TV: League Pass
- The Warriors might be back to looking for backup point-guard solutions. Rookie Nemanja Nedovic, who finally grabbed the role in the last five games with Toney Douglas (stress reaction, left tibia) and Andre Iguodala (strained left hamstring) sidelined, tweaked an ankle in pregame warmups. Golden State coach Mark Jackson said Nedovic stepped on a defender’s foot and came down wrong on the ankle, but called the Serbian product “probable, probably,” for tonight.
- Warriors guard Stephen Curry ranks ninth in the league in scoring, and Toronto coach Dwane Casey sounds like he’s willing to concede those 22.3 points per game to focus his team’s defensive energy elsewhere. “Klay Thompson is the key,” Casey said. “Steph Curry, there’s not one man in this league that’s going to stop him. You might slow him down a little bit with blitzes and some different things, but Klay Thompson’s the key. He’s the guy, if he has a big night, they’re a very, very dangerous team.”
- Casey may be onto something: Thompson’s shooting during victories (55.9 percent overall, 58.4 percent on 3-pointers) is starkly different from his numbers in defeats (39.0, 31.5).
- Toronto forward Rudy Gay hung 26 points on the Warriors in these teams’ most recent matchup, on March 4, a fact that Jackson has brought to the attention of Golden State forward Harrison Barnes, who was burned for many of them. “As a coach, you push buttons and try to get guys going,” Jackson said. “Harrison’s a guy with tremendous pride. . . . Harrison remembers those things. He doesn’t forget. It’s just fun to needle them every now and then and get a reaction.”
- Jacks0n evinced some strong feelings on the breakup between Nets coach Jason Kidd and lead assistant Lawrence Frank, who was demoted by the first-year head coach little more than a month into the season. “I don’t know what happened,” Jackson said. “I do see the reports of a difference in philosophies. If that’s true, that’s trash, to me. Because there’s one philosophy, and that’s the head coach. . . . You win, it’s Jason Kidd. You lose, it’s Jason Kidd. When you talk about a difference in philosophy, that just leaves a bad taste in my mouth. That staff should have the same philosophy as Jason Kidd, win, lose or draw.”
– Geoff Lepper
TV: League Pass
- DeMarcus Cousins is a late scratch for the Kings with a sprained ankle and is inactive for tonight’s game.
- The Kings (4-11) look to snap a four-game losing streak against the red-hot Thunder (12-3) tonight at Sleep Train Arena. The Thunder are riding a seven-game winning streak and have beaten the Kings six straight times overall.
- Ben McLemore was named the Western Conference Rookie of the Month early today. “It means a lot to win Rookie of the Month. I worked really hard just trying to get better each and every day trying to improve my game,” McLemore said.
- “(I’m) very proud. We needed some good news around here. So that’s a much needed break for the Kings and more importantly, for Ben McLemore.” –Sacramento coach Michael Malone on McLemore being named Rookie of the Month
- “Russell Westbrook by himself is a one-man break. A tremendous athlete. We can’t allow our turnovers, our poor shot selection or our poor execution fuel their break. So we have to be great on offense tonight to hopefully slow them down, but if we cannot get back and set our defense, then we will have no chance against this team.” –Malone on tonight’s match-up against the Thunder
- The Thunder sent 2013 first round pick Andre Roberson down to the Tulsa 66ers of the NBA Development League earlier this week. “It’s going to give him an opportunity to have some good quality practice time and some game time,” coach Scott Brooks said. “He’s not in the rotation right now. He’s a guy that we love”
– James Ham
TV: League Pass
- Tonight’s matchup will feature one of the league’s top offensive squads, Dallas, pitted against the third-ranked Bobcats defense, which is holding opponents to just 91.8 points per game. The Mavericks have faced three clubs ranked in the top 10 in defense so far in 2013-14 — Miami, Memphis and Milwaukee — and is averaging 103 points per game in those contests. Charlotte has played three games against units ranked in the top 10 in offense — two against Miami and one against New Orleans — and is allowing 100.3 points per game in such contests.
- Jose Calderon (bruised right ankle) took part in the team’s morning shootaround and is officially listed as a game-time decision. “He’s trying, seeing how it will go … 50-50 probably,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlise said. If Calderon can not suit up, rookies Gal Mekel and Shane Larkin will see an uptick in minutes.
- The Bobcats will be playing their 13th game in 23 days, a stretch that has worn on the players as well as coach Steve Clifford. “I know that 13 in 23, I’m tired. Our guys have done a good job,” he said. ”There have been a couple of disappointing nights at home where we’ve had stretches, but for the most part to be where we are at, playing the schedule that we’ve played, you have to feel good about what we’ve done so far.”
- Dallas has never lost to the Bobcats at home (9-0) and holds a 16-1 advantage in the all-time series.
- Al Jefferson has missed nine of the Bobcats’ first 18 games but is starting to round into form, averaging 17.6 points, 8.9 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in his last five games. Dallas has struggled to defend the basket early in the season, allowing 43.6 points per game in the paint, the seventh worst total in the league.
– Micah Powell
TV: League Pass
- Heat guard Dwyane Wade will not play because of knee soreness. This marks the fourth game Wade has missed this season. Coach Erik Spoelstra said, “He was a little bit sore after last game so we’ve been working with him and decided that tonight probably would be good to rest.”
- Swingman James Jones will start in place of Wade. Jones has averaged 12 points in the two games he’s replaced Wade in the starting lineup.
- Miami guard Roger Mason Jr. did not speak to reporters about being robbed at a local restaurant Sunday night. Mason was robbed of a Rolex watch while his sister’s purse was stolen. The items were eventually recovered by police, with two suspects arrested. Mason declined comment because of the ongoing investigation.
- Will Bynum and Chauncey Billups are inactive for the Pistons.
- Pistons center Andre Drummond has 12 double-doubles this season.
– Zachary Paul
TV: League Pass
- Grizzlies’ forward Zach Randolph plans to test out his injured toe before tonight’s game against Phoenix, before deciding if he’ll play. But coach Dave Joerger isn’t counting on his All-Star forward to be in the lineup. Randolph, the team’s second-leading scorer and top rebounder, missed Saturday’s game after having an ingrown toenail removed earlier that day. His absence leaves the Grizzlies without their two dominant post players with center Marc Gasol sidelined with a sprained left MCL. “It’s something that really painful,” Joerger said of Randolph. “We’re in a weather-the-storm mode. We’re going to go out and fight as hard as we can. It’s going to be rocky for a long time. We’ve just got to go out night-to-night and just fight, try to defend, try to stay in games.”
- Phoenix coach Jeff Hornacek said Eric Bledsoe will start alongside Goran Dragic in the backcourt tonight, leaving Gerald Green to come off the bench. “Gerald’s kind of an energy guy for us,” Hornacek said. “When he comes off the bench, he gives us a big lift. When Eric and Goran are in the game, hopefully, we’re getting up and down and putting some pressure on the other team that way. We’ve been going back and forth all year because of injuries with Eric and Goran. It’d be nice to see if this settles in.”
- Phoenix center Alex Len will not play as he continues to nurse a sore left ankle, Hornacek said.
- After losing their last game at home against Utah, the Suns are hoping to take advantage of the short-handed Grizzlies. “We need to try to get a win,” Hornacek said. “We’ve got to try to bounce back from a loss. Obviously, when Marc and Zach are on there, that’s such a big duo down there. They work that high-low very well. That’ll help us if one of them is not there. But other guys always seem to step it up when guys are out. We’ve to play and play our game.”
– By Marlon W. Morgan
TV: League Pass
- Tonight marks the third time this season the Bucks will face off with the Celtics. Two of Milwaukee’s three wins have come against Boston, including one on Saturday night. The Bucks defeated the Celtics 92-85 in Milwaukee to snap a 11-game losing streak.
- Bucks’ coach Larry Drew spoke fondly about the challenge of matching up with the same opponent in back-to-back games prior to tonight’s contest. “I like playing games like this. I like it a lot. It becomes kind of a chess match. Thinking of what they may do, them thinking of what we may do, you get into the game and chances are within the first few minutes of the game, adjustments will need to be made,” Drew explained.
- Ersan Ilyasova will be active tonight for the Bucks, but will come off the bench. The power forward missed Saturday’s win against the Celtics with a sore left hamstring. Caron Butler (knee) remains out.
- Courtney Lee is expected to be available off the bench for Brad Stevens tonight, after missing Boston’s past two contests with a sprained left knee. Kelly Olynyk remains sidelined indefinitely with a sprained right ankle.
- Despite the whispers of the Celtics tanking this season after trading away Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett this offseason, Boston remains just a half-game behind the Raptors for the Atlantic Division lead. Jared Sullinger had a strong message for fans hoping the team struggles in the standings to improve for the draft. ”Lot of guys expect us to just like tank for [Jabari] Parker or [Andrew] Wiggins,” Sullinger continued. “Y’all might as well throw that out the door. I don’t know why people keep talking about tanking. We’ve got competitors around here, we’re not really like that. We don’t care if Jeff [Green] averages 20 [points per game] or I average 8, we just want to win. And show everybody that they can kiss our butts about that tanking stuff.”
– Brian Robb
TV: League Pass
- The game provides an interesting juxtaposition of coaches. Jason Kidd announced before the game that assistant coach Lawrence Frank had been reassigned from a defensive coordinator position to a position doing daily reports. “Different philosophies, and that’s it,” Kidd said.
- Meanwhile, the man the Nets chose Kidd over, Brian Shaw, comes in leading a team that is fourth in the league in scoring and 10-3 since starting the season on a 3-game losing skid. Shaw, who grew up with Kidd in Oakland, California recounted his interviewing process with the Nets and cited injuries as a primary reason for the Nets’ struggles[.
- Nets forward Mirza Teletovic has set a career-high in scoring in two of his last three games (17 points against the Lakers on Wednesday and 18 points in Houston against the Rockets on Friday).
- For the Nets, Andrei Kirilenko (back spasms), Paul Pierce (non-displaced fracture of the third metacarpal of the right hand) Jason Terry (bruised left knee) and Deron Williams (left ankle sprain) will not play. Kirilenko spoke to the press about his condition, noting that he has received two epidurals and cannot give a timetable for his return because of setbacks. “You miss it so much,” he said.
- For the Nuggets, Javale McGee (left tibia stress fracture) is out and Kenneth Faried (right quadriceps contusion) is probable.
– Jake Appleman
TV: League Pass
- The Magic will be quite short-handed against the 76ers without forward Tobias Harris (sore left ankle), center Nikola Vucevic (ankle) and guard Jameer Nelson (left foot).
- Orlando’s probable starters include E’Twaun Moore and Victor Oladipo at guard, Arron Afflalo and Jason Maxiell at forward and Glen Davis at center.
- Orlando has made at least one 3-pointer in 509 consecutive games, dating to March 17, 2007.
- Afflalo has scored in double figures 16 times this season. He has led or tied the team in scoring 11 times and in assists four times.
- The Sixers rank last in the league in points allowed per game, giving up a whopping 110.1. But they rank 10th in points scored — 103 per game.
- Philadelphia has dropped 10 of its past 12 games after starting the season 4-2.
- Sixers guard Evan Turner is one of three players in the league averaging at least 20.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game this season. The others are Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant and Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love.
– Andy Jasner