NBA Projected Starting Lineups, Matchups, Injury News – 1/21/19

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Injury News

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Bucks: Donte DiVincenzo (heel) is day-to-day.

Bulls: Wendell Carter Jr. (thumb) is out for 8-12 weeks.

Cavaliers: Tristan Thompson (foot) and David Nwaba (ankle) are out.

Celtics: Gordon Hayward (personal) is day-to-day.

Grizzlies: Marc Gasol (back) is probable. Joakim Noah (personal) is out.

Hawks: Kent Bazemore (ankle) and Miles Plumlee (knee) are out. Dewayne Dedmon (ankle) and Alex Len (Achilles) are  probable.

Heat: Josh Richardson (illness) is day-to-day.

Jazz: Ricky Rubio (hamstring) is a game-time decision.

Kings: None

Knicks: Trey Burke (illness) is questionable.

Lakers: Lonzo Ball (ankle) is expected to miss 4-6 weeks. LeBron James (groin) and Rajon Rondo (hand) remain out.

Magic: Aaron Gordon (back) is questionable.

Mavericks: Dennis Smith Jr. (illness) is expected to return Tuesday. Wesley Matthews (wrist) and DeAndre Jordan (ankle) are day-to-day.

Nets: Jared Dudley (hamstring) is out.

Pelicans: Anthony Davis (finger) will miss the next week or two at least.

Pistons: Andre Drummond (concussion) and Ish Smith (groin) are out.

Rockets: Eric Gordon (knee) is probable. Chris Paul (hamstring) is expected back next week. Clint Capela (thumb) is out for the next 4-6 weeks. Brandon Knight (knee) is a game-time decision.

76ers: Joel Embiid (back) is questionable. Jimmy Butler (wrist) is a gametime decision.

Thunder: Alex Abrines (personal) is out.

Trail Blazers: None

Warriors: DeMarcus Cousins is healthy.

Wizards: None

Today’s NBA Matchups

Oklahoma City Thunder (27-18) at New York Knicks (10-34)

Line: Thunder -9.5, O/U: 227

Thunder: 113 ppg, best defense in the NBA, top five pace

Knicks: 107 ppg, second worst defense in the NBA, average pace


  • The Thunder had lost five of seven, but came out of Philadelphia with a thrilling 117-115 win thanks in large part to Paul George, who scored 31 and hit a four-point play with five seconds left.
  • Oklahoma City started the year with the top defense in the league but they’re struggling mightily on that end since the start of the new year, giving up over 124 points per game in January.
  • Russell Westbrook is averaging 25 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds in his last ten games, but he’s shooting just 40% from the floor.
  • The Knicks have lost nine of their last ten and five straight, including a buzzer beating goaltend loss against Washington to confuse everyone in London and keep the tank moving forward.

Chicago Bulls (10-36) at Cleveland Cavaliers (9-38)

Line: Bulls -2, O/U 213

Cavaliers: 103 ppg, worst defense in the NBA, bottom five pace

Nuggets: 110 ppg, top ten defense, bottom five pace


  • It’s a battle to see who wants it less as two of the worst teams in the league by every objective measure face off.
  • These pitiful squads have combined for one win in their last 20 games, and the Bulls are going for their eleventh consecutive loss.
  • Chicago rookie Wendell Carter Jr. has averaged 10 points and 7 rebounds in 25 minutes per game this year. He needs thumb surgery and will be out for two to three months.

Dallas Mavericks (20-25) at Milwaukee Bucks (33-12)

Line: Bucks -11.5, O/U: 225

Mavericks: 110 ppg, average defense, average pace

Bucks: 118 ppg, best defense in the NBA, very fast pace


  • The Bucks are 20-4 at home and riding a four game winning streak, and the Mavericks have lost three in a row and are just 4-19 on the road.
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo leads the east in All Star voting, and he’s a strong candidate for MVP. He’s averaging 26 points on 58% shooting, 12.5 rebounds, 6 assists, 1.5 blocks, and 1.5 steals per game.
  • Luka Doncic had averaged 27 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists over a five-game stretch, but shot just 3-14 and got ejected in a 111-99 loss in Indiana on Saturday.
  • Dennis Smith Jr. is away from the team for the sixth straight game, but he’s reportedly coming back for tomorrow’s game after having productive talks with coach Rick Carlisle about his role next to Doncic.

Detroit Pistons (20-25) at Washington Wizards (19-26)

Line: Pistons +5.5, O/U: 217

Pistons: 107 ppg, above average defense, average pace

Wizards: bad defense, faster than average pace


  • These teams are both well below .500, but only a few games out of the eight seed in a baby-soft Eastern Conference.
  • The Wizards lost John Wall for the season nearly a month ago, and it seems to be a case of addition by subtraction, as the team has played top-ten defense in that stretch.
  • Tomas Satoransky is averaging 11 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists starting the last ten games, and Bradley Beal has stepped up in a big way, posting 30 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists per game in Wall’s absence.
  • Interestingly enough, Blake Griffin is also averaging 30 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists in his last ten, though the Pistons are 4-6 in that stretch.

Orlando Magic (19-27) at Atlanta Hawks (14-31)

Line: Hawks -1, O/U: 220

Hawks: 110 ppg, bottom ten defense, fastest pace in the NBA

Magic: 104 ppg, average defense, slow pace


  • Despite their record and three-game losing skid, the Magic are still just three games back of the eighth seed in the East.
  • The Hawks are equidistant between the tankers and the sub-.500 teams that could make the playoffs, AKA the worst place to be in the NBA standings.
  • Trae Young is averaging 20 points, 7 assists, and 4.5 rebounds in his last five games.

Sacramento Kings (24-22) at Brooklyn Nets (24-23)

Line: Nets -3.5, O/U: 230

Kings: 114 ppg, bottom-third defense, second-fastest pace

Nets: 112 ppg, below average defense, below average pace


  • The Nets are currently the sixth seed in the East, and the Kings would be just ahead of them if they were in the same conference. Instead, their equally impressive building season has them tenth in the West.
  • Buddy Hield is quietly averaging 20 points per game shooting 48% from the floor and 44% from deep.
  • D’Angelo Russell is averaging 26 points, 7 assists and 4 rebounds in his last five, and he’s coming off of 40 points in a 21-point comeback over Orlando. He hit 8-12 from three, including one to give Brooklyn their first lead since the first minute with under 30 seconds to play.

New Orleans Pelicans (21-25) at Memphis Grizzlies (19-27)

Line: Grizzlies -3.5, O/U: 218

Grizzlies: 101 ppg, top ten defense, bottom five pace

Pelicans: bottom five defense, top five pace


  • Both teams are struggling to make up ground in a loaded Western Conference, and the Pelicans are doing a better job of late.
  • Anthony Davis sprained his left pointer finger, and he’s expected to miss a week or two. Davis had averaged 31 points, 14 rebounds, 2 blocks and 2 steals in his last ten, leading the Pelicans to 5-5 in that stretch.
  • Marc Gasol and Mike Conley recently met with the owner of the Grizzlies to discuss the future of the franchise that has now lost eleven of their last twelve.

Miami Heat (22-22) at Boston Celtics (28-18)

Line: Celtics -8, O/U: 215

Celtics: 112 ppg, top five defense, slower than average pace

Heat: 106 ppg, top ten defense, slower than average pace


  • Miami’s leading scorer Josh Richardson was under the weather for losses in Milwaukee and Detroit, but scored 26 in a win in Chicago on Saturday.
  • The Celtics are 17-5 at home, and the Heat are a commendable 11-10 on the road.
  • Kyrie Irving’s last three games: 27 points and 18 assists, 38 points and 11 assists, 32 points and 5 assists. All three were wins, and he shot 12-20 from deep in the streak.
  • Gordon Hayward is day-to-day for personal reasons, but the Celtics have a bevy of wing players to step up if he’s out.

Portland Trail Blazers (28-19) at Utah Jazz (26-21)

Line: Jazz -5, O/U: 218

Trail Blazers:  112.5 ppg, average defense, below average pace

Jazz: 108 ppg, top five defense, average pace


  • The Jazz are 8-2 in their last ten, taking advantage of a soft schedule. They beat Cleveland twice, Detroit twice, Chicago, Orlando, the LeBron-less Lakers and struggling Clippers, but fell to Toronto and Milwaukee.
  • Donovan Mitchell’s last ten: 27 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds.
  • Ricky Rubio might come back after missing six games with a hamstring injury, so we’ll see how he impacts the flow of the game if he returns.
  • Damian Lillard’s last five: 28 points, 6 assists per game.

Golden State Warriors (32-14) at Los Angeles Lakers (25-22)

Line: Warriors -12, O/U: 234

Warriors: 118.5 ppg, average defense, faster than average pace

Lakers: 112 ppg, top ten defense, top five pace

  • Golden State is 9-1 in their last ten games, averaging 131 points per game in January. Steph, Klay, and KD are combining for an average of 84 in that stretch, all shooting over 50% from the floor and 44% from deep.
  • DeMarcus Cousins had 14 points, 3 three-pointers, 6 rebounds and 3 assists in 15 minutes in his Warriors debut.
  • Los Angeles beat OKC on the road in overtime, but then lost in overtime in Houston. They also lost Lonzo Ball to a Grade 3 ankle sprain, and he’s expected to miss at least four weeks.
  • The Lakers are 5-8 since LeBron’s groin injury, though he seems close to returning. This is the longest stretch he has missed due to injury in his entire career.
  • Lakers core in January: Lonzo Ball has 11 ppg, 6.5 rpg and 6.5 apg, Kyle Kuzma has 21 ppg and 6 rpg, and Brandon Ingram has 17 ppg, 7 rpg and 4.5 apg.

Marquee Matchup

Houston Rockets (26-19) at Philadelphia 76ers (30-17)

Line: Rockets -7.5, O/U: 227

Rockets: 113, bottom five defense, bottom five pace

76ers: 115 ppg, above average defense, faster than average pace


  • Joel Embiid is listed as questionable with back tightness, and he’s averaging 27 points and 13 boards per game this season. He’s played through it in the last two games, putting up 22p, 13r and 8a in a win over Indiana and 31p, 8r and 6a in a loss to OKC. It’s his first streak with 6+ assists in consecutive game all year, so maybe a lack of mobility is unlocking some passing from the big man.
  • Ben Simmons is averaging 19 points, 10.5 rebounds and 9 assists per game in his last ten.
  • Jimmy Butler is dealing with a sore wrist and is a game-time decision. He’s averaging 21 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4 assists per game in his last ten.
  • James Harden is averaging 42 points, 9 assists and 7 rebounds per game over his last 20, and he’s at 49, 8 and 9 in 39 minutes per game over his last five. It’s amazing and unsustainable, and you can expect him to be tired after all of this and two overtime games.
  • Eric Gordon is back and Chris Paul could return next week, but Clint Capela remains out for the next 4-6 weeks.
Daily previews of matchups to watch around the league, and film breakdowns of the best performance from the night before. Twitter @RealTomPetrini, Spurs interviews and analysis @projectspurs.

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