Daily Zap: April 15


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NUGGETS AT CLIPPERS, 10:30 P.M. ET

TV: TNT

  • Prior to the opening tip tonight at Staples Center, coach Doc Rivers said that Danny Granger will likely be back with the Clippers at practice Thursday. Calf and hamstring problems have forced him to miss seven consecutive games. Still, signs point to Granger being ready for the upcoming playoffs.
  • J.J. Redick will be in the starting lineup for the Clippers against the Nuggets. However, he will not play in the regular season finale Wednesday at Portland. The thought here appears to be that the additional rest might do Redick some good after his struggles with various injuries earlier this season.
  • Wilson Chandler is expected to uniform tonight for Denver. A groin injury had him on the bench for 10 straight games until his return during Saturday’s 101-84 victory against Utah. He scored nine points in 20-plus minutes. It’s reasonable to expect that Chandler’s minutes will be closely monitored.
  • Darrell Arthur traveled with the Nuggets and is listed as probable for the game against the Clippers. In his last outing, this past weekend against the Jazz, Arthur was limited and only played two minutes due to a knee strain/contusion. Thus, the training staff is taking precautionary measures with him.

– Sean Ceglinsky

KNICKS AT NETS, 8 P.M. ET

TV: TNT

 

  • Shaun Livingston (sore abdominal) and Alan Anderson (sprained right big toe) will not play for the Nets. Mirza Teletovic, whose wife recently gave birth to twins, will not be with the team tonight or tomorrow in Cleveland.
  • Due to lineup permutations, Andrei Kirilenko will start for the third straight game. Despite going to a bigger lineup, Nets coach Jason Kidd said, “We don’t want to change the way we play.”
  • Carmelo Anthony, who had an MRI on the torn labrum in his right shoulder, will not play for the Knicks. Amar’e Stoudemire will play despite whispers to the contrary.
  •  Injured Nets center Brook Lopez, still in a walking boot, did some very light shooting on the court before the game.

Jake Appleman

Daily Zap: April 14


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TIMBERWOLVES AT WARRIORS, 10:30 P.M. ET

TV: NBA TV

  • Two games from a probable playoff matchup with the LA Clippers, the Warriors have suffered yet another injury blow, and it has the potential to be a huge one: center Andrew Bogut fractured his fifth rib on his right side in the fourth quarter of Golden State’s 119-117 overtime loss to Portland on Sunday and is out indefinitely. Bogut is one of the centerpieces of the Warriors’ third-ranked defense, and the chances of a return in time for the start of the playoffs seems remote at best.
  • Bogut said he initially felt pain in the area during the Warriors’ 100-99 win against Denver on Thursday, then again Friday against the Lakers in Los Angeles. X-rays taken after the Trail Blazers game confirmed the break. “I got hit perfectly in that spot again, and it fractured,” said Bogut, who took a painkilling injection before facing Portland. “I can’t take deep breaths or yawn right now. Even driving the car is a little tough. . . . Any vibrations, coughing, sneezing, hurts. Obviously, I’ve got to be careful because if it cracks, I’m looking at a punctured lung.”
  • Without Bogut and forward Andre Iguodala, who will rest on the second half of a back-to-back, Golden State will start Jermaine O’Neal, David Lee, Harrison Barnes, Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry, according to coach Mark Jackson.
  • Golden State will clinch the No. 6 spot in the Western Conference playoffs with a victory tonight or Wednesday in Denver. Jackson has already said that he will likely rest players if he is locked into a specific slot before the regular season ends, so a victory tonight could earn some rest for his starters.
  • For the Timberwolves, Ronny Turiaf is considered doubtful with a sore right knee. “Everybody else, I think, is playing,” coach Rick Adelman said.

– Geoff Lepper

Grizzlies at Suns, 10 p.m. ET

 

TV: League Pass

  •  The Memphis Grizzlies can wrap up a playoff spot with a win over the Phoenix Suns in Arizona tonight. The Grizzlies are 3-0 vs. the Suns this season even though big man Marc Gasol has missed all three for the Grizzlies. “Thank God Marc Gasol is playing,” Suns coach Jeff Hornacek joked.
  • All the Grizzlies regulars are available. Same for the Suns, though star guard Goran Dragic is playing with a sore ankle that he called about “35 to 40 percent” in a loss Saturday at Dallas. “It’s not a whole lot better” tonight, Hornacek said of Dragic’s ankle.
  • The Grizzlies still have a shot at the No. 7 seed. They need wins tonight and a win over Dallas to close the season.
  • The Suns are coming off come-from-ahead losses at San Antonio and Dallas over the weekend. A win in either game would have allowed them to clinch the playoffs by winning their final two games (tonight and at Sacramento Wednesday). Now they will need to win both those games and hope Dallas wins at Memphis Wednesday, even though the Mavericks may be resting their main players. The bigger disappointment for the Suns was the loss at San Antonio, where they led 35-14 early.
  • Only three teams have ever missed the playoffs when winning 48-plus games. Two have been Suns’ teams (49 in 1971-72 and 48 in 1970-71). The other was Golden State (48 in 2007-08).

– Mike Tulumello

 

 

 

 

 

LAKERS AT JAZZ, 9 P.M. ET

TV: League Pass

  • The Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Lakers find themselves in an unfamiliar situation for tonight’s game. The perennial playoff clubs are the two worst teams in the Western Conference, and both fan bases may be rooting for their opponent to win to improve their own team’s lottery positioning. But the two teams look at these late-season games in a different way than a fan’s perspective, according to Los Angeles coach Mike D’Antoni. “We want to win,” D’Antoni said. “It would be unprofessional to not try to do it. It’s not right for these guys. Hopefully we’ll compete and hopefully we’ll get it.”
  • The injury-riddled Lakers, losers of seven straight, will have nine players available for tonight. They may only use eight as MarShon Brooks has had two DNP-CD’s in a row. Los Angeles will start Wesley Johnson, Ryan Kelly, Jordan Hill, Jodie Meeks and Kendall Marshall.
  • The Jazz, losers for four straight and 20 of their last 23, won’t be at full strength either. Marvin Williams, who has started in 50 games this season, will miss his third straight game with a left knee bone bruise. For the third straight game they’ll start their five core young guys — Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter, Gordon Hayward, Alec Burks and Trey Burke.
  • This is Utah’s final home game, which means it could be the last time Tyrone Corbin coaches the Jazz in this building. He is in the final year of his contract and there’s no word from the Jazz whether he’ll be back next season. Corbin said that’s not on his mind. “I’m not even thinking about it,” he said.
  • Corbin seemed to be confident that he’ll return next season. In response to a question about the Jazz missing the playoffs along with the Lakers and franchises such as the Boston Celtics and New York Knicks, he looked ahead. “It’s a difficult situation,” Corbin said. “If you’re a competitor, you like to win. Guys are jockeying themselves for playoff position and getting ready for the playoffs and we’re getting ready to go home after a couple games. That’s not fun. But you understand where you are and we’ll continue to develop and hopefully sooner rather than later you’ll be fighting for one of those spots.”
  • It’s also uncertain if D’Antoni will be back next season. These are the thoughts he had in regards to his future: “Thursday we have exit meetings,” he said. “And then I got Easter coming up and then I’ll do that. After that, we’ll see what happens.”
  • D’Antoni was questioned in pregame how he maintains his sanity during the tough season the Lakers have endured. He made light of it, and then noted his appreciation for his players. “What sanity?” D’Antoni asked. “I sound like a broken record, but these guys are good guys. We just come to work every day and try to do our best. We try to give them the best we can give them — don’t worry about the noise and it is what it is. Their job is to play as hard as they can and our job is to coach as hard as we can.”

Andrew Aragon

MAGIC AT BULLS, 8 P.M. ET

TV: League Pass

  • The Bulls will be either the third or fourth seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs, but head coach Tom Thibodeau won’t alter the game plan with potential matchups in mind. “When you start doing that, you get yourself into trouble,” he said. “Oftentimes in the regular  season, there are lot of things that go into it. Sometimes the team you’re matched up with has some injuries or they’re in the midst of four (games) in five (days). You just never know. The important thing is to go step by step, do all the necessary things that go into winning (going) forward and concentrate on improvement. In the end, you’re not going to sneak around people. To be successful, you have to go through people.” Guard D.J. Augustin wasn’t expected to play because of what was said to be a personal reason.
  • Even though the Bulls were playoff-bound despite the extended absence of Derrick Rose, its most celebrated player, Thibodeau didn’t believe he was worthy of serious consideration for Coach of the Year honors. Rather, he said the willingness of his players to accept their roles and buy into the team concept was the primary reason for their success. “They’re not worried about who’s the leading scorer,” he said. “Every night it’s someone different. I love the fact that, on most nights, we have seven players (score) in double figures. Guys have made a commitment to play team defense and team offense. When you have that, anything is possible.”
  • The Bulls signed forward Greg Smith for the remainder of the season. In 11 games, the Fresno State product averaged 3.5 points and 2.5 rebounds per game for the Houston Rockets this season, his third with the team. “When he was healthy, he played very well,” Thibodeau said. “We’re fortunate to be able to pick him up.”
  • From an experience standpoint alone, Magic head coach Jacque Vaughn welcomed the chance for his young team to close the regular season against two teams that had something at stake in terms in the playoff order. “The ability of our guys to be prepared and ready to play a game of basketball is important,” he said. The last-place Magic will host the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night.

– Paul Ladewski 

Bobcats At Hawks, 7:30 p.m. ET

TV: League Pass

  • With the Hawks having secured the No. 8 playoff spot in the East, head coach Mike Budenholzer will rest starters Paul Millsap, Kyle Korver and DeMarre Carroll Monday night when the Bobcats visit for Atlanta’s final home game of the regular season. Korver has been bothered by back issues, and Millsap and Carroll have had hand problems. Mike Scott, Louis Williams, and Cartier Martin will start at power forward, shooting guard and small forward, respectively.
  • Pero Antic, who has been slowed by a sprained right ankle, will start at center for Atlanta after missing two of the previous three games.
  • Charlotte guard Kemba Walker will return to the starting lineup for the Bobcats after missing two games with a groin strain. The Bobcats (41-39) are currently in the No. 7 spot in the East, but can still catch the Wizards (42-38) for No. 6.
  • The Bobcats have won six of their past seven games, but have lost 11 straight to Atlanta.
  • Jeff Teague was named the NBA’s Player of the Week in the Eastern Conference after averaging 20.3 points, 5.8 assists and 1.75 steals in four games. Budenholzer said, “I told him to get back on defense.”
  • Budenholzer said he has not decided who will play or how much for Atlanta in Wednesday’s regular-season finale at Milwaukee.
  • Hawks new co-owner Steve Koonin is at Philips Arena for the Bobcats game. He is the president of Turner Entertainment Networks, and will also be Chief Executive Officer of the Hawks.

– Matt Winkeljohn

THUNDER AT PELICANS, 8 p.m. ET

TV: League Pass

  • The Pelicans (32-48) will have only 10 players available for their penultimate game of the season as Brian Roberts is set to sit out with a left ankle injury. This will give second-year guard Austin Rivers another chance to handle the ball at the point. Guard Tyreke Evans will play after coach Monty Williams leaning towards him not being available during pre-game. Evans sat out Saturday’s loss to Houston with a right knee bone bruise, but will start tonight.
  • New Orleans released center Greg Stiemsma and signed Melvin Ely on Monday. The move was less performance-based and more depth-based. Stiemsma has had “He had a really tough time with his knees this year,” Williams said of Stiemsma. “There would be days he’d be really good. And there would be days where he would be like, ‘Coach, I’m hurting a little bit.’ ”
  • Oklahoma City (58-22) will be without Russell Westbrook tonight as he sits to get some rest before the playoffs. Guard Reggie Jackson will get the start, coach Scott Brooks said. Westbrook is 21.8 points, 6.9 assists and 5.7 rebounds per game. Jackson has played in 78 games, starting 35, and is averaging 13.2 points, 4.2 assists and 3.9 rebounds this season.
  • The Thunder are one win away from earning a No. 2 seed with two games to play. If they don’t win tonight against New Orleans, they’ll have one more shot on Wednesday against Detroit. While Brooks said the team understands it could be sewn up tonight, he doesn’t expect them to feel the pressure of it. “Our guys understand that we need this game tonight, but it’s no different than any other game,” Brooks said. “We want to win them all. That’s how we approached this season from the start.”

– Bradley Handwerger