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LAKERS AT SPURS, 8 P.M. ET

TV: League Pass

  • Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said Tim Duncan and Marco Belinelli will sit out tonight to rest before San Antonio (62-19) plays the regular-season finale. The Spurs start the playoffs Sunday at noon against the loser of tonight’s Dallas-Memphis contest.
  • The Spurs can match the team record for regular-season victories with a win tonight. The 2005-06 team won 63 games.
  • The Lakers (26-55) season ends tonight with plenty of uncertainty for next season. Kobe Bryant is expected to begin workouts next week after recovering from knee surgery, and Mike D’Antoni’s status as coach is unclear.  “We thought we could overcome the odds,” D’Antoni said, “and things would fall in place. But with the injuries, things didn’t fall. That’s the way it went. (The players) tried their best. They were in a tough situation to begin with and it got horrible on them. But I think overall they competed.” D’Antoni is expected to speak with team executives Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak at some point this week.
  • Lakers guard Kent Bazemore had surgery today to repair a torn tendon in his right foot.

Tim Price

 

PISTONS AT THUNDER, 8 P.M. ET

TV:  League Pass

  • Needing a win tonight over the Pistons (or a Clipper loss at Portland) to secure the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference playoffs Thunder head coach Scott Brooks will put his regular starting lineup on the floor. “We’re just focusing on winning the game,” he told reporters just before tipoff. “Everyone’s healthy now so everyone’s available.” OKC is 19-4 this season with their normal starting lineup on the court.
  • Detroit interim head coach John Loyer indicated he may be sitting some of his regular guys. When asked who was unavailable he said, “it’s quite a list, we’ll let you know a little later.”
  • The Thunder have lost two straight coming in, a respectable road loss at Indiana on Sunday and a shocking stumble in New Orleans on Monday night. Thunder forward Kevin Durant said today his team comes into the game tonight with the mindset of “just win. Just play to win. We need this game after two tough losses. It feels good to play our last game at home, but we’ve just gotta win.”
  • Durant will lead the NBA in minutes and points for the third time in his career. Michael Jordan (three times) and Wilt Chamberlain (six times) are the only other players to do that.
  • The Thunder have beaten the Pistons nine straight games (five straight at home) by an average margin of 12.4 points. OKC won in Detroit back in November 119-110 behind 37 points from Durant.
  • The Pistons lead the NBA in paint points, averaging 51.9 ppg. Andre Drummond has 432 offensive rebounds this season, the most in the NBA since Jayson Williams of the Nets had 443 in the 1997-98 season and he leads the NBA with an average of 5.4 offensive rebounds per game.

– Randy Renner

NETS AT CAVALIERS, 8 P.M. ET

TV: League Pass

  • Nets coach Jason Kidd is giving his entire starting lineup the night off and will only have eight players in uniform. Sitting out are small forward Paul Pierce (right hip pointer), center Kevin Garnett (back spasms), point guard Deron Williams (right knee tendinitis), shooting guard Joe Johnson (right calf soreness), point guard Shaun Livingston (right big toe sprain), small forward Mirza Teletovic (personal), and center Brook Lopez (right foot fracture). Brooklyn is currently fifth in the Eastern Conference, but could slip to sixth with a loss, coupled with a Washington win. “I have no concern whether we’re the fifth or sixth seed,” Kidd said.
  • Nets center Jason Collins — the NBA’s first openly gay player — will make his first start of the season. The remainder of Brooklyn’s lineup is power forward Andray Blatche, small forward Marcus Thornton, shooting guard Marquis Teague, and rookie point guard Jorge Gutierrez. The only substitutes available are power forward Andrei Kirilenko, center Mason Plumlee, and small forward Alan Anderson (abdominal strain). “I’ve been blessed with a good group of guys who know what it takes to win, so I feel good about giving everyone a chance to play,” Kidd said.
  • The Cavaliers’ starters are All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving, shooting guard Dion Waiters, small forward Alonzo Gee, power forward Tristan Thompson, and center Spencer Hawes. Cleveland will not participate in the playoffs for the fourth straight season, but its 32-49 record is the franchise’s best since 2009-2010. “You want your players to go into the offseason feeling good about what they’ve done, so we want to win tonight,” Cavaliers coach Mike Brown said. “We’ve played some pretty good basketball for the last couple of months.”
  • Cavaliers rookie power forward Anthony Bennett (left patellar tendon strain) and rookie shooting guard Carrick Felix (left patellar stress fracture) are both active and will come off the bench. Bennett — the No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft — has missed the last 17 games, while Felix has been sidelined for 37 contests. “This is the first time they’ve been ready to play, so they’re going to,” Brown said.
  • Out for the Cavaliers are shooting guard C.J. Miles (left ankle sprain), small forward Luol Deng (lower back soreness), and rookie shooting guard Scotty Hopson (right ankle sprain). Cleveland has the ninth-worst record in the NBA and is one of 10 teams with a losing record at home. The Cavaliers also have lost two straight games and must beat Brooklyn to avoid a 50-loss campaign.

Brian Dulik

 

RAPTORS AT KNICKS, 8 P.M. ET

TV: League Pass

  • The Raptors have the tiebreaker on the Chicago Bulls for the No. 3 seed in the East, so a Raptors win or a Bulls loss at Charlotte gives Toronto the No. 3 seed. The Raptors will open the playoffs at home on Saturday. “It’s at a point now where it don’t matter who we play, honestly,” DeMar DeRozan said, according to Toronto beat writers. “Nobody picked us to be at this point anyway.”
  • Carmelo Anthony is out with a torn labrum in his right shoulder. He also missed Tuesday’s win over the Nets.
  • Knicks coach Mike Woodson may well be coaching his last game with the franchise as new President Phil Jackson is expected to replace him with one of his disciples. Steve Kerr, Brian Shaw and Derek Fisher have all been mentioned. “We fell short of all the goals that we had set at the beginning of the season and you wish them well and tell them that each one has got to get individually better by putting in summer work and get ready for vet camp,” Woodson said when asked what he will tell the players. He added: “It’s been a tough season, I don’t wish it on any coach on any level. But it’s part of the game. I’m a realist when it comes to coaching and I’ve been around this thing a long time and you think you’ve seen it all. But sometimes things just don’t go according to plan so you just deal with it and keep it moving and try to do the best job you can do.” Asked how much last year’s 54-win season should count for him going forward, he said, “I can’t go back and get this season. If I could I would. Last year was last season, we had totally different personnel. I don’t how much it will play. I’m not sitting here begging to say that should play a major role in me staying. I can’t make that decision. That’s gotta come from the top.” Asked if it was fair that he might be let go, Woodson said: “What’s fair? What do you think is fair? I mean, not really. I was given an opportunity two years ago to take over a a team that was struggling and I made the most of it. Unfortunately, this year just didn’t go according to plan. Is it fair to let me go? I don’t think so, but I don’t make that decision. That’s gotta come from the top.” He said he hopes to meet with Jackson soon to resolve his future: “Once I sit down with Phil, we’ll come to some kind of conclusion on where Mike Woodson stands, I’m sure.”
  • The Raptors are expected to start Kyle Lowry, Terrence Ross, Greivis Vasquez, Amir Johnson and Jonas Valanciunas.
  • The Knicks will start Pablo Prigioni, J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert, Amar’e Stoudemire and Cole Aldrich. Raymond Felton and Tyson Chandler won’t dress.
  • The Knicks also announced they have signed forward Lamar Odom. ESPNNewYork.com reported that the deal will have a team option for next season.

– Adam Zagoria

Bulls at Bobcats, 7 p.m. ET

TV: League Pass

  • Chicago is without only one player tonight. It’s the one the Bull have been without almost the entire season – guard Derrick Rose.
  •  Probable starters for the Bulls: forward Mike Dunleavy, forward Carlos Boozer, center Joakim Noah, guard Jimmy Butler and guard Kirk Hinrich.
  • Charlotte is missing a pair of players because of lingering injuries. Brendan Haywood is out with a stress fracture in his left foot. Jeff Taylor will miss Wednesday’s game with a ruptured right Achilles tendon.
  • Probable starters for the Bobcats: forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, forward Josh McRoberts, center Al Jefferson, guard Gerald Henderson and guard Kemba Walker.
  • The Bulls and Bobcats are locked into the playoffs. That much is certain. What is still up in the air for both teams is where they are seeded and who they play. Chicago goes into the regular-season finale in fourth place in the Eastern Conference. The Bulls can move up to the No. 3 seed if they beat the Bobcats and Toronto loses to New York. Chicago will play either Brooklyn or Washington in the first round of the playoffs. Charlotte sits in seventh place in the East. The Bobcats move up to the sixth seed if they win Wednesday and the Wizards lose to the Celtics.
  • The Bulls are 3-0 against the Bobcats this year.
  • A key battle to watch tonight is center Noah (Chicago) and Jefferson (Charlotte). Jefferson averages a double-double with 22 points and 10.8 rebounds per game. Noah is one of four Chicago players scoring in double figures. He averages 12.6 points and 11.2 rebounds per game. The two have combined for 87 double-doubles this year.

– Adam Houston

 

PACERS AT MAGIC, 7 P.M.

TV: League Pass

  • Paul George, David West and Lance Stephenson, the three players who have logged the most minutes for the Pacers,  will not  play tonight. The Pacers clinched the No. 1 Eastern Conference playoff seed when Miami lost on Monday night. Backup center Ian Mahinmi is also out.
  • “It’s important,” Pacers coach Frank Vogel said of the top seed. “It was a goal of ours, but we never said it was do-or-die. Nothing you do in the regular season is do or die. It was just something that we aspired to, to give us every possible advantage, come playoff time. It’s a great start. Now it’s time to perform when it really matters.”
  • Center Nik Vucevic (sore left Achilles) and point guard Jameer Nelson (strained left groin) will not play for Orlando.
  • Nelson, who has played more game for the Magic (651) than anyone except Nick Anderson,  might have played his last game in Orlando. The Magic hold the option on the final year of his contract.
  • PACERS LINEUP: Rasual Butler, Luis Scola, Roy Hibbert, George Hill, Evan Turner.
  • MAGIC LINEUP: Maurice Harkless, Kyle O’Quinn, Dewayne Dedmon, Victor Oladipo, Arron Afflalo.

– Dick Scanlon

 

 

Daily Zap: April 15


VIDEO: Tuesday’s Daily Zap

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


VIDEO: Check out all the highlights from Monday