NBA Projected Starting Lineups, Matchups, Injury News – 12/28/18


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Injury News

Bulls: None

Cavaliers: Tristan Thompson (foot), David Nwaba (ankle) and Rodney Hood (achilles) are out/

Clippers: None

Hawks: Alex Len (back) is out.

Heat: Dion Waiters (ankle) is out. Hassan Whiteside (hip) will play.

Hornets: None

Lakers: LeBron James (groin) and Rajon Rondo (hand) are out.

Magic: None

Mavericks: Dennis Smith Jr. (wrist) will play. Luka Doncic (toe) is probable. Wesley Matthews (foot) is out.

Nets: Allen Crabbe (knee) will miss his eighth straight.

Pacers: Victor Oladipo (shoulder) is day-to-day. Tyreke Evans (knee) is out.

Pelicans: Elfrid Payton (finger) and Nikola Mirotic (ankle) are out.

Pistons: Henry Ellenson (ankle) is out.

Raptors: Kyle Lowry (back) and Norman Powell (personal) are out. Chris Boucher (ankle) is probable.

Suns: Jamal Crawford (knee) is questionable.

Thunder: Paul George (quad) is a game-time decision.

Timberwolves: Jeff Teague (ankle) is out.

Wizards: Otto Porter Jr. (knee) will miss his tenth straight.

Today’s NBA Matchups

Brooklyn Nets (17-19) at Charlotte Hornets (16-17)

Line: Nets +4.5, O/U: 221

Nets: 111 ppg, below average defense, slower than average pace

Hornets: 113 ppg, average defense, average pace.


  • The Nets are an NBA best 9-1 over their last ten games, mainly because they’re moving the ball well and shooting it even better. Eight Nets are averaging 10 points or more.
  • These teams played Wednesday, and Spencer Dinwiddie led Brooklyn to a 134-132 double-overtime victory with 37 points and 11 assists. Kemba Walker and Jeremy Lamb combined for 66 points, 12 boards, 8 assists, and just two turnovers.
  • The Hornets are just 5-6 in December.

Detroit Pistons (16-16) at Indiana Pacers (23-12)

Line: Pacers -6.5, O/U: 205

Pistons: 109 ppg, above average defense, average pace

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


  • After beating Golden State on December 1st to move to 13-7, the Pistons have plummeted back to earth losing nine of their last twelve.
  • The Pacers have won ten of their last twelve games, with Victor Oladipo averaging 17 points and 7 assists in the eight games he’s played during the stretch, though he is day to day after tweaking his shoulder Wednesday.

Toronto Raptors (26-10) at Orlando Magic (14-19)

Line: N/A

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

Magic: 104 ppg, average defense, slow pace


  • The Magic have lost four straight, most recently at home in overtime against the Suns.
  • Orlando has a losing record at home, and the Raptors are 13-6 on the road.
  • Kyle Lowry will miss this game with a back injury. The Raptors have a +12 net rating when he’s on the floor, but it drops all the way to -3.5 when he’s not.

Chicago Bulls (9-26) at Washington Wizards (13-22)

Line: Wizards -5.5, O/U: 217

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

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


  • The Wizards have lost eight of their last ten, and the Bulls are 4-8 in November.
  • On a related note, Otto Porter Jr. will miss his tenth straight game.
  • Zach LaVine returned to the court against his former team, dropping 28 off the bench as the Bulls fell to Minnesota.

Dallas Mavericks (16-17) at New Orleans Pelicans (15-20)

Line: Pelicans -5, O/U: 229

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

Mavericks: 111 ppg, average defense, average pace.


  • The Pelicans have lost five straight, and Dallas snapped a six-game skid with a 122-119 win in New Orleans on Wednesday.
  • Dennis Smith Jr. will return to the floor after missing ten of the last eleven games with a wrist injury.
  • Anthony Davis is averaging 28 points and 16 boards in his last five
  • Presumptive rookie of the year Luka Doncic is posting 24 points, 8 assists and 7 rebounds in the same stretch. Doncic was a rebound shy of his first triple double when these teams faced off on Wednesday.

Cleveland Cavaliers (8-27) at Miami Heat (16-17)

Line: N/A

Cavaliers: 102 ppg, worst defense in the NBA, third-slowest pace

Heat: 106 ppg, top ten defense, slower than average pace


  • The Cavs are just 3-14 on the road, and losers of four of their last five.
  • Miami has won five of their last six, including impressive ones over New Orleans, Milwaukee, and a very hot Houston team.

Atlanta Hawks (9-24) at Minnesota Timberwolves (16-18)

Line: Timberwolves -9, O/U: 230

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

Hawks: 109 ppg, bottom ten defense, fastest pace in the NBA


  • Jeff Teague is out again for Minnesota, but Derrick Rose filled in and scored 24 points and added 8 assists in 38 minutes in Chicago, where he was serenaded with MVP chants from Bulls fans
  • Both teams are 4-6 in their last ten, and the Hawks are just 4-14 on the road.

Oklahoma City Thunder (21-12) at Phoenix Suns (9-26)

Line: Thunder -7, O/U: 224

Thunder: 112 ppg, best defense in the NBA, above average pace

Suns: 105 ppg, bottom five defense, slower than average pace


  • The Thunder started the year red hot and the Suns were ice cold, but both are 5-5 over their last ten games.
  • Paul George is averaging 33 points on 49% shooting from the floor and 47% from three over the past five games, adding 12 boards and 4 assists. He’s a game-time decision with a quad contusion, so check the injury wire closer to tip.

Los Angeles Clippers (20-14) at Los Angeles Lakers (20-15)

Line: N/A

Clippers: 116 ppg, below average defense, top ten pace

Lakers: 113 ppg, top ten defense, top five pace


  • The Lakers will be without LeBron James and Rajon Rondo, so Lonzo Ball will likely be the primary ball handler.
  • Both of these teams have been up and down, with the Clippers 4-6 and the Lakers 5-5 over their last ten.
  • The Lakers topped Golden State on Christmas day even after LeBron’s injury, but lost last night to the Kings on a buzzer beater.

Marquee Matchup

San Antonio Spurs (19-16) at Denver Nuggets (21-11)

Line: Nuggets -4, O/U: 214

Spurs: 111 ppg, below average defense, slow pace

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


  • The Nuggets are looking to avoid their third-straight loss after falling to the Spurs 111-103 on Wednesday. Nikola Jokic was frequently doubled in that game, finishing with just 4 points and 10 rebounds.
  • LaMarcus Aldridge scored 27 over Jokic, and DeMar DeRozan kicked in 30.
  • Juancho Hernangomez led Denver with 27 points in that game, shooting 6/7 from three.
  • The Spurs are 8-2 in their last ten, leading the league in true shooting percentage and posting the second best defensive rating in the NBA over that stretch. Their net rating of +18 is truly bonkers.
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