NBA Projected Starting Lineups, Matchups, Injury News – 12/22/18

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Injury News

For the most up to date injury information, click here.

Bucks: Ersan Ilyasova (nose) is out.


Heat: Goran Dragic (knee) is out, Justise Winslow (ankle) is questionable.

Jazz: None

Nuggets: Gary Harris (hip) is out

Mavericks: Dennis Smith Jr. (wrist) is out.

Raptors: Kawhi Leonard (rest) and Kyle Lowry (thigh) are out. Serge Ibaka (knee) and Danny Green (knee) are day-to-day.

Rockets: Chris Paul (hamstring) is out

76ers: None

Spurs: None

Suns: None

Thunder: None

Warriors: None

Wizards: Otto Porter Jr. (knee) is out.

Today’s NBA Matchups

Denver Nuggets (21-9) vs. Los Angeles Clippers (18-13)

Line: Nuggets +1, O/U: 219

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

Clippers: 115 ppg, below average defense, above average pace


  • The Nuggets are the top team in the West, coming off of four consecutive home wins.
  • Nikola Jokic has been spectacular in those games, averaging 27 points, 6 assists, 13 rebounds, and 2.5 steals. He should be the first Denver All-Star since Carmelo Anthony in 2011.
  • Lou Williams missed four straight games with a hamstring injury, and LA lost all of them. He picked apart the Mavericks for 26 points, 8 assists, and the win. Danilo Gallinari added 32 points, 6 boards, 4 assists, and 2 blocks.
  • The Nuggets handed the Clippers one of their four losses at home this year, 107-98 in the season opener.

Phoenix Suns (8-24) at Washington Wizards (12-20)

Line: N/A

Suns: 103 ppg, fifth-worst defense, slower than average pace

Wizards: 113 ppg, third-worst defense, fast pace


  • The Suns are scorching hot winners of four straight, and they have a top-five defense in the league during the streak.
  • On a somewhat related note, Devin Booker is averaging 30 points, 6 boards, and 6 assists in his three games since returning from injury.
  • Washington has lost six of their last seven games, giving up an average of 121 points per game in that stretch.
  • Otto Porter Jr. remains out, and Trevor Ariza is averaging 17 points, 7 rebounds, and 4.5 steals as a Wizard.

Toronto Raptors (25-9) at Philadelphia 76ers (21-12)

Line: 76ers +7.5, O/U: 219

Raptors: 115 ppg, top ten defense, below average pace

76ers: 114 ppg, 14th ranked defense, faster than average pace


  • The 76ers are 15-3 at home this year, and the Raptors are 12-5 on the road.
  • The Raptors beat Cleveland last night, and Kawhi Leonard scored 37 points on 75% shooting. He will rest in this game, so expect more minutes and production out of OG Anunoby.
  • Toronto is 6-0 on the second night of a back to back.
  • The Raptors might be without Kyle Lowry, Serge Ibaka, and Danny Green. Keep an eye on the injury wire.
  • Joel Embiid is averaging 27 points and 14 boards over his last five games. Ben Simmons is posting 18 points, 9 rebounds and 8 dimes in that stretch, and he’s had a triple-double in their past two wins.
  • For a full preview, click here.

Milwaukee Bucks (22-9) at Miami Heat (14-16)

Line: Bucks -3, O/U: 217

Bucks: 118 ppg, fifth-ranked defense, very fast pace

Heat: 107 ppg, top ten defense, average pace


  • The Bucks have won four straight, including three on the road and last night in Boston.
  • Possibly related, Giannis Antetokounmpo is averaging 33 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 6.5 assists in his last four, including 44 and 14 against Cleveland.
  • Miami has rattled off three straight wins in a push to get to .500, holding each opponent under the century mark. They won by four, six, and two in their last game against the surging Rockets.
  • Josh Richardson is averaging 21 points and 6 assists during the streak, and Tyler Johnson and Dwyane Wade have combined to kick in 31 per game.

Dallas Mavericks (15-15) vs. Golden State Warriors (21-11)

Line: Warriors -11.5, O/U: 225

Warriors: 115 ppg, average defense, faster than average pace

Mavericks: 110 ppg, above average defense, above average pace


  • The Warriors are 13-3 at home this season, and the Mavs are just 2-12 on the road.
  • Dallas has lost their last four games, giving up 124 per game in the last three.
  • Golden State has won six of their last eight, led by Steph Curry (28 ppg), Kevin Durant (25 ppg), and Klay Thompson (20 ppg).

Oklahoma City Thunder (20-10) at Utah Jazz (16-17)

Line: Thunder -5.5, O/U: 234.5

Thunder: 111 ppg, best defense in the NBA, above average pace

Jazz: 107 ppg, top ten defense, slower than average pace


  • The Thunder have won three straight, scoring an average of 121 points per game.
  • Russell Westbrook is averaging 21 points and 11 assists per game, deferring more to Paul George, who is averaging 31 points and shooting 52% from the floor and 48% from deep over the last five games.
  • George’s last game was a dominant 43 points, 12 boards, and 7 dimes in a 132-113 win over Sacramento.
  • The Jazz have held opponents to an average of just 95 points in their last five games, most recently beating Golden State and Portland.

Marquee Matchup

San Antonio Spurs (18-15) at Houston Rockets (16-15)

Line: Houston -5, O/U: 216

Rockets: 109 ppg, bottom-five defense, second-slowest pace

Spurs: 112 ppg, 19th-ranked defense, slow pace


  • The Spurs are scalding hot, winners of seven of their last eight games and sporting the second-best defense and outscoring opponents by 22.5 points per 100 possessions in that stretch.
  • LaMarcus Aldridge, DeMar DeRozan, and Rudy Gay are all averaging 16+ during this run, and Bryn Forbes, Davis Bertans, and Marco Belinelli are all in double figures.
  • San Antonio waxed Minnesota 124-98 last night, tallying season highs in three-pointers (19) and assists (36). Nobody played more than 32 minutes.
  • The Rockets will be without Chris Paul until at least January, so more of the point guard responsibilities will fall to James Harden.
  • Harden rolled into their last game against the Heat averaging 39 points, 8 assists and 7 rebounds over a five-game win streak, then he showed us that a bad 35-point game is possible. He shot just 30% from the floor and made only one field goal inside the arc. 15/18 from the line though, if you like that.
  • For a full preview, click here.
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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