NBA Projected Starting Lineups, Matchups, Injury News – 12/31/18

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Injury News

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Celtics: Robert Williams III (quad) is out.

Grizzlies: Joakim Noah (heel) and Garrett Temple are probable.

Hawks: Kent Bazemore (ankle) is out. Dewayne Dedmon (knee) is doubtful. Justin Anderson (illness) is probable.

Hornets: None

Magic: DJ Augustin (ankle) and Jonathon Simmons (ankle) are questionable.

Mavericks: Wesley Matthews (foot) is day to day.

Pacers: None

Pelicans: Nikola Mirotic (ankle) is out. Elfrid Payton (finger) is probable. Cheick Diallo (ankle) is questionable.

Rockets: Eric Gordon (knee) is out.

Spurs: Rudy Gay (wrist) is questionable.

Suns: Devin Booker (back) is questionable.

Timberwolves: Jeff Teague (ankle) is out. Derrick Rose (ankle) is day-to-day.

Thunder: Terrance Ferguson (illness) and Alex Abrines (illness) are day-to-day.

Warriors: None

Today’s NBA Matchups

Atlanta Hawks (11-24) at Indiana Pacers (20-11) 

Line: Pacers -12, O/U: 221

Pacers: 107 ppg, second-ranked defense, bottom-five pace

Hawks: 109.5 ppg, bottom-five defense, fastest pace in NBA

Notes:

  • The Hawks are bad on the road and the Pacers are great at home, which is just a logical extension of “the Pacers are good and the Hawks are bad.”
  • Atlanta has won four of their last five picking on struggling teams, beating the Knicks, Pistons, Cavs, and Timberwolves in overtime.
  • The Pacers have won four in a row, including a 129-121 win over these Hawks when they played on the 26th.
  • Kent Bazemore is out for Atlanta, so it’s Vince Carter time.

 Orlando Magic (16-19) at Charlotte Hornets (17-18)

Line: Hornets -7.5, O/U: 211

Magic: 104 ppg, average defense, slow pace

Hornets: 113 ppg, average pace, average defense

Notes:

  • The Magic have been streaking up and down in December, most recently blowing out the Lowry-less Raptors and then beating Detroit last night by a bucket.
  • Nikola Vucevic is averaging 20 points and 14 boards in his last five after missing a game for the birth of his child.
  • DJ Augustin is questionable after tweaking his ankle last night.
  • Kemba Walker is averaging 31 per game in his last five, including 47 in an embarrassing loss to a Wizards team without John Wall.

Memphis Grizzlies (16-14) at Houston Rockets(15-14)

Line: Houston -4.5, O/U: 201

Rockets: 110 ppg, bottom-five defense, bottom-five pace

Grizzlies: 102 ppg, sixth-ranked defense, slowest pace in the NBA

Notes:

  • James Harden is averaging 39 points, 8 dimes and 6 boards over his last ten games.
  • On a related note, the Rockets are 9-1 in those games.
  • Eric Gordon will miss this one, and Austin Rivers will slide into the starting lineup.
  • The Grizzlies will need a big game on both ends from Mike Conley to have a chance in this one.

Minnesota Timberwolves (17-19) at New Orleans Pelicans (16-21)

Line: Pelicans -5.5, O/U: 231

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

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

Notes:

  • The Pelicans have won just two games in their last nine by six points combined. Anthony Davis averaged 46 points and 17.5 rebounds in those games.
  • New Orleans is 12-6 at home, and the Timberwolves are 5-13 on the road.
  • Karl-Anthony Towns led Minnesota to a 113-104 win over a surging Miami team last night, dropping 34 points, 18 boards, and 7 assists.
  • Jeff Teague is out again, and Derrick Rose is day-to-day after missing last night’s game. Tyus Jones had 12 points, 5 assists, and 5 steals in the starting lineup.

Dallas Mavericks (17-18) at Oklahoma City Thunder (22-13)

Line: Thunder -8, O/U: 223

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

Mavericks: 111 ppg, average defense, average pace

Notes:

  • These teams played last night in Dallas, with the Mavs coming out on top 105-103.
  • Paul George had 36 points, but Russell Westbrook shot just 4-22 from the field in a 9 point, 9 rebound, 8 assist, 6 steal performance.
  • Luka Doncic scored 25 and added 7 assists, which is about what he’s averaging over the last ten games.
  • The Mavericks are 2-15 on the road, and the Thunder are 12-4 at home.

Golden State Warriors (24-13) at Phoenix Suns (9-28)

Line: Warriors -10.5, O/U: 228

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

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

Notes:

  • Devin Booker is averaging 30 points and 8 assists since returning to the court earlier in December, but he’s listed as questionable for this one with a bruised back.
  • The Suns are the worst team out west by a wide margin, but they’re 5-5 in their last ten.
  • Steph Curry is averaging 28 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists since returning to the floor at the beginning of December, hitting a league-leading 5 treys per game on the season.
  • Klay Thompson is shooting just 39% from the floor in his last ten but dropped 32 in their most recent win over the Blazers.

Marquee Matchup

Boston Celtics (21-14) at San Antonio Spurs (20-17)

Line: Even, O/U: 218

Spurs: 111 ppg, below average defense, slow pace

Celtics: 112 ppg, top five defense, slower than average pace

Notes:

  • The Spurs’ turnaround has been nothing short of remarkable. They’re now 9-3 in their last 12, playing elite defense and shooting the lights out over that stretch.
  • LaMarcus Aldridge had his best game of the year on the second night of a back to back in LA, dropping 38 points and 7 boards while playing some of the best defense of his career.
  • The Celtics had won eight straight, but have dropped four of their last seven since. They’re back to just about full strength though, and their depth is their best asset.
  • Kyrie Irving is averaging 27 points, 7 assists and 6 boards over his last ten games.
  • Rudy Gay has been a major contributor on both ends for San Antonio, and he’s a game-time decision. We might see more of the most accurate three-point shooter in the league, Davis Bertans.
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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