December 12,2018 at 7:00 PM
12/19/2018 7:00 PM
Amway Center Hosts Spurs and Magic
Following a rocky start to their 2018-19 campaign, the San Antonio Spurs (16-15) find themselves back in the hunt in the Western Conference, now sitting in 11th place after winning five of their last six contests. The Spurs decimated the visiting Philadelphia 76ers on Monday night, 123-96, with three of their starting five posting 20+ points. The team was led offensively by Rudy Gay, who finished with 21 points, six rebounds and three assists, shooting 10-of-15 from the paint. LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan put up 20 points apiece, with the former grabbing 10 rebounds on his way to a double-double (his 12th of the year), and the latter dishing out seven assists and taking in six boards. Davis Bertans came off the pine to record 16 points, three triples, and make all five of his shot attempts from the foul line, as the Spurs take their spot in the mid-seed logjam in the West. San Antonio faces a brutal schedule to round out the month, with games scheduled against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Boston Celtics, and a back-to-back series with the first place Denver Nuggets. The Orlando Magic (14-15) will have had four days to prepare following a two-game home stand in Mexico City, one that finished 2-0 with Saturday's 96-89 win over the visiting Utah Jazz, thanks in large part to a dynamo performance on both ends of the floor by Nikola Vucevic. The eight-year veteran dropped 15 points and hauled in 19 rebounds for a double-double, going 5-of-14 from the field and 1-of-3 from deep. Evan Fournier produced a team-high 24 points while recording seven rebounds and going 8-of-10 from the charity stripe, while sub Terrence Ross finished the game with 19 points, making 8-of-9 from field goal range. Orlando will need to maintain their luck heading back to the States this week, a tall order as they currently rank 23rd in the NBA in offense, averaging a collective 103.4 points per game. Orlando remains in eighth place in the Eastern Conference, a half game behind the sixth place Detroit Pistons.
December 12,2018 at 7:00 PM
12/19/2018 7:00 PM
Knicks Tangle with 76ers at Wells Fargo Center
The New York Knicks (7-24) have won two games in their last 11 outings, and were made quick work of on home court by the Phoenix Suns on Monday night, 128-110. With only four home wins to their credit all season, the Knicks' sole bright spot came in the form of Emmanuel Mudiay, who finished the game with a team-best 32 points, adding six rebounds and six assists while shooting 12-of-21 from the field. Rookie Kevin Knox, who has been a boon for the team over the past several games, recorded 17 points, five rebounds and a pair of three-pointers. Mario Hezonja came off the bench to provide 14 points and five rebounds for a New York squad that is reeling to close out 2018, now languishing in 12th place in the Eastern Conference. Things might get worse before they get better for the club, as they will close out the year with a brutal back-to-back series with the Milwaukee Bucks and will start 2019 with a trip to the first place Denver Nuggets. Monday night saw the Philadelphia 76ers (20-12) get thumped on the road by the San Antonio Spurs, 123-96. No member of the roster managed to crack 20 points in production for the Sixers, as they were led offensively by Ben Simmons and J.J. Redick, who posted 16 points apiece. Simmons shot 7-of-10 from the paint and had six rebounds and six assists, while Joel Embiid came away with a double-double behind a 13-point, 11-rebound effort. Wilson Chandler and sub Shake Milton both posted 10 points, with Chandler adding four dimes and Milton draining a pair of triples. Philadelphia struggled from long range, where they shot a collective 29.7 percent, in contrast to their season average of 37 percent, which stands as eighth-best in the league. The Sixers have now lost three of their last four match-ups, dropping to fourth place in the East.
December 12,2018 at 7:00 PM
12/19/2018 7:00 PM
Cavaliers Face Off With Hornets
The Cleveland Cavaliers take on the Charlotte Hornets at Spectrum Center on Wednesday evening. The Cavaliers (8-23) may be riddled with injuries to key players and an unsightly record, but it appears they're having fun sneaking up on quality opponents. The latest example of such came Tuesday night, when Cleveland scored a 92-91 upset victory over the Indiana Pacers on a Larry Nance, Jr. game-winning tip-in at the buzzer. Rodney Hood led the way with 17 points, a total he supplemented with six rebounds, two assists and two steals. Nance finished with 15 points, 16 rebounds, six assists, three steals and one block. Alec Burks poured in 14 points and added five boards off the bench, while Cedi Osman and Collin Sexton tallied 13 and 12 points, respectively. The Cavaliers will likely list Jordan Clarkson (rest/back) as questionable for Wednesday's game, while Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson will remain out with their respective foot injuries. The Hornets (14-15) have been as inconsistent as their record implies, an issue that's even extended to their home floor on occasion. In fact, the two straight losses they'll come into Wednesday with have both occurred at Spectrum Center, with the latest an embarrassing 128-100 shellacking at the hands of the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday night. Malik Monk paced the Hornets off the bench with 19 points, a total he supplemented with five rebounds and one assist. Miles Bridges posted 17 points, three rebounds and two blocks. Jeremy Lamb poured in 12 points and added five boards. Willy Hernangomez collected 11 points, six rebounds and one assist. Kemba Walker mustered just four points on 2-for-13 shooting. The Hornets will come into Wednesday's game at full health. The season series between the clubs is currently tied at 1-1, with each team having scored a double-digit victory thus far.
December 12,2018 at 7:30 PM
12/19/2018 7:30 PM
Suns Clash With Celtics in Beantown Battle
The Phoenix Suns take on the Boston Celtics at TD Garden on Wednesday evening. The Suns (7-24) have encountered the majority of their modest success on their home floor, where they notched two of the three consecutive wins they come into Wednesday with. However, their most recent victory, which served as only their second road triumph of the season, came at the expense of the New York Knicks, which they toppled in the Big Apple by a 128-110 score on Monday night. Devin Booker paced the Suns with 38 points, adding seven rebounds, two assists and two steals. T.J. Warren posted 26 points and added five rebounds, one assist, three steals and two blocks. Deandre Ayton generated a 21-point, 13-rebound double-double. Josh Jackson (14 points) and Richaun Holmes (13 points) were impressive off the bench. The Suns may list the newly acquired Kelly Oubre, Jr. as questionable Wednesday due to the fact he's still settling in with his new team, but he did notable take part in his first practice Tuesday. The Celtics (18-11) were largely viewed as one of the NBA's more underachieving teams early in the season, but they then righted the ship by rattling off eight consecutive wins. They did see that impressive streak snapped in their last contest, however, as they dropped a 113-104 decision to the Detroit Pistons on Saturday night. Kyrie Irving paced Boston with 26 points, adding eight boards, four assists and three steals. Marcus Smart provided 21 points, eight rebounds, three assists and three steals. Jayson Tatum offered 17 points, eight boards, two assists, one steal and one block. Aron Baynes and Marcus Morris tallied 10 and nine points, respectively. The Celtics will be without Al Horford (knee) for Wednesday's contest, while Jaylen Brown (hand) will be listed as questionable. The Celtics own a 1-0 lead in the season series, having notched a 116-109 overtime win on Nov. 8.
December 12,2018 at 7:30 PM
12/19/2018 7:30 PM
Raptors Host Pacers in Battle of Eastern Conference Elite
The Indiana Pacers travel north of the border to play the Toronto Raptors at Scotiabank Arena on Wednesday. The Pacers (20-10) are one of the hottest teams in the league but they come into this matchup off a devastating loss. In fact, the Cleveland Cavaliers went into Cleveland and beat the Pacers, 92-91, on Tuesday night. The fashion of that loss was even more discouraging, as the Pacers missed numerous free-throws late and got beat on a tip-in at the buzzer. If there's a silver lining, it's the fact that it snapped a seven-game winning streak, with Indiana playing their best ball of the season prior to that defeat. Players like Darren Collison, Thaddeus Young and Myles Turner all snapped some big slumps in that winning streak and it's a scary sight for opponents that all these guys are back in form. Where this team really thrives is on the defensive end, as their 101 points per game allowed are the best mark in the NBA. That's the bread and butter and that'll keep them competitive all season long. The Raptors (23-9) are slumping based on their standards, as they've lost five of their last eight games in total. It's easy to see why when taking a look at the training room, as it's full of Raptors. Kyle Lowry, Kawhi Leonard, Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam have all missed games recently and that's simply too many good players to be winning games consistently. The fact that they just ended a west coast road trip is a major reason why too, as they've had a murderous row of a schedule recently. In fact, Toronto had to play the Denver Nuggets, Golden State Warriors, Portland Trail Blazers and Los Angeles Clippers all on the road their last four games, as any team would struggle in that circumstance. The good news is that they're back home and none of these injuries are expected to be long-term issues. Toronto has dominated Indiana over recent years, winning 12 of their last 15 games over them dating back to 2014.
December 12,2018 at 8:00 PM
12/19/2018 8:00 PM
Bulls Play Host to Nets on Wednesday
The Chicago Bulls play host to the Brooklyn Nets at United Center on Wednesday. The Nets (14-18) are quietly one of the hottest teams in the NBA, as they come into this matchup winning six-straight games. It's not like they were playing a bunch of scrubs either, as Brooklyn beat the Los Angeles Lakers, Philadelphia 76ers and Toronto Raptors in that stretch. The most recent win against the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday showed where they've really improved, as D'Angelo Russell has taken over this team. Russell handed out a career-high 14 assists in that victory, as he showed his former team why they shouldn't have traded him. Spencer Dinwiddie provided 18 points and six assists in that win as well, as that's pretty close to his season averages coming off the bench. That point guard duo is arguably the best in the NBA and it has this team in its best spot in years. The Bulls (7-24) come into this matchup losing 15 of their last 18 games, as they've developed into one of the worst teams in the league. There are some signs of promise though, as the young pieces on this Bulls team have to have fans encouraged. Youngsters like Lauri Markkanen, Kris Dunn and Zach LaVine have all shown signs of brilliance this season and it's a promising core headed forward. That doesn't even consider frontcourt players like Wendell Carter Jr. and Bobby Portis, as this team is in good hands heading forward. The one thing missing is a veteran presence though, as it's tough for all these young players to compete with elite competition. The fact that their last two wins have come against the San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder shows the sort of upside they present but all the losses show who this team really is. Brooklyn swept their three-game season series over Chicago last season, with the Nets winning by an average of 18 points per game.
December 12,2018 at 8:00 PM
12/19/2018 8:00 PM
Resurgent Rockets Host Wavering Wizards
The Washington Wizards travel to Texas to play the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center on Wednesday. The Wizards (12-19) come into this matchup losing five of their last six games, as they're regressing big time after a promising stretch. Washington actually won nine of their previous 14 games before this slump, as they appeared to be out of their early-season swoon. That hole they dug themselves at the beginning of the year may be too much to dig out of though, as Washington started with a putrid 2-9 mark through 11 games. That's unacceptable from a team with this much talent, as they recently traded Kelly Oubre for Trevor Ariza. That Ariza acquisition may be the final straw because if that doesn't work, it may be rebuild time for this underwhelming team. The Rockets (15-14) come into this matchup winning four-straight games, as they finally appear to be clicking. It's no surprise when looking at James Harden's numbers, as he's averaging 48 points and nearly a triple-double in that stretch. That's all you can ask for from your best player, as he's really improved on the defensive end too. In fact, Harden ranks second in the league with 2.2 steals per game, as he's really developed into a solid defender over recent years. It's actually the defense that's keeping this team afloat, as they continue to struggle on the offensive end. Houston currently ranks 20th in scoring and 28th in assists and it's hard to understand why. Those numbers are definitely due for some positive regression and one has to believe this mini winning streak could turn into a long one. The schedule doesn't necessarily agree with that assessment though, as Houston has to face the New Orleans Pelicans, Oklahoma City Thunder, Boston Celtics, San Antonio Spurs, Milwaukee Bucks, Golden State Warriors, Memphis Grizzlies and Portland Trail Blazers across their next 10 games. That's a murderous row of a schedule and Houston has to keep their heads above water to avoid falling too far down the standings. These teams had an epic game in their first meeting this season, as Washington prevailed in overtime, 135-131, on November 26. James Harden collected 54 points and 13 assists in that game while John Wall led the Wizards with 36 points and 11 assists.
December 12,2018 at 8:00 PM
12/19/2018 8:00 PM
Bucks Host Pelicans
The Milwaukee Bucks will host the New Orleans Pelicans at Fiserv Forum on Wednesday. The Pelicans will be putting most of the work on the back of Anthony Davis, who has been nothing short of stellar in his seventh season as the franchise Center for New Orleans. Davis is averaging 28.0 points per game, to go with 12.4 rebounds per game and his 2.8 blocks per game are second to only Hassan Whiteside. Davis will be without two key players as Julius Randle and Nikola Mirotic are both nursing ankle injuries. With both forwards sidelined, the Pelicans (15-16) might play a bigger lineup which opens up the option to give Jahlil Okafor extra minutes. New Orleans is coming off a 102-96 loss to the Miami Heat and are 5-5 over their last 10 contests. The last time the Pelicans strung together at least two straight wins was November 20th against the Spurs, and the streakiness has them in 12th place in the Western Conference. The Bucks have some notable injuries heading into the home matchup as Ersan Ilyasova (nose) won't play on Wednesday and Malcolm Brogdon (hamstring) is questionable. Milwaukee has won four of their last five contests behind the MVP caliber campaign of Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is rivaling Davis with monstrous numbers this season. Antetokounmpo is leading the Bucks (20-9) with 26.8 points per game and 13.1 rebounds per game. Milwaukee trails only the Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference and sit in second place.
December 12,2018 at 8:00 PM
12/19/2018 8:00 PM
Timberwolves Host Pistons
The Minnesota Timberwolves will host the Detroit Pistons at Target Center on Wednesday. The Pistons have been through a brutal stretch of games that included some very close losses. Things were going swimmingly for the Pistons after they topped off a five game win streak with a statement against the reigning champion Golden State Warriors, but since that win on December 1st, the Pistons have lost seven of their last eight contests. Most recently, Detroit (14-14) dropped a three point game to the Milwaukee Bucks, despite Blake Griffin's triple-double and Andre Drummond's 14 rebounds. Reggie Bullock and Stanley Johnson provided scoring support as each dropped 20-plus points, but Giannis Antetokounmpo simply could not be stopped as he scored 32 points on 15-of-21 shooting. The Pistons currently hold the 6th spot in the Eastern Conference. Minnesota has also run into their fair share of struggles over their last few games, but just broke a four game losing streak with a 132-105 win over the Sacramento Kings. The team win resulted in nine players scoring in double figures, as Andrew Wiggins lead the way with 17 points, while Karl-Anthony Towns added 14 points and 14 rebounds. Minnesota (14-16) is fighting in the wild Western Conference, but are a much more difficult team to face at home evidenced by the 12-4 record, as compared to their abysmal 2-12 record on the road. As for injuries, the Timberwolves will be without Jeff Teague (ankle) on Wednesday.
December 12,2018 at 9:00 PM
12/19/2018 9:00 PM
Warriors, Jazz Clash at Vivint Smart Home Arena
The Golden State Warriors will visit the Utah Jazz at Vivint Smart Home Arena on Wednesday evening. The Warriors (21-10) are looking as dominant as ever, winning six out of seven games heading into Wednesday's contest. Golden State boasts the league's top-ranked offense and is fresh off a 110-93 blowout of the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday evening. Health has been the primary concern for the Warriors early on this season, but the team's injury report has finally begun to shorten. Superstar Stephen Curry is averaging 28.8 points per game and has been the team's leading scorer since returning from injury. On Monday, the team also saw veterans Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston return from their own injuries, with each player contributing 15 minutes off the bench. Utah (14-17), on the other hand, sits at 14th place in the Western Conference. The team's 2018-19 campaign has been disappointing after a surprising playoff push last season. Utah has gone just 1-4 in its last five games and is struggling to create consistent offense, ranking just 25th across the league in offensive rating. In particular, the Jazz has struggled with the three-point shot, ranking just 26th across the league in three-point percentage this season. Shooting guard Donovan Mitchell is averaging a team-high 21.0 points per game, but is shooting only 42.3 percent from the field, down from his 44 percent clip last season.
December 12,2018 at 10:00 PM
12/19/2018 10:00 PM
Grizzlies Visit Trail Blazers at Moda Center
The Memphis Grizzlies will visit the Portland Trail Blazers at Moda Center on Wednesday evening. Portland (17-13) is riding high after two big wins in the past five days. After taking down the first-place Toronto Raptors on Friday, the trail Blazers squeaked by the Clippers with a 131-127 win in LA. The game saw an incredible offensive performance from superstar point guard Damian Lillard, who scored 39 points while shooting 6-of-7 from three-point range. 21 of Lillard's points came in the third quarter. All-Star guard C.J. McCollum scored another 27 points, including a dagger step-back to clinch the win for Portland. In typical form, Lillard and McCollum have been the driving forces behind Portland's success this season. Lillard is averaging a team-high 27.3 points, while McCollum is adding another 21.9 points per game. Memphis (16-14), meanwhile, has hit a rough patch recently. The team has dropped three straight games, due primarily to its stagnant offense. At just 102.2 points per game, the Grizzlies rank 29th in the league in team scoring. That figure has slowly dwindled throughout the month of December, as Memphis has failed to reach the 100-point mark in nine of its last ten games. Offense has been hard to come by in all regards for the Grizz, as the team ranks just 27th in the league in three-point shooting and dead last in offensive rebounding. Memphis will look to overcome its recent woes as it embarks on the second game of its West Coast road trip. Mike Conley (hamstring) remains day-to-day for the Grizzlies after missing the team's game at Golden State on Monday.
December 12,2018 at 10:00 PM
12/19/2018 10:00 PM
Thunder Visit Kings in Sacramento
The Oklahoma City Thunder will visit the Sacramento Kings at Golden 1 Center on Wednesday evening. The Thunder (19-10) have won two straight games, including a 121-96 rout of the Chicago Bulls on Monday evening. Russell Westbrook paved the way for his team's win, recording a triple-double and grabbing five steals. Paul George added 24 points and Steven Adams scored 19 in the win. The trio of stars has been integral to OKC's success this season, helping to establish the team as a two-way powerhouse. The Thunder has been particularly effective on the defensive end, owning the number one defensive rating in the league a third of the way through the season. Westbrook and George have combined to average 4.9 steals per game this season, while Steven Adams and Jerami Grant are blocking 2.4 shots per game in the front court. Sacramento (16-14) saw its worst loss of the season on Monday, falling 132-105 to the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Kings have had an up-and-down season thus far, finding themselves at eighth in the Western Conference standings. Sacramento's middling season is a strong turnaround from its lottery finish last year, though. The team owes its success, at least in part, to breakout seasons from its young back court. Shooting guard Buddy Hield is averaging a career-high 19.3 points per game, while sophomore point guard De'Aaron Fox is scoring 17.9 points per game while dishing out a team-high 7.3 assists.