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Cavaliers: Ante Zizic (concussion), Tristan Thompson (foot), and Matthew Dellavedova (concussion) is out.
Clippers: Wilson Chandler (quad) and Luc Mbah a Moute (knee) are out.
Grizzlies: Avery Bradley (knee/ankle) and Justin Holiday (neck) are probable. Kyle Anderson (shoulder) remains out.
Heat: Goran Dragic (calf) is questionable.
Hornets: Bismack Biyombo (knee) is probable.
Jazz: Ricky Rubio (hamstring) and Ekpe Udoh (back) are doubtful.
Magic: Terrence Ross (achilles) is questionable
Nets: Treveon Graham (back) is doubtful.
Pelicans: Jrue Holiday (abdominal strain) and E’Twaun Moore (quad) are out. Jahlil Okafor (ankle) is questionable.
Pistons: Zaza Pachulia (achilles) and Jon Leuer (knee) are day-to-day.
Rockets: Iman Shumpert (calf) is questionable. Kenneth Faried (hip) is out.
76ers: Joel Embiid (knee) is out.
Thunder: Paul George (shoulder) is back.
Warriors: Klay Thompson (knee), Shaun Livingston (neck) and Alfonso McKinnie (hip) are probable. Kevon Looney (pelvis) is out.
Today’s NBA Matchups
Cleveland Cavaliers (16-49) at Miami Heat (30-34)
Line: Heat -8.5, O/U: 213
Heat: 105 ppg, top ten defense, slower than average pace
Cavaliers: 104 ppg, worst defense in the NBA, bottom five pace
- The Heat have won four of five, and they momentarily took the eighth seed from the Hornets with a 91-84 win in Charlotte.
- Hassan Whiteside and Kelly Olynyk combined for 40 points, 26 rebounds and 5 blocks in the win.
- Goran Dragic missed that game with a calf issue, and he’s questionable tonight.
- The Cavs 5-5 in their last ten. They’re even tanking wrong.
- Kevin Love looks close to 100%, coming off 24 points and 16 boards in a 113-107 loss to Brooklyn. He’s averaging 21 points and 12 rebounds per game since returning.
- Cedi Osman, Jordan Clarkson, and Collin Sexton have all averaged 15+ points per game in the last five.
Dallas Mavericks (27-37) at Orlando Magic (30-36)
Line: Magic -7, O/U: 215
Magic: 106 ppg, average defense, slow pace
Mavericks: 109 ppg, average defense, average pace
- Magic have been beating some of the best teams in the league but losing to the cellar dwellers in a truly perplexing bid to make the playoffs in the East with a pretty bad record.
- The 76ers beat them 114-106, even without Joel Embiid.
- Aaron Gordon and Evan Fournier combined for 49 points in the loss, but Nikola Vucevic managed just 12 points on 5-15 shooting.
- The Mavs have gone 2-9 in their last 11 games. Their playoff hopes died a little while ago, and they’re trying to catch up in a race to the bottom.
- Luka Doncic has played 33 minutes per game in the last ten and averaged 24 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists in that stretch, but the Mavs would be wise to shut or at least slow their young franchise cornerstone down.
Detroit Pistons (32-31) at Chicago Bulls (19-47)
Line: Pistons -4.5 O/U: 219
Bulls: 104 ppg, bottom ten defense, slower than average pace
Pistons: 107 ppg, above average defense, average pace
- The Bulls are 6-4 in their last ten, coming off a wild 108-107 win over the Sixers.
- Zach LaVine put up 39 points in the win, and he’s averaging 27, 5 and 5 in his last ten.
- Lauri Markkanen is averaging 22 and 12 in his last ten, very quietly having a better season than players in his draft class like Jayson Tatum and Kyle Kuzma.
- Right now 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: 11-3
- Andre Drummond put up 31 points and 15 rebounds to dominate his matchup with KAT in a 131-115 win over Minnesota.
- Blake Griffin has been scoring less but rebounding and facilitating more of late.
Oklahoma City Thunder (40-25) at Los Angeles Clippers (37-29)
Line: Clippers -2, O/U: 237
Clippers: 114 ppg, below average defense, fast pace
Thunder: 116 ppg, second-best defense in the NBA, top five pace
- The Clippers are an enigma wrapped in a riddle, a team that traded away their best players to build for the future but inexplicably won’t stop winning.
- They essentially ended the Lakers’ playoff hopes with a 113-105 win, after which Patrick Beverly correctly announced they were the best team in LA.
- Danilo Gallinari led the way with 23 points in that one, averaging 19 a game this year.
- Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell both play starter minutes and put up starter numbers off the bench as their young counterparts Landry Shamet and Ivica Zubac continue to learn by doing in limited starting roles.
- The Thunder had lost six of their last eight, but pulled out an impressive 129-121 OT victory in Portland last night.
- Paul George scored 35 in the win and added 16 boards, 6 assists and 3 steals, but he shot just 7-23 from the floor and 1-9 from deep. In the past seven games, he missed the three in the middle with a shoulder and shot 29% in the other four.
- Russell Westbrook finished with 37 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists in the win, but he also coughed it up 8 times. He’s averaging 31, 11 and 8 in his last ten.
Philadelphia 76ers (41-24) at Houston Rockets (39-25)
Line: Rockets -7.5, O/U: 232
Rockets: 113 ppg, bottom five defense, bottom five pace
76ers: 116 ppg, above average defense, faster than average pace
- The Rockets have won six straight, the last two coming by double digits in Boston and Toronto.
- That James Harden dude is pretty good. He’s averaging a ho-hum 38 points, 5 assists, 5 rebounds and 2 steals in the last ten.
- Chris Paul shot just 1-10 in the Toronto win, but he’s averaging 17 points, 10 assists, 6 boards and 2 steals in the last ten.
- Clint Capela is averaging 11 points and 12 rebounds since returning from a thumb injury that kept him out for over a month.
- Joel Embiid is out again with a sore knee, but the Sixers have managed to go 4-3 without him to start the second half of the season. Embiid is averaging 27 points and 13.5 rebounds this year.
- The Sixers beat the Magic at home, but then traveled to Chicago and lost the next night. Jimmy Butler led the way against his former team with 22 points.
- Tobias Harris and Ben Simmons have to carry a heavier scoring and rebounding load with Embiid out, and they’ve had mixed results.
Toronto Raptors (46-19) at New Orleans Pelicans (30-37)
Line: Raptors -7.5, O/U: 232
Pelicans: 116 ppg, bottom five defense, top five pace
Raptors: 114 ppg, above average defense, average pace
- The Pelicans have been over-performing since Anthony Davis requested a trade and started either resting or playing on a minutes restriction.
- Jrue Holiday has been a driving force behind that team success, and he’ll be out at least a week with an ab strain.
- Julius Randle has averaged 24 points and 7 boards in the last ten games.
- Toronto had won nine of ten, but they could tie their season-long losing streak at three games tonight.
- Kawhi Leonard didn’t play in an OT loss to Detroit, and he led Toronto with 26 against Houston but Harden had 35.
- Kyle Lowry shouldered the scoring load and poured in 35 points with 7 rebounds and 5 assists,
- Pascal Siakam is proving to be a vital player on both ends for Toronto, averaging 21.5 points and 8 rebounds in his last ten while playing stellar defense.
- Jeremy Lin has played 7 games with the Raptors, averaging 6 points on 30% shooting.
- Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol seem to be alternating starts as the Raptors try to figure out how to integrate Gasol with the playoffs approaching.
Utah Jazz (37-27) at Memphis Grizzlies (26-40)
Line: Jazz -5, O/U: 209
Grizzlies: 101 ppg, top ten defense, bottom five pace
Jazz: 109 ppg, top five defense, average pace
- The Grizzlies have won four of their last ten. They seem to be playing better now that they’ve essentially given up on the season.
- Mike Conley is still engaged, he put up 40 in a 120-111 win over the Blazers.
- We probably won’t see Jaren Jackson Jr. for the rest of this lost season.
- The Jazz won four in a row and then split a home-at-home series with the Pelicans, though oddly enough each team won on the road.
- Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors all scored 22+.
- Ricky Rubio‘s shot has been iffy lately, and he’s doubtful tonight with a hamstring.
Washington Wizards (27-37) at Charlotte Hornets (29-35)
Line: Hornets -4.5, O/U: 234
Hornets: 111 ppg, below average defense, average pace.
Wizards: 114 ppg, bad defense, faster than average pace
- The Hornets have lost nine of their last twelve, and they’re staring down the barrel of an incredibly difficult schedule in the stretch run of the season. If they want to climb back into the eighth seed, they simply need to win this game.
- They temporarily gave that slot up to a Miami team that hasn’t had a point guard all year with a 91-84 loss.
- The entire team shot 37% from the floor in that game, and Kemba Walker led them in a bad way with 5-17 shooting.
- The Wizards are like the Clippers in that they keep winning when they shouldn’t be able to or want to, but their future is far less bright.
- Bradley Beal had 30 points, 8 assists and 7 boards in a 132-123 win over Dallas, and he’s averaging 31, 8 and 5 in his last ten.
- Trevor Ariza just played the 1,000th game of his career. He’s getting into a flow with Washington, averaging 16 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists in his last ten.
Denver Nuggets (43-21) at Golden State Warriors (44-20)
Line: Warriors -6.5, O/U: 236
Warriors: 119 ppg, average defense, faster than average pace
Nuggets: 112 ppg, above average defense, bottom five pace.
- The two top teams in the West face off having each lost three of their last five games
- Nikola Jokic had shot well in three straight losses, but his teammates did not. He only took five shots in a 115-99 win over the Lakers, but he had 12 points, 17 boards, 8 assists and 3 steals.
- Paul Millsap (16p, 8r, 3a), Jamal Murray (19p, 8r, 4a) and Will Barton (23p, 5a) all looked in sync with each other in the starting lineup.
- Gary Harris had his best game since returning from injury, adding 19 points on 8-11 shooting.
- The Warriors are 3-5 in the last eight games. They just got blown out 128-95 at home by the dysfunctional and disappointing Celtics.
- Steph Curry shot 4-10 from deep and was the only Warrior to score over 20 points. The rest of the team shot 4/25 from beyond the arc.
- Kevin Durant and DeMarcus Cousins combined for just 28 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists and 9 turnovers on 9-28 from the floor.
- Klay Thompson missed the last two games with a knee issue, but he’s expected to play tonight.
- Andrew Bogut has officially signed with his former team, and should make his debut sometime soon.