January 1,2019 at 3:30 PM
1/19/2019 3:30 PM
Wells Fargo Center Hosts Thunder and 76ers
The Oklahoma City Thunder (26-18) have struggled in 2019, losing five of their last six match-ups, hitting a new low on Thursday night in a 138-128 overtime defeat on home court at the hands of the shorthanded Los Angeles Lakers. The Thunder were again firing on all cylinders offensively, but failed to find their groove on defense, despite the fact that they rank 10th in the NBA in defense, holding opponents to a respectable average of 108.9 points per game. All starters posted double digits in the loss, led in scoring by Paul George, who finished with 27 points, eight assists and seven rebounds, going 5-of-12 from long range in the process. Russell Westbrook and Steven Adams each had double-doubles on the night; Westbrook behind 26 points, 13 assists and five three-pointers, and Adams on the strength of a 17-point, 15-rebound outing. Terrance Ferguson delivered six of the team's 22 triples in the affair, putting up 21 points, as OKC now maintains a tenuous grasp on third place in the Western Conference, with the fourth place Portland Trail Blazers hot on their heels. Thursday night also saw the Indiana Pacers (30-16) win their third straight game, taking care of the Indiana Pacers on the road, 120-96, to pull within a hair of third place in the Eastern Conference. The Sixers were buoyed by Jimmy Butler's team-high 27 points, as he added 6-of-6 shooting from the free throw line and dished out eight assists along the way. Joel Embiid logged a double-double, his league-leading 38th of the season, dropping 22 points and grabbing eight boards, while J.J. Redick continued to deliver from downtown, going 6-of-9 from deep on his way to 20 points. Ben Simmons had 11 points, eight rebounds and eight assists for a Philly team that's finding their mojo as the halfway point of their 2018-19 season comes into view, with tough match-ups in the coming week versus the Houston Rockets, Denver Nuggets and Golden State Warriors.
January 1,2019 at 5:00 PM
1/19/2019 5:00 PM
Suns and Hornets Clash at Spectrum Center
The Phoenix Suns (11-35) wrapped up an 0-2 road trip with a game effort at the Toronto Raptors on Thursday night, but ultimately fell to the shorthanded powerhouse, 111-109. Devin Booker put the Suns on his back with a 30-point, eight-assist effort, going 10-of-21 from the paint and 4-of-9 from long range. Mikal Bridges and Deandre Ayton scored 15 points each, Ayton with a huge night off the glass with 17 rebounds, and Bridges adding five rebounds and four assists. Kelly Oubre, Jr. came off the bench to serve up 18 points and nine rebounds, going 11-of-13 from the charity stripe, as Phoenix remains deep in barrel's bottom in the Western Conference, where they wither nine points behind the 14th place Memphis Grizzlies. Phoenix has won only four games on the road this season, tied with the Dallas Mavericks and Cleveland Cavaliers for worst in the NBA. The Charlotte Hornets (21-23) have won back-to-back games, spanking the visiting Sacramento Kings on Thursday, 114-95. In a game that saw Charlotte's bench outscore their starters, 60-54, subs Michael Kidd-Glichrist and Miles Bridges dropped 15 points apiece, with Kidd-Gilchrist making all seven of his attempts from the foul line. Kemba Walker once again led the team in scoring with 23 points, adding five assists, as Jeremy Lamb logged 14 points five boards, and a pair of triples. Through 44 games, Walker is averaging 25.2 points and 5.7 assists, ranking 12th in the league in scoring. Cody Zeller remains sidelined with a hand injury for Charlotte, with his return to action not expected until mid-February. The Hornets remain in eighth place in the East.
January 1,2019 at 7:00 PM
1/19/2019 7:00 PM
Kings and Pistons Battle In Motown Showdown
The Sacramento Kings take on the Detroit Pistons at Little Caesars Arena on Saturday evening. The Kings (23-22) come into Saturday's contest on a general upswing, as they've gone 4-2 over the last six games. However, their two defeats during that stretch have predictably come on the road. One was in their most recent game, as they dropped a 114-95 decision to the Charlotte Hornets on Thursday night. Buddy Hield paced the Kings with 24 points, adding a rebound, an assist and two steals. Bogdan Bogdanovic paced the bench with 17 points. Marvin Bagley III posted 15 points, eight rebounds and one assist. De'Aaron Fox mustered 10 points, eight assists, five rebounds, one steal and one block. Willie Cauley-Stein tallied a modest eight points and hauled in 11 rebounds, dished out four assists and recorded three steals. The Kings come into Saturday's game without any injuries to report. Blake Griffin paced the Pistons with 32 points and supplemented them with 11 rebounds, nine assists and one steal. Luke Kennard furnished 22 points, three rebounds, three assists and one steal. Reggie Bullock poured in 19 points. Stanley Johnson delivered 12 points, six rebounds, two assists, one steal and one block. Reggie Jackson contributed nine points, five boards and two assists. The Pistons will likely list Ish Smith (groin) and Drummond as questionable at best for Saturday's game. Jon Leuer (illness), Henry Ellenson (ankle) and Khyri Thomas (back) will likely carry the same designation. Saturday's game marks the second and final meeting between the teams this season. The Kings hold a 1-0 series lead, having notched a 112-102 win on Jan. 10.
January 1,2019 at 7:00 PM
1/19/2019 7:00 PM
Mavericks Take On Hard-Nosed Pacers
The Indiana Pacers play host to the Dallas Mavericks, at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Saturday evening. This marks the first game of a two-game road trip for the Mavericks (20-24), who are 2-3 in their last five road games and just 4-18 on the road this season. The Mavs have dropped six of their last 10 games and are on a two-game slide, as they dropped two straight at home, to the Warriors and then the Spurs. Nonetheless, Luka Doncic continues to impress, as he is averaging 20.3 points on 44 percent shooting, 6.7 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 1.1 steals per game. DeAndre Jordan was quiet in the most recent contest, with nine points and nine rebounds, while he averages 10.9 points, 13.9 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.1 blocks per game. The Mavericks score an average of 109 points per game, and are allowing opponents an average of 109 points per game. Meanwhile, this marks the third game of a five-game home stand for the Pacers (29-15), where they have gone 1-1 so far, with a win over the Suns and a loss to the 76ers. The Pacers have won seven of their last 10 games overall, and are 15-6 at home this season. They sit third place in the East, 3.5 games behind first place. Victor Oladipo has been quiet lately, with a total of 23 points over the last two games, but still leads the team, averaging 19.3 points, 5.7 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 1.6 steals per game. The Pacers are back at full strength with Myles Turner back in the lineup. Turner averages 12.9 points, 7.2 rebounds, 2.8 blocks and 1.7 assists per game. The Pacers are one of the best defensive teams in the league, as they are holding opponents to an average of 103.4 points per game, which is second best in the league.
January 1,2019 at 7:00 PM
1/19/2019 7:00 PM
Magic Play Host to Bludgeoning Bucks
The Milwaukee Bucks travel to Florida to play the Orlando Magic at Amway Center on Friday. The Bucks (32-12) come into this matchup winning 14 of their last 17 games, as they're truly one of the best teams in the NBA. What's really scary is how good this team is on both ends of the floor, as they're the only club in the league who ranks top-five in both offensive and defensive efficiency. That's a recipe for success, especially considering the fact that they're the best rebounding team in the league as well. The star of the show is Giannis Antetokounmpo, as he's leading the Bucks with 26.4 points, 12.5 rebounds, 6.0 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.5 blocks per game. Those are MVP caliber numbers, as he's become one of the most dynamic players in the league. It's more than just him though, as he joins one of the best starting lineups in the league with players like Eric Bledsoe, Khris Middleton, Malcolm Brogdon and Brook Lopez forming a dangerous core. The Magic (19-26) come into this matchup playing competitively across their last four games, as they're hopeful that's the start of a big run. They need one too, as they are steadily falling out of playoff contention. The competition in that stretch needs to be taken into consideration, as they came against quality opponents like the Boston Celtics, Houston Rockets and Brooklyn Nets. That shows the sort of upside this team presents, as they're one of the most frustrating teams in the league The most recent loss on Friday shows why they're so frustrating, as they blew a 21-point lead against the Nets. Where they need to find more consistency is on the offensive end, with Orlando ranking 27th in scoring. There's too much talent on this team to be sitting that low and one has to wonder why they struggle so mightily on that end of the floor. Milwaukee dominated Orlando on the road in their first meeting this season, 113-91, on October 27. That marked the Bucks eighth win in their last 11 games against the Magic.
January 1,2019 at 7:30 PM
1/19/2019 7:30 PM
Celtics and Hawks Square Off in Peach State Showdown
The Boston Celtics take on the Atlanta Hawks at State Farm Arena on Saturday evening. The Celtics (27-18) bring a shaky 10-13 road record into Saturday's contest, along with a 2-3 record over the last five games. Boston did manage to notch a victory in their most recent contest, as it toppled the Memphis Grizzlies by a 122-116 score Friday night. Kyrie Irving paced the Celtics with 38 points, adding 11 assists, seven rebounds and one block. Marcus Smart went for 20 points, six boards, three assists, three steals and one block. Al Horford posted 18 points, three rebounds and one assist. Jaylen Brown led the bench with 12 points while also registering six boards, one assist and two steals. Terry Rozier generated 10 points, four dimes and one rebound. The Celtics come into Saturday's game without any injuries to report. The Hawks (14-30) continue to experience the typical ups and downs of a rebuilding squad, and accordingly, they'll come into Saturday's game with a 3-3 record over their last six contests. In a testament to their ability to rise to the occasion from time to time against quality opponents, Atlanta shocked the Oklahoma City Thunder by a 142-126 score in their most recent contest on Tuesday night. John Collins led the way with 26 points, adding five rebounds and two assists. Trae Young and Alex Len delivered matching 24-point tallies, with Young adding 11 assists and Len hauling in 11 boards. Kyle Huerter poured in 17 points and added four assists and three rebounds. DeAndre' Bembry finished with 16 points, eight rebounds, six assists and two steals. Vince Carter poured in 11 points off the bench. The Hawks will list Dewayne Dedmon (ankle) as probable for Saturday's game, while Young (illness) and Collins (illness) will both carry questionable tags. Miles Plumlee (knee) and Kent Bazemore (ankle) both remain out. Saturday's game marks the third of four meetings between the teams this season. The Celtics hold a 2-0 series lead, having notched 114-96 and 129-108 wins on Nov. 23 and Dec. 14, respectively.
January 1,2019 at 7:30 PM
1/19/2019 7:30 PM
Grizzlies Travel North of Border to Face Raptors
The Memphis Grizzlies take on the Toronto Raptors at Scotiabank Arena on Saturday evening. The Grizzlies (19-26) continue to see their season spiral downward, and they've been especially inept on the road. Memphis carries an unsightly 8-16 away mark into Saturday's contest, as well as a 1-10 record over their last 11. Their most recent stumble came against the Boston Celtics, which toppled them by a 122-116 margin Friday night. Mike Conley led the way for the Grizzlies with 26 points, adding four assists. Jaren Jackson, Jr. totaled 23 points, four rebounds, one assist and one block. Shelvin Mack tallied 15 points, seven assists, three rebounds and one steal. Justin Holiday supplied 14 points, six rebounds, two assists and four steals. JaMychal Green and Omri Casspi managed matching 12-point tallies while providing two and four rebounds, respectively. The Grizzlies will continue to be without Kyle Anderson (ankle) on Saturday. The Raptors (34-13) continue to dominate the majority of teams put in front of them, a fact that their 6-1 record over the last seven games attests to. However, Toronto likely got more than they bargained for in their most recent contest, a tight 111-109 win over the Phoenix Suns. Serge Ibaka paced the Raptors with 22 points and added six rebounds, one assist and one block. Kyle Lowry filled out the stat sheet with 16 points, nine rebounds, eight assists and two steals. Fred VanVleet delivered 15 points, four assists, two rebounds and one block. C.J. Miles poured in 13 points, while Pascal Siakam managed 10 points, 12 rebounds, five assists, two blocks and one steal, including the game-winning basket. The Raptors will list OG Anunoby (personal) as questionable for Saturday's game, while Jonas Valanciunas (thumb) remains out. Saturday's game marks the second and final meeting between the teams this season. The Raptors hold a 1-0 series lead, having notched a 122-114 win Nov. 27.
January 1,2019 at 8:00 PM
1/19/2019 8:00 PM
Heat and Bulls Battle at United Center
The Miami Heat takes on the Chicago Bulls at United Center on Saturday night. The Heat (21-22) will head into the heart of Winter Storm Harper on Saturday, as they try to snap a two-game losing streak that includes a 98-93 defeat at the hands of the Detroit Pistons on Friday evening. Dwyane Wade led the way for the Heat with 20 points, adding eight assists and four rebounds. Tyler Johnson supplied 16 points, five rebounds, three dimes and one block. Justise Winslow supplied 15 points, nine rebounds, two assists and one steal. Rodney McGruder managed 11 points, four rebounds, four assists and one steal. Bam Adebayo pitched in nine points, six rebounds, one assist and one block. Hassan Whiteside mustered just eight points but hauled in 10 rebounds. The Heat will likely list Josh Richardson as questionable at best with the illness that cost him Friday's game. Goran Dragic (knee) remains out. The Bulls (10-35) come into Saturday's contest looking to snap a nine-game losing streak that most recently includes a 135-105 defeat at the hands of the Denver Nuggets on Thursday night. Lauri Markkanen led the way for Chicago with 27 points, adding 10 rebounds and one assist. Robin Lopez provided 17 points and six boards. Jabari Parker supplied 15 points, three rebounds, two assists and one block. Chandler Hutchison furnished 12 points, five rebounds and one steal. Bobby Portis mustered a modest 10 points but hauled in 13 rebounds and dished out four assists. Zach LaVine had just eight points on 4-for-15 shooting. The Bulls will list Shaquille Harrison (illness) as questionable for Saturday's game, while Wendell Carter, Jr. (thumb) remains out for several weeks. Saturday's game marks the second of three meetings between the teams this season. The Heat holds a 1-0 series lead, having notched a 103-96 win Nov. 23.
January 1,2019 at 8:30 PM
1/19/2019 8:30 PM
Harden Looks To Lift Rockets Once Again
The Houston Rockets play host to the Los Angeles Lakers at Toyota Center on Saturday evening. This marks the third and final game of a home stand for the Rockets (25-19), where they have gone 1-1 so far, with a win over the Grizzlies, followed by a loss to the Nets in their most recent contest. Despite 58 points, 10 rebounds and six assists from James Harden, the Rockets fell in overtime to the Nets, for a heart-breaking home loss. Nonetheless, their impressive streak is still in tact, as they have won six of their last 10 games, mostly thanks to incredible play from the league's reigning MVP. Harden is averaging 43.6 points, 9.3 assists, 8.8 rebounds, 1.9 steals and 1.1 blocks per game over his last 10 games, as he is doing everything to keep his team afloat while missing Chris Paul, who remains sidelined. Things will get tougher for the Rockets going forward, as Clint Capela (thumb) has been ruled out for 4-6 weeks. On a positive note, Eric Gordon (knee) returned to action in the Rockets' most recent contest, and made an immediate impact with 20 points in 21 minutes of action. Meanwhile, the Lakers (25-21) remain without LeBron James (groin) and Rajon Rondo (hand), but have managed to stay in the clear so far, as they are 5-5 in their last 10 games, and have won their last two in a row. Kyle Kuzma is a major key in the Lakers' success without LeBron, as he is their next-best offensive option. Kuzma led the team with 32 points in their most recent win, and is averaging 19.0 points on 47 percent shooting this season. Brandon Ingram averages 16.2 points on 46 percent shooting, while Lonzo Ball is averaging 9.9 points, 5.4 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 1.5 steals per game. The Lakers have won two of their last three road games, and are 10-12 on the road this season.
January 1,2019 at 10:00 PM
1/19/2019 10:00 PM
Nuggets Play Host to Shorthanded Cavaliers
The Denver Nuggets play host to the Cleveland Cavaliers at Pepsi Center on Saturday. The Cavaliers (9-37) have had a nightmare season and it's only gotten worse with this murderer's row of a schedule. On this current west coast trip, Cleveland has had to play the Utah Jazz, Portland Trail Blazers, Los Angeles Lakers, New Orleans Pelicans, Houston Rockets and now the Denver Nuggets all on the road. That would be a tough stretch for any team, let alone the one that owns the worst record in the NBA. The talent on this roster was weak before all of these injuries but that's made it even worse. They are now without Kevin Love, Larry Nance Jr. and Tristan Thompson, who are arguably the three best players on this team. That's left this frontcourt very thin, as it's time for players like Ante Zizic and Jaron Blossomgame to step up in their absence. There are some promising young pieces in the backcourt though, with Collin Sexton and Jordan Clarkson showing signs of promise in what's been a dark season. The Nuggets (30-14) own a 19-4 home record this season, as that's one of the best marks in the NBA. That's something that this franchise has done throughout their tenure, as they love to use the altitude to their advantage. It used to be run-and-gun basketball but it's turned more into a defensive showdown. In fact, Denver sits top-six in both points allowed and defensive efficiency. That's something you rarely see from Denver teams and it's a great sign for the future. What's even better is the fact that this team is slowly getting healthier, with Will Barton, Paul Millsap and Gary Harris all back in action. That leaves Isiah Thomas and Michael Porter Jr. as the only missing pieces and no one really knows when those two will return. It's all about Nikole Jokic though, as his triple-double exploits have him in contention for MVP consideration. He's the straw that stirs the drink for this team and he's one of the most unique players in recent memory with his special skill set. Denver dominated Cleveland in their first meeting this season, with the Nuggets prevailing, 110-91, on the road.