won four straight as they continue to fight for a playoff berth after selling all of their best players at the deadline. They just beat the full-strength Thunder 118-110
- Lou Williams put up 40 off the bench and added 7 boards, 5 assists, and 4 steals.
- Danilo Gallinari added 34 points, and Patrick Beverly was a game-high +22 even though he had 0 points.
- The Celtics are back, for now. They’ve won four of their last five, including three straight in Golden State, Sacramento and LA on this west coast swing.
- In a 120-107 win over the Lakers, Kyrie Irving led the way with 30 points, 5 assists, 7 boards, 2 steals, and 2 blocks.
- The chemistry looks a lot better, as every starter had at least 4 assists in that one.
- Jayson Tatum is a game-time decision tonight, dealing with a sore shoulder.
- Gordon Hayward is averaging 19 points on 71% shooting on this road trip, a promising sign moving forward.