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Cavaliers: Kevin Love (head) is day-to-day.
Heat: Bam Adebayo (hip) is questionable. Rodney McGruder (knee) and Justise Winslow (thigh) are doubtful.
Knicks: Allonzo Trier (calf) and Dennis Smith Jr. (back) are out. Noah Vonleh (ankle) and Frank Ntilikina (groin) are questionable. Kadeem Allen (illness) is probable.
Nets: Allen Crabbe (knee) is out.
Raptors: Kyle Lowry (ankle) is out.
Rockets: Kenneth Faried (knee) is probable.
Thunder: Nerlens Noel (quad) is a game-time decision.
Today’s NBA Matchups
Brooklyn Nets (37-36) at Los Angeles Lakers (31-40)
Line: Nets -3, O/U: 231
Lakers: 112 ppg, top ten defense, top five pace
Nets: 112 ppg, below average defense, below average pace
- Magic Johnson traded D’Angelo Russell away, saying he wasn’t a leader. Russell has led his Nets to the playoffs, and they’ll have a chance to eliminate the Lakers from playoff contention in Staples Center tonight.
- Russell scored 27 of a career-high 44 in a ridiculous 28-point comeback win in Sacramento.
- Allen Crabbe will miss this game, still managing a knee that has bothered him all year.
- The Lakers have lost their last four, looking all sorts of terrible in the process.
- LeBron missed a 115-101 home loss to the Giannis-less Bucks, but he should play tonight. His last game action was getting stuffed by Mario Hezonja at the buzzer.
- Kyle Kuzma and Rajon Rondo combined for 30 points on just 10-33 shooting in the Bucks loss.
- On a positive note, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope exploded for 35 off the bench.
Denver Nuggets (48-22) at New York Knicks (14-58)
Line: Nuggets -11, O/U: 215
Knicks: 106 ppg, second-worst defense in the NBA, average pace
Nuggets: 112 ppg, above average defense, bottom five pace.
- The Knicks have been tanking since November, and the Nuggets are one of the best teams in the league and winners of five straight.
- Dennis Smith Jr. remains out with a back issue, but Emmanuel Mudiay and Damyean Dotson combined for 36 points and 8 assists in a 137-116 loss to Utah.
- Rookie Kevin Knox had 27 points and 8 boards in that one, and he’s shooting 49% from three in his last ten.
- DeAndre Jordan has played 20 minutes or fewer in back-to-back losses. That may be more of a losing by 20+ thing than a shutting him down thing, but we’ll see.
- The Nuggets won 113-108 yesterday in Washington as eight players scored in double figures, including five guys with 15.
- Nikola Jokic was the key with 15 points, 11 assists and 6 boards. He and Paul Millsap were the only guys who played more than 30 minutes.
Los Angeles Clippers (42-30) at Cleveland Cavaliers (19-53)
Line: Clippers -6.5, O/U: 228
Cavaliers: 104 ppg, bottom five defense, bottom five pace
Clippers: 114 ppg, below average defense, fast pace
- The Cavs have won two in a row, coming off a win against the Giannis-less Bucks.
- Kevin Love shot 1-10 from the field in that one, and 1-9 from three. He left the game with a head injury and is listed as day-to-day.
- Rookie Collin Sexton has scored 23+ points in his last seven games, shooting 52% from the floor and 50% from deep in his last ten.
- The Clippers have won eight of their last ten. They’re currently the eighth seed out West, but they have the same record as the fifth seed.
- Danilo Gallinari led the way with 24 points in a 115-109 win over Indiana, averaging 19 a game this year.
- Lou Williams scored just 11 points in that one, but he nearly doubled his assist average with 9.
- Montrezl Harrell is averaging 18 points and 8 boards in his last ten, scoring 20+ in five straight games.
Memphis Grizzlies (29-42) at Orlando Magic (34-38)
Line: Magic -9.5, O/U: 207
Magic: 106 ppg, average defense, slow pace
Grizzlies: 101 ppg, top ten defense, bottom five pace
- The Magic have won three in a row by double digits against teams that no longer have an incentive to win. They now sit 1.5 games behind the Heat for the eighth seed.
- They waxed New Orleans 119-96 behind 20+ points from Aaron Gordon and Evan Fournier.
- Nikola Vucevic added 15 points, 17 boards, and 3 blocks, and nobody played more than 30 minutes.
- The Grizzlies have been playing for only pride for some time now, and they’re coming off one of their best wins of the season in OT over Houston.
- Mike Conley put up 35 points, 8 assists, and 5 boards in that one, and he’s understandably pretty sore. He’ll be out for this one.
- Jonas Valanciunas came over in the Marc Gasol trade, and he added 33 points and 15 rebounds in the thrilling win.
- Chandler Parsons has scored in double figures two games in a row now, and it looks like his career might be rebounding a bit.
Miami Heat (35-36) at Milwaukee Bucks (53-19)
Line: Bucks -9, O/U: 218
Bucks: 117 ppg, best defense in the NBA, very fast pace
Heat: 105 ppg, top ten defense, slower than average pace
- The Heat are hot and the Bucks are not. Milwaukee is just 5-5 in their last ten including losses to Phoenix and most recently Cleveland.
- Giannis Antetokounmpo has missed the last two games with an ankle, but he should be good to go tonight.
- Khris Middleton led the team in both games, averaging 28 points and 11 rebounds.
- Right now Tony Snell is filling in for Malcolm Brogdon as the starting point guard, but Pat Connaughton is playing more minutes and contributing at a higher level.
- The Heat have won eight of ten, and they ended the Spurs’ nine-game winning streak with an impressive 110-105 win in San Antonio.
- Goran Dragic led the way with 22 against the team that drafted him. He looks really good coming off the bench, shooting 51% from the floor and 53% from deep in his last ten.
- Dwyane Wade was magical in that game, hitting a half-court buzzer beater, an impossible lefty jump hook, and stripping DeMar DeRozan in the final seconds.
Oklahoma City Thunder (42-30) at Toronto Raptors (51-21)
Line: Raptors -2.5, O/U: 226
Raptors: 114 ppg, above average defense, average pace
Thunder: 114 ppg, second-best defense in the NBA, top five pace
- Both of these teams are underperforming as of late, but Toronto won 123-114 in OT Wednesday night in OKC.
- Pascal Siakam led Toronto with 33 points, 13 rebounds, 6 assists, and 2 steals while Kawhi Leonard added 22 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals.
- Kyle Lowry missed that game with an ankle, and he’s out again tonight. The Raptors are 10-5 without him this year.
- Marc Gasol started in Serge Ibaka‘s return to the court after a three-game suspension. They’re both averaging right around 15 points and 8 boards for the year, but Gasol is a better facilitator while Ibaka brings more energy and defense.
- The game Wednesday was OKC’s fourth loss in a row.
- In the nine games since Paul George missed a few with a shoulder injury, his scoring has dipped to 25 per game with shooting splits of 38/33/80.
- Russell Westbrook finished with 42 points, 11 rebounds, and 6 assists, but he turned it over 9 times and didn’t score in Overtime until the game was already out of reach.
San Antonio Spurs (42-30) at Houston Rockets (45-27)
Line: Rockets -6, O/U: 220
Rockets: 113 ppg, bottom five defense, bottom five pace
Spurs: 112 ppg, below average defense, very slow pace
- James Harden put up 57 points, 8 assists, 7 steals, 2 rebounds and 2 blocks in Memphis. He scored 8 points in the final minute of OT, and they still lost.
- Chris Paul had 18, 7 and 7 in that one, but he shot 6-17 from the floor. He’s under 38% in his last ten,
- Clint Capela is averaging 16 points and 12 rebounds in his last ten, which is about where he was before his mid-season thumb injury.
- The Spurs put an exclamation point on a nine-game winning streak by beating Golden State, but they lacked focus and physicality in a letdown game against D Wade’s Heat.
- DeMar DeRozan grabbed a career-high 15 boards in that game to go with 16 points and 6 assists.
- LaMarcus Aldridge is averaging 23 points and 10 boards in his last ten with shooting splits of 56/49/91.
- Derrick White has played really well for this team and taken over games on both ends, but he managed just 3 points in the Heat loss.
- The bench unit of Rudy Gay, Patty Mills, Davis Bertans and Marco Belinelli combined for 59 points, 13 rebounds, and 15 assists.