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

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NBA Game Previews for October 23, 2017
October 23, 2017 at 7:00 PM ET

Sixers Take on Pistons in Motown Showdown

By Juan Carlos Blanco

The Philadelphia 76ers travel to Motown to take on the Detroit Pistons at Little Caesars Arena on Monday night. The Sixers (0-3) remain in search of their first win, and they've notably suffered back-to-back double-digit losses while surrendering a robust 116.4 points per contest overall. Their most recent setback came at the hands of the Toronto Raptors, who blasted them by a 128-94 margin on Saturday night. Ben Simmons, who's been one of the bright spots in the tough start, led the way with an 18-point, 10-rebound double-double that also included eight assists. Jerryd Bayless followed with 16 points, three rebounds and a steal. No other starter managed double-digit scoring, with Amir Johnson (six points), J.J. Redick (six points) and Robert Covington (five points) turning in underwhelming performances. Justin Anderson paced the bench with 12 points and a rebound, while Jahlil Okafor, seeing his first playing time of the young season due to Joel Embiid sitting for rest, supplied 10 points, nine boards and two blocks in 22 minutes off the bench. Dario Saric was productive off the bench as well, totaling nine points, seven rebounds and an assist. The Sixers check into Monday's game with no injuries of note. The Pistons (2-1) have emerged victorious in two of their first three games of the new season, with their most recent win a thrilling 111-107 victory over the New York Knicks on Saturday night. Detroit overcame a 64-51 halftime deficit to secure the win, with Tobias Harris' 31 points, six rebounds and one assist leading the way. Andre Drummond followed with a 21-point, 12-rebound double-double that also included one assist, one steal and one block. Reggie Jackson contributed 16 points, seven assists and three rebounds. Stanley Johnson filled up the stat sheet with nine points, eight rebounds and two assists. Ish Smith led the bench with 10 points, three assists and a steal. The Pistons check into Monday's contest with Dwight Buycks (hip) as their one injury of note. Monday's game will be the first of four contests between the teams this season. The next game will take place in Philadelphia on Dec. 2.

Posted on October 23, 2017 at 12:40 AM ET      Updated on October 23, 2017 at 1:01 AM ET

October 23, 2017 at 7:30 PM ET

Hawks and Heat Do Battle in South Florida

By Juan Carlos Blanco

The Atlanta Hawks travel south to take on the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena on Monday night. The Hawks (1-2) have yet to play a home game this season, and the road hasn't been very kind to them thus far. After a six-point victory in Dallas in the opener, Atlanta has dropped the next two, with their most recent defeat coming at the hands of the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday afternoon by a 116-104 margin. Marco Belinelli, who's proven to be an excellent offseason acquisition thus far, paced the Hawks with 19 points, three assists and two rebounds in 31 minutes off the bench. Dennis Schroder followed with 17 points, eight assists, four rebounds and two steals, but had to be carried off the floor due to a foot injury. Kent Bazemore provided 16 points, three rebounds, three assists and one block. Rookie John Collins generated a 14-point, 13-rebound double-double that also included one block. Ersan Ilyasova and Taurean Prince managed matching nine-point tallies, with the former adding seven rebounds and two steals and the latter supplying one rebound, one assist and one steal. Dewayne Dedmon contributed seven points and seven rebounds. Schroder will be doubtful for Monday's contest due to his injury, with Malcolm Delaney, who logged 23 minutes Sunday, likely to draw the start at point guard in his stead. The Heat (1-1) notched their first win of the season on Saturday night, besting the Indiana Pacers by a 112-108 score in their home opener. Goran Dragic led the way with 23 points, five rebounds and three assists. Dion Waiters posted 19 points, two assists, one rebound, two steals and one block. James Johnson started at power forward and generated 14 points, eight assists, four rebounds and a game-high five blocks. Josh Richardson supplied 12 points, eight rebounds and four assists. Kelly Olynyk, who's thrived in his short Heat tenure, led the bench with 13 points, nine rebounds, four assists, two steals and a block in 27 minutes off the bench. The Heat check into Monday's contest with no injuries of note. Monday's game marks the first of four meetings between the clubs this season. The next contest will unfold in Atlanta on Dec. 18.

Posted on October 23, 2017 at 12:54 AM ET      Updated on October 23, 2017 at 1:04 AM ET

October 23, 2017 at 8:00 PM ET

Memphis Travels To Face Houston

By Joel Bartilotta

The Memphis Grizzlies travel to Texas to play the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center on Monday. The Grizzlies (2-0) have been one of the most impressive teams in the league thus far, as they've defeated the New Orleans Pelicans and Golden State Warriors by double-digit margins in their first two games. The Mike Conley and Marc Gasol duo have been fantastic in this quick start, as they are combining for 42.5 points, 16.0 rebounds, 8.0 assists, 1.5 steals and 2.5 blocks per game. Gasol seems likely to continue that success against Houston as well, as he averaged 19.8 points, 5.0 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 1.3 steals and 2.5 blocks per game in four matchups against them last season. Much of the talk around Memphis in the offseason was that they were wanting to run a more up-tempo offense and that seems to be the case thus far, averaging 107 points per game in their first two games. If they can pair that sort of offense with their stingy defense, Memphis may be a surprise team in the West this season. The Rockets (3-0) are one of the only teams who have looked as good as the Grizzlies, as they also come into this matchup with a perfect record. The resume is just as impressive too, with Houston also beating the Golden State Warriors. One discouraging factor is the loss of Chris Paul, as he's expected to miss at least two weeks due to a knee injury that carried over from the preseason. That's a huge loss, but it's got to be a promising sign that the Rockets are still winning games without him. It's back to the James Harden show, as his 27.7 points and 8.7 assists per game are nice follow-ups to his amazing 2016-17 campaign. The season series between these teams has been incredibly close over recent years, with the Grizzlies and Rockets splitting their four-game season series in five of the last six seasons.

Posted on October 22, 2017 at 8:27 PM ET      Updated on October 23, 2017 at 1:39 AM ET

October 23, 2017 at 8:00 PM ET

Antetokounmpo and Bucks Host Hornets

By Joel Bartilotta

The Milwaukee Bucks play host to the Charlotte Hornets at BMO Harris Bradley Center on Monday. The Hornets (1-1) have a 12-point loss and an 18-point win under their belt, as it's hard to tell exactly where they are right now. The one thing that is certain is the fact that Kemba Walker is the man in Charlotte. In fact, Walker is averaging 25.0 points and 6.5 assists per game this season. Those would both be career-highs for the UConn product, as he'll need to continue to post these gaudy numbers in the absence of Nicolas Batum (elbow). The Hornets are also looking forward to the return of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who has missed the first two games due to a personal matter. Unfortunately, he has already been ruled out for this game, as he still needs to get in some practice before being game ready. With those two out, Jeremy Lamb has been starting and playing some of the best ball of his career. The Bucks (2-1) have a star on the rise, as Giannis Antetokounmpo continues to add admirers with his sparkling play. His last game might have been his most impressive, as he dropped a career-high 44 points in a win over the undefeated Portland Trail Blazers. The final 30 seconds of that game showed how special Antetokounmpo truly is, as he recorded a steal, block and dunk in the final 30 seconds to decide the outcome of that game. He showed his resiliency too, as he missed two critical free-throws prior to that incredible final 30 seconds. For the season, Antetokounmpo is now averaging 38.3 points, 9.7 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 2,7 steals per game. Those are MVP caliber numbers, as Antetokounmpo is aiming to become the first Milwaukee MVP since Kareem Abdul-Jabar in 1972. Milwaukee won this three-game season series last year, as they took down the final two matchups against the Hornets by even 10-point margins.

Posted on October 22, 2017 at 10:17 PM ET      Updated on October 23, 2017 at 1:37 AM ET

October 23, 2017 at 8:30 PM ET

Warriors Look To Get Back On Track

By Dan Bruno  

The Dallas Mavericks play host to the Golden State Warriors, at American Airlines Center on Monday evening. Although it is very early in the season, if the playoffs were to start today, neither of these teams would be involved. The Mavs (0-3) have dropped their first three games, while the Warriors (1-2) have been humbled twice in their first three games. The electrifying rookie Dennis Smith Jr. is listed as questionable for action due to a sore knee, while Seth Curry will remain out with shin soreness. The Mavs are coming off a loss in Houston on Saturday, where they shot a sub par 37 percent from the field, but managed to hit 13-of-31 (42 percent) from long range. The two smallest guys on the court, Yogi Ferrell and J.J. Barea each had 19 points in the loss. Harrison Barnes totaled 14 points in 31 minutes, while Nerlens Noel was quiet with four points and five rebounds, in 16 minutes off the bench. The Mavs could be in for their fourth straight loss, unless they come firing on all cylinders. Meanwhile, the Warriors have not enjoyed a fantastic start either. They are coming off a 10-point loss in Memphis on Saturday, where Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry were both ejected late in the game for their reactions towards game officials. The Warriors were held to 39 percent shooting in the game and gave up 17 turnovers in the loss. They will be looking to bounce back in this one, as guys like Curry and Durant will have to lock in and set the example.

Posted on October 22, 2017 at 5:24 PM ET      Updated on October 23, 2017 at 1:42 AM ET

October 23, 2017 at 8:30 PM ET

Undefeated Raptors, Spurs Clash In San Antonio

By Dan Bruno  

The San Antonio Spurs play host to the Toronto Raptors, at AT&T Center on Monday evening. It is set to be a battle of contrasting styles considering the Raptors (2-0) have scored an average of 122.5 points per game so far this season, while the Spurs (2-0) have held opponents to only 88.0 points per game. The Raptors have won both their games so far this season by blowout proportions, however the opponents were not top-tier. The challenge that will come in San Antonio will surely be new and require a renewed focus. DeMar DeRozan was fantastic in his last game with 30 points in only 27 minutes. C.J. Miles has been excellent so far for the Raptors, as he provides good veteran stability on the second unit. Jonas Valanciunas left the Raptors last game on Saturday with a sprained ankle and is listed as day-to-day. Lucas Noguiera came up big filling in for Valanciunas, with 10 points and nine rebounds in 16 minutes. Meanwhile, the Spurs are still without Kawhi Leonard (quad) and Tony Parker (quad), who have yet to play a game this season. Some would say that it is a disadvantage to be without your starting point guard and best player, but the Spurs have managed well so far in their first two games of the season. LaMarcus Aldridge was great in each of the first two games, finishing with 28 points and 10 rebounds in the Spurs' win on Saturday. So far Dejounte Murray and Kyle Anderson have filled in the starting lineup in place of the injured stars, and have done a fine job. Rudy Gay is playing the sixth man role for the Spurs and has also shown well to begin the season.

Posted on October 22, 2017 at 6:19 PM ET      Updated on October 23, 2017 at 1:44 AM ET

October 23, 2017 at 9:00 PM ET

Wizards Start Four-Game Road Trip Against The Nuggets

By Juan Pablo Aravena  

The Washington Wizards will travel to the West to play the Denver Nuggets at Pepsi Center on Monday night. The Nuggets (1-1) dropped their season-opening game against the Utah Jazz, 106-96, on the road this past Wednesday, but bounced back to beat the Sacramento Kings, 96-79, in their home opener on Saturday night. This game against the Wizards represents the end of a short two-game homestand, and the Nuggets will certainly try to get the most out of it. They have enjoyed some decent performances in the beginning of the season, as free-agent acquisition Paul Millsap (who is averaging 18.5 points and 7.5 rebounds per game so far) has formed an impressive frontcourt partnership with Nikola Jokic. Both players will be key throughout the season if the Nuggets want to have a shot at reaching the playoffs in the Western Conference. Meanwhile, the Wizards (2-0) are undefeated this season thanks to wins against the Philadelphia 76ers and the Detroit Pistons last week, although both came at home. The Wizards' schedule is about to get a lot harder, however, as Monday's tilt against the Nuggets represents the start of a four-game road trip to the Western Conference. Aside from visiting Denver, the Wizards will play against the Los Angeles Lakers, the Golden State Warriors, and the Sacramento Kings over the next seven days. Their play has not been overly impressive thus far, as both wins have come by five points or less. But their Big Three of John Wall (27 points and nine assists per game), Bradley Beal (25 PPG) and Otto Porter Jr. (19 points and 8.5 rebounds per contest) has saved them so far. As long as these three are hot, the Wizards will be a tough team to beat.

Posted on October 22, 2017 at 7:26 PM ET

October 23, 2017 at 10:00 PM ET

Kings Look to Bounce Back Against Demoralized Suns

By Jason Rubin  

The Sacramento Kings will visit the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena on Monday. The Suns fired Head Coach Earl Watson following the team's 0-3 start to the season, which included two 45-plus point blowouts against the Trail Blazers and the Clippers. Jay Triano will be the interim head coach and will look to salvage the ghastly start to the season behind one of last season's breakout guards, Devin Booker. Phoenix's interior defense was a spectacle in their most recent 130-88 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, as DeAndre Jordan was able to go untouched around the rim through most of the game. Tyson Chandler was able to crash the glass on the box score with 14 rebounds, but the help defense from rookie Josh Jackson and TJ Warren was non-existent, evidenced by their plus-minus score dropping into the negative 20's. Booker has been the focal point of the offense and has averaged 16.7 points and 4.0 assists through the first three games of the season. However, those numbers are a drop off from his 2016-2017 campaign where he finished the season with 22.1 points per game on 42.3 percent shooting from the field. The Kings (1-2) also boast a youthful core looking to build for the future. Sacramento was competitive in their opener against the Houston Rockets where they lost by just five points before bouncing back for a 93-88 victory over the Dallas Mavericks. Most recently, Sacramento dropped a game on the road against the Denver Nuggets and will look to bounce back to close out a three-game road trip. Summer acquisition George Hill leads the team in scoring with 13.7 points per game. However, rookie point guard and top-10 overall pick, De'Aaron Fox, has shown off brilliant speed in his appearances off the bench, while also leading the team with 5.3 assists per game. Through three games, Fox has logged 26.3 minutes per game and is shooting 46.3 percent from the field, in addition to 50 percent from behind the arc. The Kings have yet to find a groove on offense, and although it is a small sample size, their defensive rating currently ranks 12th in the league, which is a good sign for Sacramento given their average age of the roster being on the younger side of the league.

Posted on October 23, 2017 at 12:11 AM ET      Updated on October 23, 2017 at 1:53 AM ET