NBA Projected Lineups
Cavaliers: Tristan Thompson (foot) is out.
Celtics: Jaylen Brown (illness) is questionable, and Al Horford (knee) is out.
Grizzlies: Mike Conley (hamstring) is probable, Chandler Parsons (knee) is out two more weeks, Yuta Watanabe is in the league’s concussion protocol.
Hawks: Alex Poythress (ankle) is out, and Jeremy Lin (back) is questionable.
Heat: Goran Dragic (knee) and Dion Waiters (ankle) are out, Hassan Whiteside (personal) will return.
Hornets: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (personal reasons) is day to day.
Knicks: Trey Burke (knee) and Allonzo Trier is out, Damyean Dotson (shoulder) is questionable, and Lance Thomas (knee) is doubtful.
Nets: Allen Crabbe (knee) is questionable.
Nuggets: Jamal Murray (lower leg) is probable, Will Barton (groin) and Paul Millsap (toe) are out.
76ers: Jimmy Butler (groin) is day to day.
Pacers: Kyle O’Quinn (illness) is questionable.
Raptors: Kawhi Leonard (hip) is questionable, Jonas Valanciunas dislocated his left thumb and will need at least four weeks to recover from surgery.
Trail Blazers: None
Warriors: Shaun Livingston (bruised pelvis) is out, Andre Iguodala (hip) is questionable.
Wizards: Otto Porter (knee) and John Wall (heel) are both day to day.
Today’s NBA Matchups
Boston Celtics (-13) vs. Atlanta Hawks (+13)
The 17-10 Celtics are riding a seven-game win streak into a home game against one of the worst teams in the league. Over that stretch, Boston is averaging a league-best 125 points per game while playing top-five defense.
Big man Al Horford (30 minutes per game) will miss his fourth straight game with a knee injury, but Marcus Morris has averaged 29 points per game in the last two. Robert Williams III, Daniel Theis, and Aron Baynes each played around 15 minutes in the overtime win in Washington on Tuesday.
They might also be without Jaylen Brown (28 minutes per game), but Gordon Hayward is expected to return to the lineup after missing the past two games due to illness. The 6-21 Hawks have won just two games on the road this year. They play at the fastest pace in the league but average a pedestrian 108 points per game.
New York Knicks (+11) at Charlotte Hornets (-11)
The 14-13 Hornets average 113 points per game, good for eighth best in the league. They’re an average team with an average defense, and the 8-21 Knicks are a bad team with a bad defense, and they score just 108 points per game. Charlotte has rattled off three straight wins, and New York hasn’t won since December 1.
With Allonzo Trier (23 minutes per game) missing his third straight, expect Ron Baker to pick up some of the slack off the bench.
Milwaukee Bucks (-10) at Cleveland Cavaliers (+10)
The 18-9 Bucks are the highest scoring offense in the NBA at 118 points per game, and the Cavs have the worst rated defense on the year. The Bucks have a solid defense, and 7-21 Cleveland only scores 103 points per game as is.
They’ll be trying to stop dunking machine Giannis Antetokounmpo without their rim protector Tristan Thompson (30 minutes per game), who will be out at least a few weeks with a foot injury. Channing Frye started in his place, but played just 15 minutes and scored 0 points. Larry Nance Jr. played 33 minutes off the bench, adding just 3 points but 11 boards, 7 dimes, 3 steals, and 3 blocks.
Washington Wizards (+1.5) at Brooklyn Nets (-1.5)
The 11-18 Nets have won their last three games, including impressive victories over both Toronto and Philadelphia. In the 127-124 win over the 76ers, Spencer Dinwiddie scored a career-best 39 points.
On the other hand, Washington (11-17) has lost three straight, including a bad one to Cleveland. John Wall has been dealing with bone spurs in his heel but poured in 34 points and 13 assists in the overtime loss against Boston. Otto Porter Jr. (30 minutes per game) missed that contest, and Tomas Satoransky kicked in 7 points and 3 assists in 27 minutes as a starter. Kelly Oubre Jr. added 20 points in 38 minutes off the bench.
The Wizards (112 ppg) and Nets (109 ppg) are both middle of the pack scoring teams, but their defenses rank in the bottom third. Washington plays on the faster side, and Brooklyn is a bit slower.
Philadelphia 76ers (-4.5) vs. Indiana Pacers (+4.5)
The league’s second-highest scoring center, Joel Embiid, will face off against the league’s second-leading shot blocker, Myles Turner. This will be an exciting matchup to watch all night in a contest between two of the Eastern Conference’s best.
Jimmy Butler (34 minutes per game) missed the Sixers’ last game with a groin injury, and his team suffered just their second home loss of the season to the Nets of all teams. Second-year player Furkan Korkmaz started that game, and he’s averaged 30 minutes and 18 points per game in the last two.
The 18-10 Pacers are coming off their fifth-straight win, a decisive victory over the Bucks in Victor Oladipo’s return from injury. The Pacers score a below-average 106 points per game but rely on their defense which is the second best in the NBA. The 19-10 Sixers have an average defense and score a fairly high 114 points per game. Philly’s pace falls in the top third, while the Pacers are in the lower third.
We have a full breakdown of this game here on Lineups.
Miami Heat (+5.5) at Memphis Grizzlies (-5.5)
The Grizzlies have managed to get out to a 16-11 start to the year despite scoring just 103 points per game. Their top-five defense is holding opponents to 102 per game, and the team built on grit and grind plays at the slowest pace in the league.
The 11-16 Heat aren’t scoring much more at 107 points per game, and their defense ranks in the bottom third. They play at a faster pace, but expect Memphis to control the flow of the game in the Grindhouse.
Golden State Warriors (-8.5) at Sacramento Kings (+8.5)
Don’t look now, but the 15-12 Kings are kind of good. They score 115 points per game, fifth in the league and just behind Golden State at 116. They both have below average defenses on the season, and Sacramento plays at the second-fastest pace in the NBA.
The 19-10 Warriors had won four straight before the Raptors handled them in Oracle Arena. They’re back to being relatively healthy, but will be without Shaun Livingston (17 minutes per game) tonight. Expect Quinn Cook to play about that much off the bench.
Toronto Raptors (-3) at Portland Trail Blazers (+3)
The 23-7 Raptors roll into this game with the league’s best record and a top-five offense, scoring 116 points per game. They’re coming off an impressive win in Golden State on the second night of a back to back without Kawhi Leonard. Kyle Lowry contributed 23 points and 12 assists, and Pascal Siakam added 13 in 35 minutes starting in place of the injured Jonas Valanciunas (19 minutes per game).
The 15-13 Blazers lost their last two games, both on the road, and they haven’t won outside the Moda Center since November 20 against the Knicks. They do take care of business at home though, scoring 115 points per game in the friendly confines en route to a 10-4 record there.
Denver Nuggets (+2) vs. Oklahoma City Thunder (-2)
The late game on ESPN tonight features two teams surprisingly at the top of the Western Conference standings in Denver and Oklahoma City. The Nuggets are extremely banged up, missing Paul Millsap and Will Barton, but they might get some reinforcements in the form of veteran wing Nick Young.
Juan Hernangomez is averaging 14 points, 7 rebounds and a block in the last five games for the 19-10 Nuggets, who score a very average 110 points per game. They slow the game down to a crawl and rely on a top-five defense to win games. Second-year guard Monte Morris is averaging 13 points and 4 assists in 25 minutes over his last five.
The 18-10 Thunder have the best defense in the league this year, but they didn’t look like it on Wednesday night. They gave up 44 points to Anthony Davis, and he only hit one jump shot. Steven Adams and the rest of the team certainly got reamed out after giving up layup after layup, so expect a bounce-back defensive performance. They score 112 points per game and like to get out in transition and push the pace.
The Nuggets started three big men in their last game, Jokic, Hernangomez, and Mason Plumlee. Paul George is averaging 28 points, 9 rebounds, and 5 assists in 34 minutes over his last five games, and Swaggy P might be tasked with guarding him in his first game in Denver. Russell Westbrook always shows out on national TV, so this should be a fun one.
For an in-depth view on this matchup, read our game preview.