***** NBA Previews from The Sports Network *****
Wednesday, December 11th
(All times Eastern)
ORLANDO MAGIC (6-15) AT CHARLOTTE BOBCATS (10-11), 7 P.M.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Orlando Magic look to close out an unsuccessful road
trip when they visit the Charlotte Bobcats Wednesday night.
The Magic are 0-5 on the six-game journey and suffered a 94-85 loss at Memphis
Monday night even though all five starters scored in double figures. Andrew
Nicholson had 19 points, 11 rebounds and a career-high-tying four blocked
shots, while Jameer Nelson scored a season-high 19 points.
Arron Afflalo and Glen Davis scored 17 and 16 points, respectively, and rookie
Victor Oladipo ended with 10 points for Orlando, which has dropped six in a
row overall and made 40 percent of its shots. The Magic trailed by as many as
23 points in the first half and have a lowly 1-10 road record this season.
"It's at the point where we can't even be mad. I'll never get used to losing.
We just have to move on to the next game. I'm not paying much attention to
anything other than the scoreboard right now," Afflalo said.
Magic center Nikola Vucevic missed his fourth consecutive game with a sprained
left ankle and is doubtful for Wednesday. Vucevic is posting averages of 14.7
points and a team-leading 10.9 rebounds per game.
Orlando will host Cleveland on Friday before returning to the road for back-
to-back games in Oklahoma City and Chicago.
Meanwhile, the Bobcats hope to close out a perfect three-game homestand
Wednesday and have won two straight since losing four of five games.
In Monday's 115-111 victory over the Golden State Warriors, Kemba Walker
poured in 31 points, Gerald Henderson added 24 and Josh McRoberts scored 11
points to go along with 10 rebounds and six assists. Walker is averaging 23.0
points per game in his last four and Henderson is posting an average of 18.8
ppg in his past five contests.
The Bobcats survived despite being outscored, 70-62, in the second half. They
posted season highs in points (115) and field goals (43), and had held 13
straight opponents under 100 points.
"We had a cushion and they made their run, but we made them fight and we were
able to execute and win the game," said Charlotte head coach Steve Clifford.
"This was the best game these guys played this season, so far."
Charlotte prevailed without swingman Jeffrey Taylor (bruised left heel) and
center Bismack Biyombo (sprained ankle) out of the lineup. Biyombo is
questionable versus the Magic and Taylor is listed as doubtful.
After entertaining Orlando, the Bobcats will visit Indiana on Friday before
returning to Time Warner Cable Arena for two straight home games versus the
Los Angeles Lakers and Sacramento Kings.
The Bobcats took three of four meetings with the Magic last season, but
Orlando is 15-5 over the past 20 encounters. The Magic have won eight of the
last 10 games in Charlotte.
LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS (14-8) AT BOSTON CELTICS (10-13), 7:30 P.M.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The storyline for Wednesday's matchup between the Los
Angeles Clippers and Boston Celtics at TD Garden is not the possible debut of
Clips forward Stephen Jackson.
Clippers head coach Doc Rivers probably had this game circled on his calendar
when he took over the job in Los Angeles during the offseason, as he will make
his anticipated return to Beantown. Rivers guided the Celtics to an NBA
championship during his tenure and was traded to the Clippers for a first-
round draft pick under Boston GM Danny Ainge's rebuilding process.
Rivers, who recently tacked on the 600th win of his career, talked about his
return to where his coaching prowess took flight.
"Wednesday will be nice, very nice for me. I put nine years in there, nine
wonderful years," Rivers said Monday night. "It'll be great to see, hell I
wouldn't say all my players, but there's not a lot left, but there are some.
It'll be great to see all the people that have worked there. I made some great
friends that will be friends for life."
Rivers complied a 416-305 (.576) coaching record while with the Celtics..
Clippers star forward Blake Griffin discussed the situation as well.
"It's one of those things as players we want to rally around him and win this
game for him," Griffin said. "It's important when guys come back to their home
city or come back to a place where they used to play or coached or whatever it
is, it's a good feeling to come back and have a successful trip."
The Clippers have alternated wins and losses through the first four games of
their 13-day, seven-game sojourn and recorded a 94-83 victory in Philadelphia
Monday night. Chris Paul had 25 points and 13 assists, Griffin scored 26
points and DeAndre Jordan muscled his way to 21 rebounds with 11 points for
L.A., which won despite making 42.7 percent from the floor and 5-of-27 3-
pointers. Jared Dudley finished with 10 points and the Clips are 8-1 when he
has that many this season.
Rivers still wasn't too pleased for allowing the Sixers to make it close.
"We had chances to pull away and we didn't," Rivers said. "I thought we got
loose late in the third quarter. We went away from what we were doing. It's a
good lesson for us."
Los Angeles is 7-0 this season when Paul scores at least 20 points and
improved to 26-3 when he has 20 or more points with at least 10 assists.
Clippers reserve Jamal Crawford scored eight points and has made 32 free
throws in a row dating back to Nov. 23. He has the Clippers' franchise
record with 58 consecutive free throws made from Nov. 3-Dec. 9, 2012.
Jordan is second in the NBA with 13.3 rebounds per game and has grabbed at
least 12 boards in a game 16 times this season.
Meanwhile, Jackson joined the Clippers this week and hasn't played in the NBA
since being waived by San Antonio just prior to the start of last season's
playoffs. Jackson's addition was made necessary by injuries to wing players
J.J. Redick, Matt Barnes and rookie Reggie Bullock. Redick is expected to be
sidelined well into January by a fractured hand and a torn ulnar collateral
ligament in his elbow, while Barnes hasn't played since Nov. 18 due to a
The Clippers are 6-6 on the road and will also visit Brooklyn and Washington.
Boston had its three-game winning streak come to an end with Tuesday's 104-96
loss at the Nets and had the luxury of facing Deron Williams, who returned
from a nine-game absence and scored a season-high 25 points to go with seven
assists. Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, playing against their former team for
the first time, tallied 11 and four points, respectively, in the win.
Avery Bradley led a balanced Boston scoring attack with 22 points, while Jeff
Green registered 19 points and six rebounds for the Celtics, who were 4-1 in
the previous five games and done in by a 10-0 Brooklyn run after a 60-60
score. The run then extended to 25-8 for an 85-78 Nets' lead.
The Celtics pulled to within five points in the final two minutes.
"We still had a chance," Green said. "We battled ourselves back and had a
chance at the end of the game but (ran out of gas). We always give ourselves a
chance to win the game. No matter how much time is left, we're going to fight
until the end."
The Celtics will now begin a five-game homestand versus the Clippers, New
York, Minnesota, Detroit and Washington, and have won three in a row in
Beantown. Boston is 5-5 at TD Garden this season.
Boston and the Clippers split a pair of meetings last season with each team
winning as the host. The Clippers haven't played so well in Boston recently,
losing four of five and 11 of 15 games there.
CHICAGO BULLS (8-11) AT NEW YORK KNICKS (5-15), 8 P.M.
(SportsNetwork.com) - New York Knicks head coach Mike Woodson may be getting
hot under the collar, but would like to see how his team performs playing with
a full deck.
Woodson is hoping some key contributors return from injury soon for the
Knicks, as they return home from a beating in Cleveland to host the Chicago
Bulls Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden.
New York center Tyson Chandler is nearing a return from a broken fibula and
forward Kenyon Martin hopes to get back on the floor soon because of an ankle
"Hopefully Kenyon will play tomorrow (Wednesday). He's talking about playing
so we'll see how he feels tomorrow," Woodson said. "Tyson is working to make
his way back and hopefully I'll get a full deck and see where we are."
The Knicks could have used some muscle inside in Tuesday's 109-94 loss to
Kyrie Irving and the Cavaliers. Irving lit up the Knicks for 37 points on 14-
of-23 shooting and handed out 11 assists.
Woodson was asked how tough it is to guard Irving.
"He's tough. One-on-one he's tough, especially when you're keeping the ball in
the middle of the floor," Woodson said. "He causes havoc on anybody and
tonight he was making them all over the place."
Carmelo Anthony is no slouch by any stretch of the imagination and led the
Knicks once again with 29 points, making 12-of-19 from the floor. Amare
Stoudemire and J.R. Smith led the Knicks' bench with 15 and 14 points,
respectively, while Andrea Bargnani struggled to 11 points on 5-of-17
shooting. Woodson talked about Bargnani's struggles.
"He had a lot of good ones (looks). You can't tell him to stop shooting them
because again he's a young man who can make shots for you," Woodson said. "He
didn't have it tonight."
The Knicks, who scored 27 points on 15 Cleveland turnovers and are 2-11 in the
past 13 games, made only 4-of-5 free throws and the Cavaliers went 16-of-22
from the stripe. New York is now 5-15 on the season and last in the Atlantic
"This is all new to me. I've never started a season this way, 5-15," said
Stoudemire. "The only way for me to deal with it is to continue to get better,
stay positive, keep working hard and see what happens."
New York is 2-8 at Madison Square Garden this season. In other injury news for
the Knicks, point guard Raymond Felton left Tuesday's game with a hamstring
injury and had six points to go along with three assists in Cleveland. Felton
is day-to-day and could rest for Wednesday's home tilt with Chicago.
The Bulls are back on the road for two straight games and went 1-3 on a recent
homestand, which was culminated by Tuesday's 78-74 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks
at the United Center.
Mike Dunleavy led the Bulls with 24 points and Carlos Boozer added 21 and 12
rebounds. Boozer is averaging 20.3 points in his last three games for the
Bulls, who shot just 37.3 percent for the game and turned the ball over 18
times, leading to 25 Milwaukee points.
"The main thing is we have to play hard and compete and grind it out,"
Dunleavy said. "That's a mindset thing. That's not a skill thing."
Chicago, which lost five of six games on a recent road trip, has dropped eight
of 10 games overall and will also visit the Bucks on Friday with revenge in
mind. The Bulls are only 2-8 outside the Windy City and hope to have forwards
Luol Deng (calf/Achilles) and Joakim Noah (thigh) back soon. Deng leads the
team with 19.4 ppg and has scored 20 or more points in six straight games,
averaging 26.2 points in that time.
Deng is just one of three players (Kevin Durant, Kevin Love) posting averages
of 19.0 ppg, 7.0 rpg and 4.0 apg this season.
The Bulls defeated the Knicks, 82-81, at the United Center on Oct. 31 this
season and were led by Derrick Rose's 18 points. Rose, of course, is expected
to miss the rest of the regular season after undergoing another knee surgery.
Anthony had 22 points in that one for New York, losers in six straight, nine
of 10 and 11 of the previous 14 matchups between the teams.
Chicago and New York have split the last 12 meetings at MSG and were expected
to compete for one of the top seeds in the Eastern Conference.
DETROIT PISTONS (10-12) AT NEW ORLEANS PELICANS (9-10), 8 P.M.
(SportsNetwork.com) - At least the Detroit Pistons don't have much time to
dwell on their recent lopsided loss when they pay a visit to the New Orleans
Pelicans Tuesday night.
The Pistons were slammed by the Minnesota Timberwolves, 121-94, on Tuesday at
The Palace of Auburn Hills in the return of Kevin Love, who was out due to the
death of his grandmother. Love led the T'Wolves with 26 points and 16
rebounds, while Brandon Jennings' 20 points paced the Pistons.
Josh Smith scored 17 points and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope added 16 points in
Detroit's second straight loss after a four-game win streak.
"We have to go back to the drawing board, we have a game tomorrow so we have
to get ready for that one," Caldwell-Pope said. "We have to just let this one
go and get ready for the next game."
Pistons rising star Andre Drummond was held to eight points and eight boards,
and entered the game averaging 18.3 points and 17.5 rebounds in his past four
games. Greg Monroe finished with 10 points in defeat.
On the bright side, Detroit has won four in a row on the road for a 5-5 mark
away from The Palace.
New Orleans has dropped three in a row in the Big Easy and will resume a four-
game homestand Tuesday. It is 0-2 on the homestand after losses to Dallas and
Oklahoma City, and is coming off Friday's 109-95 setback to the Thunder.
Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook scored 29 and 25 points, respectively, for
Oklahoma City and Serge Ibaka added 17 points and 13 rebounds.
The Pelicans were led by Ryan Anderson's 18 points and both Eric Gordon and
Jrue Holiday chipped in 16. Tyreke Evans added 11 points off the bench for New
Orleans, which had won six of eight games before the recent slide and
committed 16 turnovers for 24 OKC points.
"I don't know if we got away from it or if we were just a bit intimidated
because we were missing so much," said Pelicans coach Monty Williams.
Evans is expected to miss one to two weeks with a sprained left ankle for a
Pelicans squad already toiling without young star Anthony Davis because of a
broken bone on his left hand.
New Orleans will wrap up the homestand Friday versus Memphis and is 5-5 in the
Crescent City this season. It took both meetings with Detroit a season ago and
is 6-3 in the previous nine games in this series.
Detroit has lost its last four trips to the bayou.
PHILADELPHIA 76ERS (7-15) AT MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES (10-11), 8 P.M.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Minnesota Timberwolves will try to keep their
momentum going Tuesday night when they welcome the Philadelphia 76ers to
The Wolves crushed the Detroit Pistons, 121-94 on Tuesday at The Palace of
Auburn Hills. That victory halted a two-game losing streak, although Minny has
dropped two straight at home.
Kevin Love returned to the Wolves lineup after missing Saturday's game due to
the death of his grandmother. He finished with 26 points, 16 rebounds and
"It's really a holy place for me and it has been my whole life. Any time I've
had some sort of adversity, it's the best way to get back," Love said. "I
always say my work ethic is my weapon. That's always been a way to get through
any adversity. It was great to get back out there."
Nikola Pekovic and Kevin Martin both scored 18 points, followed by 15 from
Ricky Rubio. Corey Brewer added 11 and J.J. Barea chipped in 10 points off the
The Wolves shot 45.8 percent from behind the 3-point line and had 31 assists
on 41 made field goals.
Minnesota hits the road for three straight, starting Friday in San Antonio.
The Sixers leave Philly for a two-game trip and they do so the losers of three
in a row, seven of eight and 11 of 13. They are just 1-8 on the road and the
lone victory came in their first road game in Washington on Nov. 1.
On Monday, the Sixers were game, but fell to the Los Angeles Clippers at home,
94-83. Philadelphia trailed by 20 during the third quarter, but fought back
and made things interesting.
Evan Turner led the way for the 76ers with 25 points. Thaddeus Young added 16
and was the only other Philadelphia player in double figures. Young pulled
down 11 rebounds and Tony Wroten, who is starting in place of the injured
Michael Carter-Williams, had 10 boards.
"In a real twisted way, I love it. I really enjoy coaching this group," said
Philadelphia head coach Brett Brown. "By and large, our team has played a
style of play and played with an aggression that I am proud of."
Carter-Williams has missed the last three games with a right knee issue caused
by an infection. Brown indicated Carter-Williams will travel with the team,
but he's not expected to play on Wednesday.
The Sixers head north to Toronto on Friday to finish the trip.
The Timberwolves have won three straight against the 76ers and are 10-2 in
their last 12 against Philly at home.
SAN ANTONIO SPURS (16-4) AT MILWAUKEE BUCKS (5-16), 8 P.M.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The San Antonio Spurs complete a short road trip
Wednesday night when they visit the Bradley Center to take on the Milwaukee
The Spurs are only gone for two games, including Tuesday's 116-103 victory
over the Toronto Raptors. They return home for the Minnesota Timberwolves on
Friday, then head west for four games.
San Antonio used a balanced attack to defeat the Raptors, although Toronto was
short-handed thanks to a recent trade which sent Rudy Gay to the Sacramento
Kings. None of the four newly-acquired Raptors played on Tuesday.
The Spurs shot 55 percent from the floor and had seven players score in double
figures, including four off the bench.
Manu Ginobili was San Antonio's leading scorer with 16 points, while Tony
Parker managed 15 points. Tim Duncan, Danny Green and Aron Baynes all finished
with 14, which was a career-high for the unheralded Baynes.
"Baynes did a great job," Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich said. "He hasn't
played that much but he went down to the D-League and played a few games to
stay in shape, kept himself ready and it showed tonight."
Marco Belinelli netted 12 and Patty Mills chipped in 11 points.
The Bucks earned a nice road victory on Tuesday, a 78-74 win in Chicago over
the Bulls. It was Milwaukee's second consecutive road win, but the Bucks have
lost two in a row at home.
The Bucks trailed heading into the fourth quarter against the Bulls, but took
the final 12 minutes, 23-17.
John Henson was a monster on Tuesday night. He's been starting in place of
Larry Sanders and against Chicago, Henson finished with 25 points, 14
rebounds, six blocks and three steals.
"We just kept fighting," Henson said. "As a young team, a scrappy team out
here, that's what we got to do."
Brandon Knight scored 19 points and grabbed 10 boards and Ersan Ilyasova was
the only other Milwaukee player in double figures with 10 off the bench.
Fatigue may be an issue for the Bucks on Wednesday. With Caron Butler, Sanders
and Zaza Pachulia out for a while, and with Gary Neal sidelined with plantar
fasciitis in his left foot, Henson, Knight and Mayo all logged over 40
The Spurs swept both of last season's meetings with Milwaukee and have taken
six of the last seven. The two teams have split the last eight matchups in
OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER (16-4) AT MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES (10-10), 8 P.M.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Oklahoma City Thunder will look for a measure of
revenge Wednesday night when they head to FedExForum to meet the Memphis
In last season's Western Conference semifinals, the Grizzlies eliminated the
Thunder in five games, robbing Oklahoma City a chance of another trip to the
Yes, the Thunder were without All-Star guard Russell Westbrook, but the
Grizzlies held OKC under 100 points in all five games en route to their first
Fast-forward almost six months and things are going very well for the Thunder.
They've won three straight and share the third-best record in the league.
Memphis is floundering around .500 and is missing its best player, center and
reigning Defensive Player of the Year, Marc Gasol.
The Thunder's winning streak reached three on Tuesday night when they
dispatched the Atlanta Hawks, 101-92. That was the start of a short road trip
which ends Wednesday night.
It wasn't an easy victory as twice the Thunder built double-digit leads in the
fourth quarter, and twice the Hawks cut it three. Each time, OKC responded
both with solid offense and even better defense.
"We always tell each other, 'weather the storm', no matter what," Kevin Durant
said. "If they close the lead or if we're down 20, we just weather the storm,
keep working and keep pressing. We took it a possession at a time and when
they cut it to three, we were able to just settle down, get stops and make
shots as well."
You'll never guess who led the Thunder in scoring. It was the NBA's leading
scorer, Durant, who piled up 30 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, a steal and
Serge Ibaka finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds, while Russell Westbrook
netted 14 points and handed out 11 assists. Reggie Jackson and Jeremy Lamb
both scored in double figures off the bench.
The Grizzlies halted a two-game slide Monday night with a 94-85 home victory
over the Orlando Magic. Wednesday's tilt with the Thunder ends a six-game
homestand where Memphis is only 2-3 thus far. The Grizzlies went 32-9 at home
last season, which was a franchise record.
Zach Randolph paced the Grizz with 19 points and 12 rebounds. Jon Leuer came
off the bench with 16 points, while Mike Conley and Jerryd Bayless both
cracked the 10-point mark.
Memphis played once again without Gasol and starting two-guard Tony Allen, who
is listed as day-to-day with a hip contusion. Ed Davis is also day-to-day with
a left ankle sprain.
The Grizzlies found out Monday that swingman Quincy Pondexter suffered a
tarsal navicular stress fracture in his right foot and will be out
In regular-season meetings between the two, the Grizzlies have won three of
the last four and four of the last six in their own building.
UTAH JAZZ (4-19) AT SACRAMENTO KINGS (6-13). 10 P.M.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The new-look Sacramento Kings will unveil their newest
addition, Rudy Gay, Wednesday night when they welcome the Utah Jazz to Sleep
Gay was acquired alongside Quincy Acy and Aaron Gray on Monday in exchange for
Greivis Vasquez, John Salmons, Patrick Patterson and Chuck Hayes. All three
new Kings are expected to play on Wednesday.
"I have a couple guys with me that came with me. It's a new beginning," Gay
told reporters before Sacramento's win over the Dallas Mavericks. "I've been
saying it all day. They have a lot of young pieces and I'm glad to be a part
Gay averaged 19.4 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 18 games this season
for the Raptors. He was shooting a career-low 38.8 percent
With four players on the way out, the Kings were short-handed against the
Mavs, but still prevailed, 112-97. Sacramento had only 10 available players,
but snapped a four-game home losing streak.
"We didn't care if we had 10 or 15 players, we had enough talent to win this
game," Kings coach Michael Malone said. "Our next challenge is to figure out
the new guys and how they're going to play and at what position."
Gay and another newcomer, Derrick Williams, are expected to start at the
forward spots, alongside DeMarcus Cousins, rookie Ben McLemore and Isaiah
Thomas, who started Monday night in place of Vasquez.
Against the Mavs, Cousins scored 32 points and grabbed 19 rebounds. Williams
had a career-best 31 points and Thomas added 24 and 12 assists. Jason
Thompson, who is expected to come off the bench now, chipped in 10.
The Jazz have dropped four straight, including Saturday night to the Kings,
but only one was on the road. On Monday, Utah lost at home to the Portland
Trail Blazers, 105-94 to lose their third in a row in Salt Lake City.
Utah was in it against Portland, trailing by only five with 90 seconds to go.
Nicolas Batum and Damian Lillard nailed consecutive 3-pointers to push the
lead to 11 and put the game out of reach.
"You play good 'D' for like 22, 23 seconds, and they hit the crazy shots. It's
tough, but that's basketball. We just need to learn how to close the games,"
said Jazz center Enes Kanter.
Alec Burks led the way for the Jazz with 20 points off the bench. Kanter added
19 followed by 17 from Gordon Hayward. Trey Burke finished with 15 and Richard
Jefferson chipped in 13 points.
Derrick Favors missed the contest with lower back soreness.
The Kings have taken four of the last six meetings between the teams and four
of the last five in Sacramento.
DALLAS MAVERICKS (13-9) AT GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS (12-10), 10:30 P.M.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Golden State Warriors return home Wednesday night
from an unsuccessful road trip to welcome the road-weary Dallas Mavericks to
The Warriors went 1-2 on a recent trek east and are just 6-8 as the visitor.
They are 6-2 at Oracle Arena, where they will play seven of the next nine
"Great teams are great on the road and at home, especially when you know
you're better than the other team," said Warriors guard Klay Thompson.
Golden State lost big in Houston, then won big in Memphis, but the rubber
match of the trip came in the form of a 115-111 loss in Charlotte Monday
The Warriors were down double-digits, but tied it in the fourth quarter. They
didn't have enough left in the tank as Charlotte went on a 15-4 run. Steph
Curry wouldn't let his team going away completely and cut the deficit to two
with 11 seconds left, but Kemba Walker made two free throws to secure the
victory for the Bobcats.
Curry was brilliant in his hometown with 43 points.
"It was a fun game, but very disappointing," said Curry. "It's early in the
season, but this game stings a bit more than the rest. It's tough to drop a
key road game at this point in the season, it just happened to be in
Thompson finished with 22 points, followed by 14 apiece from Harrison Barnes
and David Lee, who also grabbed 16 rebounds. Andrew Bogut pulled down 12
Wednesday's game will end a four-game road trip for Dallas. It started great
with a win in New Orleans and a very impressive victory in Portland, but the
Mavs laid an egg on Monday with a 112-97 loss in Sacramento.
"I don't think we took them lightly, I think they just outplayed us," Dallas
coach Rick Carlisle said. "It was one of those nights where they made a lot
more plays than we did."
The Kings only had 10 available players due to the impending Rudy Gay trade,
but Dallas couldn't handle DeMarcus Cousins, Derrick Williams and Isaiah
Thomas. That trio went off for a combined for 87 points.
Monta Ellis led the way for the Mavs with 21 points, followed by 17 from Dirk
Nowitzki. Jose Calderon added 11 and Shane Larkin scored 10 off the bench.
The Mavs shot 39 percent from the field and a disastrous 5-for-27 from long
Dallas beat the Warriors at home on Nov. 27 and has won four of the last six
between the two teams. Golden State has taken three of the last four at home
against the Mavs.
12/11 10:29:19 ET