NBA Projected Starting Lineups, Matchups, Injury News – 12/30/18

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Injury News

Bulls: None

Heat: Derrick Jones Jr. (illness), James Johnson (illness), Wayne Ellington (illness), and Udonis Haslem (illness) are all day-to-day

Kings: Marvin Bagley III (knee) is out.

Lakers: LeBron James (groin), Rajon Rondo (hand), and Michael Beasley (personal) are out. JaVale McGee (illness) is questionable.

Magic: None

Mavericks: DeAndre Jordan (knee) and Wesley Matthews (foot) are questionable.

Pistons: Henry Ellenson (ankle) is out.

Raptors: Kyle Lowry (back), Norman Powell (personal), Fred VanVleet (shoulder), and Chris Boucher (ankle) are day-to-day.

76ers: Joel Embiid (knee) is questionable.

Thunder: Paul George (quad) is probable. Alex Abrines (illness) is out.

Timberwolves: Jeff Teague (ankle) is out. Derrick Rose (ankle) is doubtful.

Trail Blazers: None

Today’s NBA Matchups

Detroit Pistons (16-17) at Orlando Magic (15-19)

Line: Pistons -2.5, O/U: 204

Magic: 104 ppg, average defense, slow pace

Pistons: 109 ppg, above average defense, average pace


  • The Pistons beat the Warriors to move to 13-7 on December first, and they have gone 3-10 since, falling to the ninth seed in the East. They lost 125-88 to the Pacers on Friday.
  • The Magic had lost four straight and seven of their last nine, but Nikola Vucevic led them to a decisive 116-87 beat down of the league-leading Raptors. He had 30 points, 20 boards, and 8 assists.

Minnesota Timberwolves (16-19) at Miami Heat (17-17)

Line: Heat -4, O/U: 210

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

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


  • The Heat are 8-4 in December and winners of four of their last five to get back to .500.
  • Minnesota is 5-8 in December, coming off an embarrassing OT loss at home against Atlanta.
  • There seems to be a bug going around the Heat locker room, as Derrick Jones Jr., James Johnson, Wayne Ellington, and Udonis Haslem are all day-to-day with an illness.
  • Jeff Teague is out again and Derrick Rose is doubtful with an ankle, so check before tip to see if Tyus Jones slides in to the starting lineup.

Chicago Bulls (10-26) at Toronto Raptors (26-11) 

Line: Raptors +10.5, O/U: 208

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

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


  • The Raptors are a different team without Kyle Lowry, and not in a good way. He’s missed six games in December, and Toronto is 3-3 in those games. They outscore opponents by 12 points per 100 possessions when he’s on the floor, but get outscored by 5 when he’s off.
  • Toronto missed Lowry (day-to-day) in a blowout loss in Orlando when they shot under 30% from the floor as a team, losing 116-87.
  • Lowry and his backup Fred VanVleet are day-to-day, so check the injury wire closer to tip.
  • The Bulls have three wins in their last five over some pretty bad teams, but they’re 5-13 since Thanksgiving.

Philadelphia 76ers (23-13) at Portland Trail Blazers (20-16)

Line: Warriors -4, O/U: 224

76ers: 115 ppg, above average defense, faster than average pace

Trail Blazers: 111 ppg, below average defense, slower than average pace


  • Joel Embiid is questionable with a sore left knee. He’s averaging 27 points and 13 boards this season. The Sixers would have to replace him by committee.
  • Philadelphia is 7-10 on the road, and the Blazers are 13-6 at home.
  • Both teams are up and down, a combined 11-9 in each of their last ten.
  • The Blazers dropped the second game of a home-at-home series with the Warriors last night in Portland by a score of 115-105.

Sacramento Kings (19-16) at Los Angeles Lakers (20-16)

Line: Kings -1, O/U: 232

Kings: 115 ppg, bottom ten defense, top five pace

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


  • It will be up to the Lakers’ young core of Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and Kyle Kuzma to produce with veteran leaders LeBron James and Rajon Rondo out for this one.
  • The Kings haven’t played since Thursday night when they beat the banged-up Lakers 117-116 behind 23 points and a buzzer-beating three by Bogdan Bogdanovic.
  • Five other Kings scored in double figures that game, but Buddy Hield was not one of them. He’s averaging 20 per game this year.
  • Kuzma and Ingram combined for 55 points but 11 turnovers and Lonzo Ball added 20 points, 12 dimes, and 9 rebounds.

Marquee Matchup

Oklahoma City Thunder (22-12) at Dallas Mavericks (16-18)

Line: Thunder -7, O/U: 224

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

Mavericks: 111 ppg, average defense, average pace.


  • Paul George should play after missing the last game with a bruised quad. He’s averaging 31 points on 51/46/86 efficiency in December, adding 10 rebounds and 4 assists.
  • The Mavericks are 1-7 in their last eight games. The only win was a close one over a struggling Pelicans squad, and New Orleans got revenge a few nights later.
  • Presumptive Rookie of the Year Luka Doncic scored 34 points in the game in New Orleans on Friday night, shooting 7-10 from three.
  • The Mavericks are 14-3 at home, but might be without DeAndre Jordan for this one.
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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