NBA Projected Starting Lineups
Bucks: Giannis Antetokounmpo (neck stiffness) and Pat Connaughton (left knee) will be dressed and available to play.
Cavaliers: Tristan Thompson (foot) is out 2-4 weeks, David Nwaba is listed as questionable.
Celtics: Al Horford (knee), Gordon Hayward (illness), and Guerschon Yabusele (ankle) are out. Kyrie Irving (shoulder) is considered day to day, and Aron Baynes (ankle) will be available for limited minutes.
Grizzlies: Mike Conley (hamstring soreness) is listed as questionable, Chandler Parsons (knee) is out, Yuta Watanabe is out with a concussion, and Dillon Brooks (knee) is out.
Hawks: Jeremy Lin (back), Miles Plumlee (knee), Alex Poythress (ankle), Taurean Prince (ankle), and Omari Spellman (hip) are all out.
Heat: Dion Waiters (ankle) is out, Hassan Whiteside (personal) is out, Goran Dragic (knee) is out.
Knicks: Allonzo Trier (hamstring) is out, Trey Burke (knee) is out.
Mavericks: Dennis Smith Jr. (wrist) is out.
Pacers: Victor Oladipo (knee) is out, but participating in practice.
Pelicans: Nikola Mirotic (ankle) is out, E’Twaun Moore (lower leg) is questionable.
Pistons: Henry Ellenson (ankle) is out, Stanley Johnson (knee) and Reggie Bullock (ankle) and are questionable.
Raptors: Kawhi Leonard (hip) is day to day after missing last night’s game.
76ers: Jimmy Butler (groin) is doubtful
Timberwolves: Robert Covington (knee) is probable, Jerryd Bayless (knee) is out.
Trail Blazers: Anfernee Simmons (illness) is day to day.
Warriors: Andre Igoudala (hip) is out.
Wizards: John Wall (heel) is probable.
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We are blessed with a full slate of NBA action tonight, with eleven games across the association. Unfortunately, the potential Finals preview that should have been the best game of the night will be marred by injury and tired legs. Still, there is no shortage of interesting matchups around the league.
Boston Celtics (-3.5) at Washington Wizards (+3.5)
The Celtics are looking to extend their six-game winning streak against a below average Wizards team in Washington. Over the streak Boston has posted a top-five defensive rating of 99.7 and a league-best offensive rating of 125.3. They’re also taking extremely good care of the ball and leading the league in true shooting percentage at 62.7%.
The Celtics are rolling but extremely banged up, missing Horford, Hayward, and potentially Kyrie Irving tonight. They are probably the deepest team in the league though. Marcus Morris is coming off a season-high 31 points, and Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown combined for 40 in a win over the Pelicans. Rookie Robert Williams III nearly had his first double double, and he and Daniel Theis should split the minutes evenly at center tonight. If Kyrie sits again, Terry Rozier will probably start again and play 30 minutes or so.
The Wizards might be without John Wall and Otto Porter, who average 35 and 30 minutes for the team respectively. With Wall out the Wizards have gone with Austin Rivers and Tomas Satoransky, who both started last game and played around 30 minutes. Kelly Oubre Jr. would probably replace Porter with the starters, he played 37 minutes after Porter’s injury in the loss against Indiana.
Cleveland Cavaliers (Even) vs. New York Knicks (Even)
Tristan Thompson plays 30 minutes per game and sprained his ankle in the Cavs’ last contest, a loss against the Bucks. The other Cleveland center, Ante Zizic, never left the bench. Instead, Jaron Blossomgame and Larry Nance Jr. each played around 25 minutes off the bench. In addition to being terrible, the Cavs also play at the slowest pace in the league. This might end up being the ugliest game of the season. Love yourself, do not watch it.
Milwaukee Bucks (-2.0) at Indiana Pacers (+2.0)
This should be a great game, even with Victor Oladipo out. Both teams have top-four defenses, but the Bucks like to speed things up while the Pacers prefer to slow it down. Whoever controls the pace of the game will likely come out on top. The Greek Freak should be good to go, and one of the most prolific dunkers in the history of the game will be attacking an excellent rim protector in Myles Turner.
Brooklyn Nets (+6.5) at Philadelphia 76ers (-6.5)
The Nets aren’t horrible this year, and they’re riding a two game win streak into Philadelphia after stunning the Raptors in OT. Jimmy Butler (32 minutes per game) is considered doubtful with a groin injury, so we could see increased minutes and production from JJ Redick and Robert Covington, among others. This is also a great matchup of young centers, Joel Embiid and Jarrett Allen.
Oklahoma City Thunder (-2.0) at New Orleans Pelicans (+2.0)
The Thunder are absolutely scorching hot, and hold the best record in the Western Conference. The Pelicans will be without Nikola Mirotic, who averages 30 minutes, 17 points, and 9 rebounds per game. Expect around 30 minutes from Julius Randle, and 20 from Chieck Diallo. Anthony Davis is coming off 41 points in a loss against the Celtics, and Paul George is averaging 27 points per game in his last 5.
Dallas Mavericks (-9.5) vs. Atlanta Hawks (+9.5)
The battle between Luka Doncic and Trae Young will always be captivating. Atlanta plays at the fastest pace in the league, and the Mavs are more in the middle of the pack. Rookie Jalen Brunsen should play around 30 minutes in place of the injured Dennis Smith Jr., and he’s good for about 15 points.
Golden State Warriors (-6.5) vs. Toronto Raptors (+6.5)
Kawhi Leonard missed last night’s win over the Clippers with a bruised hip, and he’s listed as day to day. In his absence Kyle Lowry shot well for a change, hitting 4/8 of his long range attempts en route to 21 points and 7 assists. Serge Ibaka added 25 points, nine rebounds, and three blocks, and Fred Van Vleet dished an eye-popping 14 dimes as Kawhi’s replacement in the starting lineup.
The second game of a back to back with travel is always rough, and especially so when you’re traveling to the bay. Steph Curry looks like one of the best layers in the world since returning from injury, and he’s coming off a game where he scored 38 points on 23 shots. The Raptors will put up a better fight than most, but expect the Warriors to take care of business at home.