January 1,2019 at 7:00 PM
1/23/2019 7:00 PM
Pacers Host Raptors on Wednesday
The Indiana Pacers play host to the Toronto Raptors at Banker's Life Fieldhouse on Wednesday. The Raptors (36-13) are expected to be without Kawhi Leonard for this game, as this will mark his fourth-straight absence due to maintenance issues. That's a bizarre designation for a superstar player and it's even more discouraging considering the fact that he hasn't even played both ends of a back-to-back set yet this season. Playing it carefully with your superstar is not the worst idea though, as this team is well on its way to finishing with a top-two spot in the east. What makes it even more amazing is the fact that Toronto has won all three of those games without him, as they come into this matchup winning eight of their last nine games in total. This is actually one of the only clubs in the NBA who ranks top-10 in both points scored and points allowed, as that's obviously a recipe for success. The Pacers (31-15) have quietly turned into one of the best teams in the league this season, as they come into this matchup winning 18 of their last 23 games. There's one major reason why, as this defense continues to stifle their opponents. In fact, the Pacers allow the fewest points in the NBA this season and have been even better at home. What makes this team so dangerous is just how many weapons they possess, as anyone on this roster can go off on any given night. Victor Oladipo is obviously a stud but players like Darren Collison and Myles Turner are plenty capable too. Role players like Thaddeus Young and Bojan Bogdanovic complement those guys perfectly and it's made this team one of the most dangerous in the NBA. Toronto has dominated this series over recent years, winning five straight and nine of their last 11 games over Indiana. With that said, the two meetings this season were both played north of the border, as Indiana is 17-6 at home this year.
January 1,2019 at 7:30 PM
1/23/2019 7:30 PM
Celtics Host Cavaliers as Big Favorite
The Cleveland Cavaliers travel to Beantown to play the Boston Celtics at TD Garden on Wednesday. The Cavaliers (9-39) come into this matchup losing 16 of their last 17 games, as they now own the worst record in the NBA. It's no surprise when looking at the roster, as all of their best players are in the training room. Kevin Love, Larry Nance Jr. and Tristan Thompson are all sidelined right now and that doesn't even consider the fact that LeBron James and Kyrie Irving left town. Players like Collin Sexton. Ante Zizic and Jordan Clarkson are running the show, which is a bad sign for this team. While those players have shown improvement, it's simply not enough to compete with other NBA teams. The statistics speak for themselves too, with Cleveland ranking 28th in scoring and dead-last in defensive efficiency. That obviously won't get it done, as the losses are going to keep coming rapidly. The Celtics (29-18) come into this matchup winning four-straight games, as fans are hopeful this is the start of the run they've been waiting for. Everyone expected this team to be a shoo-in for the top seed in the Eastern Conference but they currently sit third. Teams like the Toronto Raptors and Milwaukee Bucks have overachieved but the Celtics have underachieved themselves. The good news is that they're only four games behind those teams, as a lengthier winning streak will get them right back into the running to land that top spot. There are things to be encouraged by with this team though, as they still rank top-five in both points allowed and defensive efficiency. That's the recipe Boston wants to follow and a little more offensive consistency will make them one of the scariest teams in the league. One problem that needs to get solved is to get everyone playing up to their potential, with players like Gordon Hayward and Terry Rozier struggling mightily. Those guys are too good to be this poor and better play from those two would make this team even more dangerous. These teams have traded off wins and losses in their last four matchups. With that said, Boston prevailed in their one meeting this season, 128-95, on November 30.
January 1,2019 at 7:30 PM
1/23/2019 7:30 PM
Clippers Head South to Tangle With Heat
The Los Angeles Clippers take on the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena on Wednesday night. The Clippers (25-22) come into Wednesday's game a reeling team, as they've dropped six of their last seven games. Their most recent stumble came Tuesday night, as they dropped a 106-98 decision to the Dallas Mavericks. Patrick Beverley led the way with 16 points, adding nine rebounds, three assists and one steal. Avery Bradley followed with 15 points, five boards and three assists. Lou Williams matched Bradley's scoring total and also supplied four assists and one rebound. Montrezl Harrell drew a second straight start and turned in 11 points, eight boards, three assists and one block. Tobias Harris mustered just nine points on 1-for-9 shooting. He also hauled in seven rebounds, dished out four assists and recorded a pair of blocks. The Clippers will continue to be without Danilo Gallinari (back) and Luc Mbah a Moute (knee) on Wednesday. The Heat (22-23) haven't been too much more consistent than their Wednesday opponent lately, as they'll come into the contest having dropped five of their last eight games. Their most recent defeat came at the hands of the Boston Celtics, which edged them by a 107-99 score on Monday night. Dion Waiters and Derrick Jones, Jr. generated matching 18-point tallies to lead Miami. Jones notably added nine rebounds. Bam Adebayo contributed 13 points, seven rebounds, two assists, two blocks and one steal. Josh Richardson managed 11 points, three assists, one rebound and four steals. Tyler Johnson and Justise Winslow supplied matching eight-point efforts. The Heat will be without Goran Dragic (knee) on Wednesday. Wednesday's game marks the second and final meeting between the teams this season. Miami holds a 1-0 series lead, having notched a 121-98 victory Dec. 8.
January 1,2019 at 7:30 PM
1/23/2019 7:30 PM
Nets Play Host to Magic on Wednesday
The Brooklyn Nets play host to the Orlando Magic at Barclay's Center on Wednesday. The Magic (20-27) come into this matchup losing seven of their last 10 games, as they are steadily falling out of playoff contention. What's really killing this team is their inefficient offense, with Orlando sitting 27th in points scored. That obviously won't get it done and it's a wonder how they're that bad with Nikola Vucevic playing the way he is. In fact, Vucevic is leading this team with 20.5 points and 12 rebounds per game, as he'd be a guaranteed all-star if his team were a little better. Aaron Gordon's status is a huge factor as well, as he comes into this game questionable due to a back issue. Losing an offensive piece like that is bad for any team, let alone one who already struggles on that end of the floor. The Nets (25-23) come into this matchup winning four-straight and eight of their last 10 games in total. That streak extends much longer than that too, with the Nets posting a 17-5 record across their last 22 games. That's the best stretch this franchise has had in a long time and it's a testament to how much they've grown. Players like D'Angelo Russell, Jarrett Allen and Spencer Dinwiddie have taken huge jumps this season and it's gotten this team back into contention. Russell has been the star of the show though, as he's averaging 23.6 points, 3.8 rebounds and 6.8 assists per game across his last 13 fixtures. That includes an absolute dud against the Celtics too, as he's playing the best basketball of his career right now. The return of Caris LeVert is exciting too, as he was the Nets best player in the opening month of the season. When he eventually returns from his ankle issue, this club will finally be at full strength, which is a scary sight for opponents with all the young pieces they possess. These teams played last week in Orlando, with Brooklyn prevailing, 117-115. That was a meltdown for the Magic, as Brooklyn outscored them, 31-20 in the fourth quarter. D'Angelo Russell matched his career-high with 40 points in that victory.
January 1,2019 at 7:30 PM
1/23/2019 7:30 PM
Rockets Head to Big Apple to Tangle With Knicks
The Houston Rockets take on the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night. The Rockets (26-20) have had some trouble achieving consistency lately, as they've only managed a 5-5 record over their last 10 games. Houston's most recent defeat was a sizable one, as they dropped a 121-93 decision to the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday night. James Harden was the only player to seemingly show up for the Rockets, as he managed 37 points, six rebounds, three assists, two blocks and one steal. Gerald Green followed with a bench-leading 18 points, adding a pair of rebounds and assists apiece. Kenneth Faried enjoyed a successful debut with 13 points and six rebounds. No other player scored in double digits, and Eric Gordon registered just eight points on 2-for-13 shooting. The Rockets will be without Chris Paul (hamstring), Brandon Knight (knee) and Clint Capela (thumb) on Wednesday. The Knicks (10-35) come into Wednesday's game as losers of six straight, and 14 of their last 15 overall. Their most recent in a long line of defeats unfolded Monday, as they suffered a 127-109 walloping at the hands of the Oklahoma City Thunder. Tim Hardaway, Jr. paced the Knicks with 23 points, supplementing them with three assists, two rebounds and one steal. Allonzo Trier followed with 16 points and also pitched in eight assists, six rebounds and two steals. Emmanuel Mudiay poured in 14 points. Enes Kanter posted 11 points, three rebounds and one assist. Noah Vonleh delivered 10 points, five rebounds, one assist and one steal. The Knicks will be without Luke Kornet (ankle) on Wednesday, with his injury having occurred during Monday's game. Wednesday's game marks the first of two meetings between the teams this season. Houston swept the two-game series during the 2017-18 campaign.
January 1,2019 at 8:00 PM
1/23/2019 8:00 PM
Pistons, Pelicans Clash in New Orleans
The Detroit Pistons will visit the New Orleans Pelicans at Smoothie King Arena on Wednesday evening. After what looked like a promising start to the season, Detroit (20-26) has gone just 7-18 over its last 25 games. The Pistons enter Wednesday's game having lost two straight, including an 87-101 blowout at the hands of the Washington Wizards. Simply put, the Pistons lack offensive firepower. The team ranks 25th in the league in scoring, 29th in field goal percentage, and 30th in three-point percentage. All that comes despite a career year from All-Star forward Blake Griffin, who is scoring nearly a quarter of the team's points at 26.0 points per game. Griffin's efforts have not been enough to bolster the performance of a Pistons team where no player is shooting 50 percent from the field. The Pistons may be without All-Star center Andre Drummond, who is day-to-day after missing Monday's game with a concussion. New Orleans (22-25), meanwhile, is in dire straits of its own. Though the team recently blew out the hapless Grizzlies, 105-85, the Pelicans are currently without their star player. Anthony Davis went out with a sprained finger last week, and now reports indicate that the injury may be worse than originally feared. Davis is expected to meet with a specialist to potentially diagnose a fracture. Should the diagnosis be confirmed, he could miss an additional 2-4 weeks. This would put the Pelicans in a tough spot, as Davis is currently averaging 29.3 points, 13.3 rebounds, and 2.6 blocks per game. However, the Pelicans saw reassuring play from their healthy big men in their recent win, as Julius Randle and Jahlil Okafor combined for 40 points and 22 rebounds. Anthony Davis (finger) is the lone injury for the Pelicans.
January 1,2019 at 8:00 PM
1/23/2019 8:00 PM
United Center Hosts Hawks and Bulls
The Atlanta Hawks (14-32) have lost three of their last four games, and spent Monday night on the wrong end of a 122-103 home court loss to the Orlando Magic. Dewayne Dedmon emerged as the leading scorer in the affair, finishing with 24 points and nine rebounds to come a hair shy of a double-double, going 8-of-14 from the field and 5-of-7 from beyond the arc. Trae Young came away with 21 points and six assists to his credit, making all but one of his shot attempts from the charity stripe, while John Collins grabbed 10 boards to add to his 16-point outing. Jeremy Lin had 15 points and a pair of dimes off the bench for a Hawks team that remains mired in 12th place in the Eastern Conference. The Hawks have the dubious distinction of owning the worst defense in the league, one that allows opponents a nightly average of 117.8 points. Wednesday marks the first of a gruelling seven-game road trip for Atlanta. The Chicago Bulls (11-36) snapped a brutal 10-game losing streak on Monday night on the road against the worst team in the NBA, dropping the Cleveland Cavaliers, 104-88. In what was only their sixth road victory of the season, Chicago was led offensively by Zach LaVine's 25 points, thanks to three triples and 9-of-16 shooting from the paint. Sophomore Lauri Markkanen and Kris Dunn delivered 13 points apiece for the Bulls, with the former hauling in eight rebounds and the latter facilitating nine assists in a 5-of-10 night from field goal range. Bobby Portis posted 15 points and went 3-of-6 from downtown in a reserve role as the Bulls leapfrog the New York Knicks for 13th place in the East. The Bulls were deadly from long range in the win, where they drained a collective 15-of-30. The Bulls and Cavs meet again this Sunday at United Center.
January 1,2019 at 8:00 PM
1/23/2019 8:00 PM
Spurs Head East For Battle with 76ers
The San Antonio Spurs take on the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center on Wednesday evening. The Spurs (27-21) have displayed a bit of inconsistency of late, as they've dropped four of their last seven contests, following a five-game winning streak. San Antonio's latest stumble came at the hands of the Los Angeles Clippers, which toppled them by a 103-95 score on Sunday night. LaMarcus Aldridge led the Spurs with 30 points and 14 rebounds, adding two assists and two blocks. Rudy Gay delivered 19 points, eight rebounds, one assist and one block. Marco Belinelli poured in 12 points to lead the bench. Derrick White filled out the stat sheet with nine points, five rebounds, four assists, two steals and one block. DeMar DeRozan mustered only eight points on 4-for-16 shooting. The Spurs will be without Davis Bertans (personal) for Wednesday's game. The 76ers (31-17) check in as a much hotter team than their Wednesday opponent, as they've won four of their past five games. Their most recent success was particularly impressive, as they dismantled the Houston Rockets by a 121-93 score on Monday night. Joel Embiid led the way with 32 points, adding 14 rebounds, three blocks, two steals and two assists. Landry Shamet added 18 points. J.J. Redick tallied 16 points, two rebounds, two steals, one assist and one block. T.J. McConnell supplied 12 points, while Corey Brewer registered 11 points, three rebounds, one assist, two steals and two blocks. The 76ers have two highly notable names on Wednesday's injury report -- Ben Simmons is questionable with an illness, while Jimmy Butler shares the same designation due to a wrist injury. Markelle Fultz (shoulder), Zhaire Smith (foot) and Justin Patton (foot) are all out. Wednesday's game marks the second and final meeting between the teams this season. The Spurs hold a 1-0 series lead, having notched a 123-96 win Dec. 17.
January 1,2019 at 8:00 PM
1/23/2019 8:00 PM
FedEx Forum Site for Hornets and Grizzlies
The Charlotte Hornets (22-24) saw their three-game winning streak come to an end on Sunday, as they got manhandled on the road by the Indiana Pacers, 120-95. Kemba Walker lifted the team offensively, as always, behind 23 points, seven assists and four rebounds, going 8-of-18 from field goal range and 3-of-9 from beyond the arc. Bismack Biyombo finished with 10 points and 12 rebounds en route to a double-double, shooting 4-of-5 from the foul line, while Jeremy Lamb put up 10 points of his own, adding five boards, but shaky from the field with 4-of-13 production. Malik Monk scored 11 points and a pair of three-pointers coming off the pine as Charlotte remains well-positioned in the East, where they sit in eighth place, two games clear of the ninth place Detroit Pistons. Monday saw the Memphis Grizzlies (22-25) drop their sixth straight contest, as they now sit in 14th place in the Western Conference following their 105-85 drubbing by the visiting New Orleans Pelicans. The Grizzlies were dominated on both ends of the floor, despite the best efforts of Marc Gasol, who finished with a team-high 22 points and eight rebounds, as the veteran added six assists and went 9-of-19 from field goal range. Mike Conley dropped 20 points and dished out eight assists, draining 3-of-9 from long range, while Jaren Jackson, Jr. scored 14 points and a pair of rebounds. Those were the only highlights for a reeling Memphis outfit that ranks last in the league in scoring, averaging only 100.6 points per game. Wednesday marks the second of a five-game home stand for Memphis, where they own a .500 record this season.
January 1,2019 at 10:30 PM
1/23/2019 10:30 PM
Nuggets, Jazz Face Off in Utah
The Denver Nuggets will visit the Utah Jazz at Vivint Smart Home Arena on Wednesday. Denver (31-14) is coming off consecutive blowouts of the Eastern Conference's bottom-two teams, taking down the Chicago Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers by a combined margin of 52 points. The Nuggets have remained among the NBA's elite despite ceding the top spot in the Western Conference to Golden State. Denver has won 10 of its last 13 games and is on a roll thus far in January, thanks largely to the MVP-caliber play of Nikola Jokic. Jokic is currently averaging 24.6 points, 10.9 rebounds, and 8.5 assists since the start of the new year. He had a big night the last time these two teams met, dishing out 16 assists while grabbing 10 rebounds. The Nuggets face a bevy of injuries, as Michael Porter Jr. (back) and Isaiah Thomas (hip) remain out, while Juancho Hernangomez (ankle) and Jared Vanderbilt (foot) are each game-time decisions. Utah (26-22) took a drubbing at the hands of the Nuggets in early November, losing 88-103. The Jazz hardly look like the same team that showed up to Pepsi Center in November, though, as they have become one of the league's toughest opponents since the start of the new year. Utah is 8-2 in its last 10 games and recently had a six-game win streak snapped by an equally-hot Trail Blazers team. As one may expect at this point, the Jazz's success has started on the defensive end, where the team ranks first in the league in defensive rating since the start of December. Reigning Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert is continuing to make his presence known, blocking 2.1 shots and grabbing 13.1 rebounds per game. The Jazz will look to even the season series and continue their solid January campaign on Wednesday. Utah also sports a long injury report, as Dante Exum (ankle), Raul Neto (groin), Tony Bradley (knee), and Thabo Sefalosha (hamstring) are all out for Wednesday's tilt.