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Bulls: Zach LaVine (ankle) is questionable.
Cavaliers: Rodney Hood (achilles) and David Nwaba (ankle) are out.
Clippers: Luc Mbah a Moute (knee) is out.
Kings: Marvin Bagley III (knee) is out
Magic: Timofey Mozgov (knee) is out.
Mavericks: Dennis Smith Jr. (wrist) is questionable.
Nets: Allen Crabbe (knee) and Treveon Graham (hamstring) are out.
Nuggets: Will Barton (groin) is out.
Pacers: Tyreke Evans (knee) will be a game-time decision.
Pelicans: Nikola Mirotic (ankle) and Elfrid Payton (finger) are out.
Pistons: Henry Ellenson (ankle) is out.
Raptors: Serge Ibaka (knee) will play.
Wizards: Otto Porter Jr. (knee) is out.
Today’s NBA Matchups
Phoenix Suns (8-26) at Orlando Magic (14-18)
Line: Suns +4, O/U: 209
Suns: 103 ppg, bottom five defense, slower than average pace
Magic: 102 ppg, average defense, slow pace
- The Suns had won four straight games before falling to the Wizards in triple overtime and then losing again on the second night of a back to back.
- Devin Booker and DeAndre Ayton are really screwing up Phoenix’s tank job, averaging 30 points and 8 assists and 23 points and 16 boards respectively over the last five games.
- It has not been a December to remember for Orlando, just 3-6 since the start of the month. They topped the century mark only once in that stretch, averaging just 92 points per game.
Washington Wizards (13-21) at Detroit Pistons (15-16)
Line: Pistons -5, O/U: 221
Wizards: 113 ppg, bottom five defense, fast pace
Pistons: 108 ppg, above average defense, average pace
- The Wizards are just 4-15 away from home this year, and their last road win over an opponent .500 or better was November 10th in Miami.
- The Pistons beat Golden State on December 1st, and they’re 2-9 since.
Charlotte Hornets (16-16) at Brooklyn Nets (16-19)
Line: Nets -2, O/U: 220
Nets: 111 ppg, below average defense, slower than average pace
Hornets: 113 ppg, average defense, average pace
- The Nets have won eight of their last nine games, the most in the league over that stretch. In that time, they have the second-highest true shooting percentage as a team behind only San Antonio.
- Spencer Dinwiddie and D’Angelo Russell are combining for 39 points and 14 assists per game, and six other Nets are averaging over 8 points during this streak.
- The Hornets have lost three of their last five, and are just 4-9 on the road.
Indiana Pacers (22-12) at Atlanta Hawks (9-23)
Line: Pacers -8, O/U: 217
Pacers: 106 ppg, best defense in the NBA, bottom five pace
Hawks: 109 ppg, bottom five defense, fastest pace in NBA
- The Pacers are 9-3 in December, holding opponents under 100 in eight of those games.
- Victor Oladipo is averaging 17 points, 6 rebounds, and 7 assists since his return to the court on 12/12.
- The low-flying Hawks are riding their first three-game winning streak of the year.
- 41-year-old Vince Carter led the team in scoring with 18 in their most recent win over Detroit.
- The injury report is a mess for this one on the Atlanta side, so check the wire closer to tip.
Toronto Raptors (25-10) at Miami Heat (16-16)
Line: Raptors -4, O/U: 210
Raptors: 115 ppg, top ten defense, slower than average pace
Heat: 106.5 ppg, top ten defense, slower than average pace
- The Heat are riding the longest active winning streak in the league at five games, which is remarkable considering they have averaged just 102 points per game during the stretch.
- The East-leading Raptors have suffered more than half of their season’s losses in December, battling many injuries to get to 6-6 for the month. Everyone should be good to go for this one, though.
Minnesota Timberwolves (15-18) at Chicago Bulls (9-25)
Line: Timberwolves -4.5, O/U: 212
Timberwolves: 110 ppg, below average defense, faster than average pace
Bulls: 101 ppg, below average defense, below average pace
- The lottery-bound Bulls have won two games in a row for the first time all year. Sure the games were against arguably worse teams in Cleveland and Orlando, but let them have this.
- Second-year big man Lauri Markkanen posted a season-high 32 points against the Magic and 31 against the Cavs, and he’s averaging 17.5 points and 7 boards per game since returning to the court on December 1st.
- Minnesota is just 2-6 in their last eight, giving up an average of 118 points per game.
- Jeff Teague is out again and Derrick Rose might miss this one against his former team, so check the injury wire closer to tip to see if Tyus Jones will slide in at starting point guard.
Cleveland Cavaliers (8-26) vs. Memphis Grizzlies (17-16)
Line: Grizzlies -10.5, O/U: 196
Grizzlies: 102.5 ppg, top five defense, slowest pace
Cavaliers: 103 ppg, worst defense in the NBA, second-slowest pace.
- The Grizzlies had lost seven of their last eight games, all without scoring over 100. They snapped that with a 107-99 win over the Lakers. Rookie Jaren Jackson had a career game, posting 27 points and 9 boards.
- Cleveland has half of their season wins in December, so that’s something.
New Orleans Pelicans (15-19) at Dallas Mavericks (15-17)
Line: Mavericks -2.5, O/U: 228
Pelicans: 116 ppg, bottom-third defense, third-fastest pace
Mavericks: 111 ppg, average defense, average pace
- These Western Conference playoff hopefuls have just one win combined in their last six games each. They will play again on Friday in New Orleans.
- Anthony Davis is averaging 31 points and 16 rebounds in his last five games, including 44 and 18 in a win over OKC.
- Runaway rookie of the year Luka Doncic is averaging 25 points, 7 assists and 6 boards per game in his last five, drawing high praise from the likes of LeBron James and Draymond Green.
Sacramento Kings (18-15) at Los Angeles Clippers (19-14)
Line: Clippers -5.5, O/U: 239
Kings: 115 ppg, bottom third defense, second-fastest pace
Clippers: 116 ppg, bottom third defense, top ten pace
- The Clippers shot a remarkable 18/23 (78%) from three as a team in Golden State, but had no answer for Kevin Durant and Steph Curry, who dropped 42 points and the game winner at the rim. They did turn the ball over 17 times in that game.
- LA is just 4-8 in December after a strong start to the year, and the Kings are 8-4 in December.
- Buddy Hield has led the Kings in scoring in six straight, averaging 28 points per game.
- The Kings are 9-8 on the road, and the Clippers are 11-4 at home.
Denver Nuggets (21-10) at San Antonio Spurs (18-16)
Line: Spurs -3.5, O/U: 216
Spurs: 111 ppg, below average defense, slow pace
Nuggets: 110 ppg, top ten defense, very slow pace
- The Spurs fell to 11-14 earlier in December, but have won seven of their last nine since. They have the third best defense and an absurd net rating of +19.4 points per 100 possessions in that stretch. The next highest is Boston, at +9.5.
- The Nuggets are 11-3 in their last 14.
- We have a great center matchup in this one. Nikola Jokic is averaging 23 points, 11 rebounds and 7 assists in December, and LaMarcus Aldridge is averaging 20 points and 7 rebounds on 59% shooting on the month.
- San Antonio rookie Lonnie Walker IV is active for the first time this season after rehabbing a knee injury in the G League.
- This is the first matchup of the season between these teams, and they will play again on Friday night in Denver.