NBA Projected Starting Lineups, Matchups, Injury News – 12/21/18

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Injury News

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Bulls: Jabari Parker (illness) is day-to-day. Zach LaVine (ankle) is out.

Bucks: None

Cavaliers: Matthew Dellavedova (knee) is day-to-day.

Celtics: Al Horford (knee), and Aron Baynes (hand) are out, Marcus Morris (knee) is questionable.

Grizzlies: Mike Conley (hamstring) and Joakim Noah (heel) are questionable. Kyle Anderson (hip) is probable.

Hawks: Miles Plumlee (knee) and Omari Spellman (hip) are out.

Hornets: None

Kings: Bogdan Bogdanovic is questionable with a sore right foot. Iman Shumpert (hip) is questionable. Marvin Bagley III (knee) remains out.

Knicks: Mitchell Robinson (ankle) and Allonzo Trier (hamstring) are out.

Lakers: JaVale McGee (illness) is questionable.

Jazz: None

Magic: None

Nets: Allen Crabbe (knee) is day-to-day.

Pacers: None

Pelicans:  Anthony Davis (illness), Nikola Mirotic (ankle), Julius Randle (ankle), Ian Clark (ankle) are all questionable.

Pistons: None

Raptors: Kyle Lowry (thigh) is out. Serge Ibaka (knee) is questionable.

Spurs: None

Timberwolves: Jeff Teague (ankle) is out.

Thunder: None

Trail Blazers: None

Today’s NBA Matchups

Detroit Pistons (15-14) at Charlotte Hornets (15-15)

Line: Hornets -4, O/U: 218

Pistons: 110 ppg, above average defense, average pace

Hornets: 114 ppg average defense, above average pace


  • The Hornets had given up an average of 127 points in two straight losses, but they bounced back against a Cavs team kicking around at the bottom of the barrel.
  • The Pistons beat Golden State on December 1 to move to 13-7. They have gone 2-7 since, but their last three games were a win over Boston, a close loss against Milwaukee, and an overtime win in Minnesota.
  • In the last five games, Blake Griffin is averaging 26.5 points, shooting 51% from the floor and 44% from three while adding 9 rebounds and 7 assists.
  • Kemba Walker is shooting just 34% from the floor in his last five, including 8/23 for a combined 20 points in back to back losses last week.
  • These teams last played last week in Charlotte, and the Hornets won 108-107.

Cleveland Cavaliers (8-24) at Toronto Raptors (24-9)

Line: Raptors -13, O/U 207.

Raptors: 114 ppg, seventh-best defense, below average pace

Cavaliers: 103 ppg, worst defense in the NBA, third-slowest pace.


  • The Raptors battled through injuries to go 2-2 on a west-coast trip, beating Golden State and the Clippers but then falling to Portland and Denver. They bounced back with a 99-96 win in their first game back home over a very good Pacers team.
  • Kyle Lowry is out for his third-straight with a thigh issue, so expect Fred VanVleet to start in his place. He’s averaging 16 points and 4.5 assists over the last two games.
  • Toronto has won the first two games of this series by an average of 11.5 points.

New York Knicks (9-24) vs. Atlanta Hawks (7-23)

Line: Knicks -2, O/U: 231

Hawks: 109 ppg, fourth-worst defense, fastest pace in NBA

Knicks: 109 ppg, second-worst defense, average pace


  • A matchup between two bottom-five teams with bottom-five defenses. Yuck.
  • With Miles Plumlee and Omari Spellman out for Atlanta, expect John Collins to pick up the slack. The second-year guy is averaging 19 points and 9 rebounds per game this year.
  • Rookie Trae Young is averaging 15.5 points per game on 38% shooting, 25% from the arc.
  • I say again, yuck.

Indiana Pacers (20-12) at Brooklyn Nets (15-18)

Line: Raptors -5, O/U: 208.5

Pacers: 106 ppg, second-ranked defense, bottom-five pace

Nets: 111 ppg, 22nd-ranked defense, slower than average pace


  • The Brooklyn Nets, I repeat, THE BROOKLYN NETS have won seven-straight games, the longest active streak in the league. They have a top-five offense during that stretch, with Spencer Dinwiddie and D’Angelo Russell combining for 42 points and 13.5 assists per game.
  • If the Nets win this game, it will be their longest winning streak since Jason Kidd and Vince Carter were tearing it up in New Jersey in 2006.
  • The Pacers had won seven straight games, but they have now lost consecutive games to the worst and best teams in their conference.
  • Victor Oladipo has played five games since his return to the floor, averaging 17 points, 6 assists, and 5 rebounds.

Orlando Magic (14-16) at Chicago Bulls (7-25)

Line: Magic -2.5, O/U: 202

Bulls: 101 ppg, below average defense, below average pace

Magic: 104 ppg, average defense, slow pace


  • The Bulls must have had some bad turkey on Thanksgiving, going 2-12 since. They’ve been held under 100 points in ten of those games.
  • The Magic got waxed by almost 40 points hosting the surging Spurs, and clearly missed new father Nikola Vucevic. He should be back for this one. Former Spur Jonathon Simmons got crossed up (and stepped on) so hard that he sprained his ankle, and he’s listed as questionable.
  • Zach LaVine is going to be on the shelf for a bit longer, so expect more production out of Kris Dunn and Ryan Arcidiacono.

Minnesota Timberwolves (14-17) vs. San Antonio Spurs (17-15)

Line: Spurs -4, O/U: 220

Spurs: 111 ppg, 21st-ranked defense, slow pace

Timberwolves: 110 ppg, below average defense, faster than average pace


  • San Antonio looks like a new team after a 5-1 homestand, and they took their newfound chemistry on the road for a 129-90 win in Orlando.
  • The Spurs have the top-rated defense and offense in the league over the last seven games, and are outscoring opponents by an absurd 22.1 points per 100 possessions.
  • San Antonio is looking to avenge a 128-89 loss the last time these teams played in Minnesota.
  • With Jeff Teague out again, expect Derrick Rose to start his third-straight game. He’s averaging 23 points and 9 assists in the last two, coming off 33 points and 7 assists in an overtime loss.
  • The Timberwolves had won six out of seven, but have since lost five of their last six.
  • It should be fun to watch LaMarcus Aldridge and Karl Anthony Towns go at it, with both averaging around 20 and 10. Towns has a slight edge in the stats, but Aldridge is hot as of late.

Portland Trail Blazers (18-13) vs. Utah Jazz (15-17)

Line: Jazz +2, O/U: 212

Trail Blazers: 112 ppg, fourth-ranked defense, average pace

Jazz: 107 ppg, eighth-ranked defense, slower than average pace


  • Damian Lillard went nuclear in Portland’s win over the Clippers on Monday night in Los Angeles, dropping 39 in the game and 22 in the third quarter.
  • The Blazers have won three straight over the Raptors, Clippers, and Grizzlies.
  • The Jazz had lost four out of five, but put together an impressive win over the Golden State Warriors.
  • Joe Ingles dropped 20 on the Dubs, Gobert added 17 points, 15 boards, and 4 blocks, and Jae Crowder added 18 points and 11 boards off the bench. Donovan Mitchell scored 17 but needed 26 shots to do it.

Memphis Grizzlies (16-15) at Sacramento Kings (16-15)

Line: Kings -1.5, O/U: 212

Kings: 116 ppg, bottom-third defense, second-fastest pace

Grizzlies: 102.5 ppg, sixth-ranked defense, second-slowest pace


  • The Grizzlies have lost four straight and six of their last seven, being held under 100 points in all of those games.
  • The Kings have lost three of their last four, but Buddy Hield is averaging 28 points in those games.
  • Sacramento might be missing Iman Shumpert and Bogdan Bogdanovic, who average a combined 25 points at the shooting guard position. This could mean more production from De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield, and more minutes for Yogi Ferrell and Frank Mason III.
  • Mike Conley and Kyle Anderson are expected to play, but Omri Casspi, JaMychal Green, and Joakim Noah are up in the air right now.

New Orleans Pelicans (15-17) at Los Angeles Lakers (18-13)

Line: Lakers -5, O/U: 234

Pelicans: 117 ppg, bottom-third defense, fourth-fastest pace

Lakers: 113 ppg, top-ten defense, third-fastest pace


  • The injury report is a mess for this one, with Anthony Davis, Nikola Mirotic, Julius Randle, and JaVale McGee all up in the air. Keep checking the injury wire for updates.
  • The Lakers are home after a 1-3 road trip, and the Pelicans are also 1-3 in their last four.
  • If Davis goes, it will be a matchup between two 28-point-per-game scorers in him and LeBron James.
  • Here’s LeBron a few days ago on Davis potentially joining the Lakers: “That would be amazing, like duh. That would be incredible.”
  • LeBron is shooting 39% from three in his last five games.

Marquee Matchup

Milwaukee Bucks (21-9) at Boston Celtics (18-12)

Line: Celtics -1.5, O/U: 224

Celtics: 111.5 ppg, third-ranked defense, slower than average pace

Bucks: 118 ppg, fifth-ranked defense, fifth-fastest pace


  • The Celtics had won eight straight, but have dropped their last two to the Pistons and a suddenly streaking Suns team.
  • Al Horford will miss his seventh-straight game with a knee injury, and Aron Baynes and Guerschon Yabusele are also out. Its a huge opportunity for Daniel Theis and rookie Robert Williams III, who is averaging 5 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 blocks in just 18 minutes over his last five.
  • The Bucks have won five of their last six, but two came against Cleveland.
  • This is a great point guard matchup between Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Kyrie Irving, or a great forward matchup between Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jaylen Brown, Gordon Hayward, and Jayson Tatum depending on how you look at it.
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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