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Pre-game analysis of every NBA game by the RotoWire staff.

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NBA Game Previews for January 17, 2018
January 17, 2018 at 7:00 PM ET

Hornets Host Wizards at Spectrum Center

By Martin Springall

The Washington Wizards (25-19) saw their two-game winning streak come to a halt on Monday night, as they were dropped at home by the Milwaukee Bucks, 104-95. The Wizards shot a pedestrian 42.1 percent from field goal range and 28.6 percent from beyond the arc, buoyed by John Wall's team-high 27 points. The veteran facilitated nine assists to finish the night just shy of a double-double, going 7-of-22 from the paint and making all but one of his 13 shot attempts from the foul line. Bradley Beal and Kelly Oubre Jr. each posted 19 points, with Beal adding three rebounds in a starting role, and Oubre grabbing five boards of his own and draining three triples. Marcin Gortat took in seven rebounds for a Washington team that sits in fifth place in the Eastern Conference, a half game behind the fourth place Miami Heat. The Charlotte Hornets (17-25) have entered 2018 much the same way they saw out 2017, trading a series of wins and losses in a search for a sense of rhythm in the Southeast Division, but managed to emerge victorious in their Monday night road game over the Detroit Pistons, 118-107. All five members of the Hornets roster contributed, with each finishing the contest with double-digit offense, led on both ends of the court by Dwight Howard. With 21 points and 17 rebounds to his credit, Howard recorded his 24th double-double of the season, adding four blocks in the process. Marvin Williams finished with 21 points of his own, hauling in five rebounds and shooting 7-of-8 from the field and 5-of-6 from downtown. Kemba Walker scored 20 points and dished out nine assists as Charlotte remains in a mid-tier logjam in the East, where they remain in 11th place.

Posted on January 16, 2018 at 10:27 PM ET

January 17, 2018 at 7:30 PM ET

Pelicans Looking To Stay Hot

By Dan Bruno  

The Atlanta Hawks play host to the New Orleans Pelicans, at Philips Arena on Wednesday evening. This marks the second game of a back-to-back for the Pelicans (23-20), who are coming off an impressive overtime win in Boston on Tuesday. Anthony Davis lifted the Pelicans with 45 points, 16 rebounds, two blocks, two assists and one steal in the win, and has been playing great lately, averaging 30.3 and 10.1 rebounds per game over his last 10 games. Jrue Holiday also came up big on Tuesday night, and is averaging 19.1 points, 4.4 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.7 steals per game, over his last 10 games. DeMarcus Cousins has been a force all season, averaging 25.5 points, 12.6 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game. The Pelicans average 111.0 points per game, which is fourth highest in the NBA. This marks the third and final game of a road trip for the Pelicans, where they have gone 2-0 so far and are 12-11 on the road this season. Meanwhile, the Hawks (12-31) have dropped six of their last 10 games and sit at the bottom of the East. This marks the third game of a six-game home stand for the Hawks, where they have gone 1-1 so far. The Hawks are 4-19 at home this season and are coming off a win in their last contest. Despite the Hawks' troubles this season, Dennis Schroder has been playing well, averaging 20.3 points, 6.6 assists and 3.0 rebounds per game. Taurean Prince averages 12.6 points, 5.5 rebounds and and 2.5 assists per game, while Ersan Ilyasova has averaged 12.6 points and 8.6 rebounds per game over his last 10 games.

Posted on January 17, 2018 at 1:13 AM ET      Updated on January 17, 2018 at 1:36 AM ET

January 17, 2018 at 7:30 PM ET

Spurs Looking To Bounce Back On Road

By Dan Bruno  

The Brooklyn Nets play host to the San Antonio Spurs at Barclays Center on Wednesday evening. The Spurs (29-16) are 5-5 in their last 10 games, including a loss in their most recent contest. They have been hampered by injuries lately, and the woes continue as Manu Ginobili (thigh) and Rudy Gay (heel) will be sidelined, while Pau Gasol (wrist) is listed as questionable for Wednesday's action. LaMarcus Aldridge has been San Antonio's best player this season, averaging 22.4 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. Bryn Forbes has been seeing extra minutes with all the injuries lately, and is averaging 10.3 points per game over his last 10 games. The Spurs maintain one of the best defenses in the league, holding opponents to 97.9 points per game. This marks the second game of a three-game road trip for the Spurs, who are 10-14 on the road this season. Meanwhile, the Nets (16-28) have dropped six of their last 10 games, including their last two in a row. This marks the second game of a three-game home stand for the Nets, who have lost their last four games at home, and are 9-14 at home this season. DeMarre Carroll has been playing well for Brooklyn, averaging 12.7 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game this season. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson has also been a consistent contributor, averaging 14.9 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game. Spencer Dinwiddie has emerged as one of the Nets' go-to players. Dinwiddie is averaging 14.8 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game, over his last 10 games.

Posted on January 17, 2018 at 1:34 AM ET      Updated on January 17, 2018 at 1:37 AM ET

January 17, 2018 at 7:30 PM ET

Raptors Looking To End Losing Streak, Host Pistons

By Juan Pablo Aravena  

The Toronto Raptors will host the Detroit Pistons at Air Canada Centre on Wednesday evening. The Raptors (29-13) are one of the best teams at home, but their recent results have not been very good. Despite the fact the team boasts a 15-3 mark at Air Canada Centre, Toronto do not look like the dominant team they had been since the beginning of the year. They are coming off a 111-117 defeat against the Philadelphia 76ers, and are currently riding a two-game losing streak while dropping three of their last four. Their lone win over that span was a 133-99 thrashing of the Cleveland Cavaliers, however, so they remain a team able to compete with any franchise in the league. Fortunately for them, this game against Detroit will start a short two-game homestand, so there is not a best scenario for them to end their current losing skid that in this upcoming contest. Especially since they will play against the San Antonio Spurs afterwards. The Pistons (22-20) are also riding a two-game losing streak of their own, and overall they have dropped four of their last six. Detroit is coming off a surprising 107-118 defeat against the Charlotte Hornets this past Monday, and they will need to improve considerably if they are going to beat one of the best home teams in the entire Association. This game against Toronto is a one-and-done road trip for Detroit, however, as they will have a four-game homestand afterwards. It only takes a quick look at the standings to see the Pistons' performance varies depending on their court, as they have a 13-6 mark at home and a 9-14 mark on the road. One player that must improve his play is Andre Drummond, as the talented big man is coming off scoring just three points against Charlotte the last time out. This will be the third meeting between both franchises this season. Toronto leads the season series 2-0, as they have won the prior two games by scores of 126-113 and 129-111, respectively.

Posted on January 16, 2018 at 9:01 PM ET      Updated on January 16, 2018 at 9:13 PM ET

January 17, 2018 at 8:00 PM ET

Surging Bulls Host Red-Hot Raptors

By Juan Pablo Aravena  

The Chicago Bulls will host the Golden State Warriors at United Center on Wednesday evening. The Bulls (17-27) started the season as one of the worst teams in the league, but they have certainly improved of late. They are coming off a 119-111 win over the Miami Heat on Monday, are riding a three-game winning streak, and have come out on top in four of their last six. They have a 5-5 mark over their last 10 games, but their positive results during the past month and a half have lifted them to 12th place in the East. And while they remain six games back from the eighth and final playoff berth, Chicago has been so good of late that anything could happen. Nikola Mirotic (17.3 points and 6.8 rebounds per game) has been the spark of the team, but Kris Dunn (13.6 points, 6.4 assists per contest) has played quite well as the starting point guard and is a player worth watching as well. As if that wasn't enough, Zach LaVine returned and Chicago is unbeaten since his debut two games ago. The Warriors (36-9) once again look like the most dominant team in the league, and they have been clicking in all cylinders of late. They are coming off an impressive 118-108 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers this past Monday, and have been nearly unstoppable on the road. The reigning NBA champions might be riding a three-game winning streak, but if we take a deeper look into the numbers we can find that Golden State are once again on an upper echelon compared to the rest of the league. Steve Kerr's men have a 7-1 mark during January, they have won their last 13 road games, and have a 4.5 lead at the top of the Western Conference. They also rank first in several team-oriented categories on offense, such as points per possession (1.15), points per game (115.9), three-point field-goal percentage (.388), field-goal percentage (.509) and assists (30.6) per game. This will be the second and final meeting between both franchises this season. Golden State won by an expressive 143-94 score the last time out.

Posted on January 16, 2018 at 9:13 PM ET      Updated on January 16, 2018 at 10:34 PM ET

January 17, 2018 at 8:00 PM ET

Bucks Host Scorching-Hot Heat

By Joel Bartilotta

The Milwaukee Bucks play host to the Miami Heat at BMO Harris Bradley Center on Wednesday. The Heat (25-18) are one of the hottest teams in the league right now, as they've won seven of their last eight games. That one loss came in their most recent outing, as they took a 119-111 defeat at the hands of the Chicago Bulls to snap a season-long seven-game winning streak. That is really not a loss to be concerned with either, as it came in the second half of a back-to-back set while playing a surging Bulls team on the road. It's the defense that's truly turned this teams season around, as they currently rank fourth in points allowed. The play of Goran Dragic has also been a huge spark recently, as he's averaging 21.9 points, 5.1 rebounds, 7.1 assists and 0.8 steals in that eight-game stretch. That's all Miami fans can ask for, as he's done this damage with Dion Waiters now ruled out for the remainder of the season due to an ankle issue. The Bucks (23-20) are truly middling right now, as they are 8-8 across their last 16 games while failing to record a winning streak or losing streak of longer than three games since the middle of November. That's a bizarre statistic and it's a wonder why this Milwaukee team can't find any rhythm. The weakness of this team is glaring though, as the rebounding has been downright pitiful. In fact, the Bucks sit dead-last in the league in rebounding, averaging under 39 rebounds per game. The direct correlation with that ineptitude is the fact that they have no legitimate centers on this roster. Players like John Henson and Thon Maker are good role players, but nothing more than that at their respective stages of their careers. That's why Greg Monroe was brought in last season, but that project went down in a blazing pile of flames once he started coming off the bench and was eventually traded to the Phoenix Suns. Finding that consistent center is really the only piece of the puzzle that needs to be solved, as this is one of the deepest teams across their roster aside from that position. These two teams just played on January 14, in which Miami held down Milwaukee en route to as 97-79 win. It marked the Heat's third-straight victory over the Bucks.

Posted on January 16, 2018 at 6:30 PM ET      Updated on January 16, 2018 at 6:50 PM ET

January 17, 2018 at 8:00 PM ET

Thunder Play Host to Lakers

By Joel Bartilotta

The Oklahoma City Thunder play host to the Los Angeles Lakers at Chesapeake Energy Arena on Wednesday. The Lakers (15-28) come into this matchup winning four of their last five games, despite losing 12 of their previous 13 games before that run. While a lot of the talk around Lonzo Ball is usually critical, this teams success seems to thrive on him. In fact, Los Angeles is 0-7 with him out of the lineup. as he missed the most recent game due to a knee issue. It has garnered him a doubtful tag for this matchup, as they need to figure out how to win without their star point guard running the show. Where they really need to improve is on the defensive end, with Los Angeles sitting 27th in points allowed. That's been a trend that is far too common for this organization, as they need to focus on that end of the floor in order to get out of this franchise rut. The Thunder (24-20) have been one of the streakiest teams in the league recently, as they come into this matchup winning two-straight. Prior to that, Oklahoma City had lost three-straight games, which followed up another two-game losing streak. All of that came after a season-long six-game winning streak, as it's hard to figure out exactly where this team is right now. It does mean they are 16-8 across their last 24 games though, as Russell Westbrook is back to his MVP form. Many expected a major drop off of his numbers with the additions of Carmelo Anthony and Paul George, but the fact that he's averaging 25 points, 9.8 rebounds and 9.9 assists per game shows that he's pretty much the same guy. If he can continue to post these gaudy numbers, Westbrook could become the first player in NBA history to achieve triple-double season averages in back-to-back years. It's incredible that this sort of achievement is even attainable, as Westbrook is truly an elite talent. Not only did Oklahoma City win their one game over Los Angeles this season, they've defeated them in 11 of their last 12 meetings dating back to 2014.

Posted on January 16, 2018 at 6:43 PM ET      Updated on January 16, 2018 at 6:52 PM ET

January 17, 2018 at 8:00 PM ET

Knicks Make Trek South for Battle Against Grizzlies

By Juan Carlos Blanco

The New York Knicks head to the Volunteer State to tangle with the Memphis Grizzlies at FedEx Forum on Wednesday evening. The Knicks (20-24) have had some drastic swings thus far this season, and they were able to snap out of one of their poorer stretches of the campaign in their most recent contest. New York had lost six of seven games going into a Monday afternoon contest against the Brooklyn Nets, but they were able to escape Barclays Center with a 119-104 victory. Kristaps Porzingis led the way for the Knicks with 26 points, a total he supplemented with nine rebounds and two blocks. Michael Beasley followed with a bench-leading 23 points and added 10 boards, two assists and two blocks. Doug McDermott managed 13 points, four boards and one assist in 29 minutes off the bench. Kyle O'Quinn turned in a productive effort on the second unit as well, registering 11 points, seven rebounds, three assists and two blocks. Courtney Lee and rookie Frank Ntilikina generated matching 10-point tallies, with the former adding two assists, one rebound and one block, and the latter dishing out 10 assists, hauling in seven rebounds, recording two blocks and notching one steal. The Knicks come into Wednesday's game without any injuries of note. The Grizzlies (14-28) have seen their season essentially spiral out of control over the last several weeks, and they'll come into Wednesday's game having lost three of their last five games. However, they did emerge victorious in their most recent contest, a 123-114 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday night. A whopping eight players managed double digits in the scoring column for Memphis, leading to one of their most impressive offensive efforts of the season. Dillon Brooks led the way with 19 points, four rebounds and two assists. Marc Gasol produced 17 points, seven rebounds, four assists, one steal and one block. Tyreke Evans posted a 15-point, 12-assist double-double that also included nine rebounds and one steal. James Ennis III and Wayne Selden generated matching 13-point efforts to lead the bench. Ennis added three boards, two steals and two blocks, while Selden mustered one rebound, one assist and two steals. JaMychal Green supplied 11 points, nine rebounds and one assist. Young big men Deyonta Davis and Jarrell Martin managed 10 points apiece off the second unit as well. The Grizzlies will be without the services of both Conley (Achilles) and Chandler Parsons (knee) on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Ennis is considered questionable due to a calf injury. Wednesday's contest marks the second and final meeting between the teams this season. New York notched a 99-88 victory at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 6.

Posted on January 16, 2018 at 8:12 PM ET      Updated on January 16, 2018 at 8:13 PM ET

January 17, 2018 at 10:00 PM ET

Kingss Look To End Losing Streak Vs. Struggling Jazz

By Nick Brazzoni  

The Sacramento Kings will host the Utah Jazz on Wednesday at Golden 1 Center. It's been a rough stretch for the Kings (13-30), who have now lost five games in a row and eight of their last nine, with the most recent loss coming Monday against the Thunder in Oklahoma City. In that game, the Kings shot a miserable 24 percent from behind the arc and 39.8 percent from the field overall. On top of that, Sacramento shot just 60 percent from the free throw line, and all of this led to the team scoring under 90 points for the second time in its last four games. This putrid stretch for the Kings has sent them to the very bottom of the Western Conference standings, and they are just one game ahead of the Hawks for the worst record in the NBA. Things aren't going much better for the Jazz (17-26), however, as they have lost two games in a row and five of their last six. They are most recently coming off a brutal home loss to the Pacers on Monday in what was a 15-point defeat. In that game, Utah shot just 27 percent from behind the arc and committed 13 turnovers to just 11 assists en route to scoring under 95 points for the second straight game. Now they'll hit the road, and Utah has managed to find little success away from home as of late having lost eight of its last nine away games.

Posted on January 16, 2018 at 11:44 PM ET

January 17, 2018 at 10:30 PM ET

Streaking Clippers Host Nuggets

By Nick Brazzoni  

The Los Angeles Clippers will host the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday at Staples Center. The Clippers (22-21) are rolling, and after a dominating 113-102 victory over Chris Paul and the Houston Rockets on Monday, the team is over .500 for the first time since early November when they were 5-4. Now, heading into Wednesday's matchup, Los Angeles has rattled off five straight wins — two of which have come against the two best teams in the Western Conference. What has really lifted the play of the Clippers as of late has been the brilliant play of Lou Williams, who is having an unbelievable start to the new year. After recording 31 points and nine assists against his former team Monday, Williams is now averaging 31.6 points and 5.9 assists per game in the month of January. Williams is having the most productive season of his career and the Clippers are starting to surge because of it. As for the Nuggets (23-21), they are coming off a much-needed win Tuesday against the Mavericks, but the team has still lost four of its last six outings. The most important thing for Denver coming out of Tuesday's game was Will Barton being able to shoot his way out of what had been a massive scoring slump. Barton scored 25 points 9-of-15 shooting against Dallas, which ended a streak of eight straight games where he hadn't scored more than 17 points. Prior to Tuesday night's outing, Barton was averaging 11.9 points on 37 percent shooting from the field in January. In order for the Nuggets to get back to having sustained success, they'll need Barton to continue to be a reliable scoring threat for them on the wing.

Posted on January 16, 2018 at 11:56 PM ET