January 1,2019 at 12:30 PM
1/21/2019 12:30 PM
Knicks Host Thunder on MLK Day
The Oklahoma City Thunder travel to The Big Apple to play the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Monday. The Thunder (27-18) come into this matchup losing five of their last seven games, as that's the worst stretch of the season since an 0-4 start. The most recent win is one to build off of though, as Oklahoma City went into Philly and snatched a win at the buzzer from a talented Sixers team. This has really turned into one of the scariest teams in the league because of their one-two punch, with Russell Westbrook and Paul George well on their way to another all-star appearance. George has been especially good, as he's setting career-high numbers across the board. Those two have this club top-10 in both scoring and points allowed, as they're one of the only teams in the league who hold that distinction. The Knicks (10-34) come into this matchup losing 18 of their last 20 games, as that stretch has likely ended any pursuit for playoff hopes. It's no surprise when considering the statistics, with New York sitting 23rd in scoring, 30th in assists and 27th in points allowed. The fact that they're without Kristaps Porzingis (knee) just adds to the downfall, as there really hasn't been many updates on his status. If there's a silver lining, it's the fact that they've found some solid role players to build around Porzingis, with players like Emmanuel Mudiay and Noah Vonleh having breakout seasons. New York is going with a strategy of accumulating first-round busts and these two appear to be great finds. Players like Mario Hezonja and Trey Burke have shown some signs too, as the Knicks are desperate to find a diamond in the rough. It's a fascinating strategy and Knicks fans will go for anything at this point. The first game between these teams was a lopsided one, with the Thunder prevailing, 128-103, on November 14. That marked Oklahoma City's fifth win in their last six games against New York.
January 1,2019 at 1:00 PM
1/21/2019 1:00 PM
Cavaliers Host Bulls in Battle of Bottom-Dwellers
The Cleveland Cavaliers play host to the Chicago Bulls at Quicken Loans Arena on Monday. The Bulls (10-36) come into this matchup losing 10-straight games, as they're simply not playing competitively. In fact, Chicago is losing by an average of 16.2 points per game in that span, with numerous ugly losses. It's easy to see why when looking at the offensive statistics, with the Bulls sitting 29th in scoring and 27th in assists. That's unacceptable when you have offensive studs like Kris Dunn, Lauri Markkanen and Zach LaVine, as one has to wonder if it's this system that's slowing them down. The hits just keep coming too, as Wendell Carter Jr. is expected to miss 8-12 weeks due to thumb surgery. That's the prized rookie that this team wanted to lean on and it'll give more opportunity to players like Bobby Portis and Robin Lopez. The losses will probably keep coming quickly but this is a great opportunity for them to snap this ugly 10-game slide against the worst team in the league. The Cavaliers (9-38) are the only team in the league who own a worse record than the Bulls, as they simply don't have the personnel to match up with NBA teams. It's one thing if LeBron James and Kyrie Irving leave town but it's another when you're three best players get injured after that. What's even more discouraging about that is the fact that all three of those guys are frontcourt players, with Kevin Love, Larry Nance Jr. and Tristan Thompson all currently injured. That's way too much to overcome from an already dismantled roster and it has them in line to land yet another top-pick. The statistics speak for themselves, with the Cavaliers sitting 26th in scoring, 26th in rebounding, 29th in assists and 23rd in points allowed. That's obviously a recipe for disaster, as Cleveland comes into this matchup losing 16 of their last 17 games. The fans just want to see more development from players like Jordan Clarkson and Collin Sexton, as that's the only silver lining in what's becoming a dark season. These teams have had lopsided season series over recent years, with Chicago winning both of their meetings this season. Cleveland actually swept the four-game season series last year, which followed up the Bulls sweeping the four-game season series the year prior.
January 1,2019 at 2:00 PM
1/21/2019 2:00 PM
Bucks Looking For Fifth Straight Win
The Milwaukee Bucks play host to the Dallas Mavericks, at BMO Harris Bradley Center on Monday afternoon. The Bucks (33-12) are in a groove, as they have won eight of their last 10 games, including their last four in a row. They remain neck-and-neck with the Raptors for the top spot in the East. The Bucks have won seven of their last eight games at home, where they are 20-4 this season, which is tied for the best home record in the league. Giannis Antetokounmpo leads the Bucks, averaging 26.4 points, 12.5 rebounds, 6.0 assists, 1.4 blocks and 1.4 steals per game. Eric Bledsoe has been playing great as well, averaging 15.7 points, 5.6 assists, 4.4 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game, while Khris Middleton is averaging 17.4 points, 5.7 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.1 steals per game. The Bucks are averaging 117.6 points per game, which is second most in the league, and are holding opponents to an average of 107.6 points per game. Meanwhile, the Mavs (20-25) have dropped seven of their last 10 games, including their last three in a row. They have dropped three of their last four road games, and are just 4-19 on the road this season. Luka Doncic continues his impressive play this season, averaging 20.0 points, 6.7 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 1.2 steals per game. Doncic was ejected from the Mavs' last contest for kicking the ball into the stands, but will be back in action on Monday. DeAndre Jordan keeps up the good work in the middle, averaging 11.0 points, 13.9 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.0 blocks per game, while Harrison Barnes is averaging 18.1 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game. The Mavs are averaging 109 points per game, and are giving up an average of 109 points per game.
January 1,2019 at 2:00 PM
1/21/2019 2:00 PM
Wizards Host Pistons on MLK Day
The Washington Wizards play host to the Detroit Pistons at Capital One Arena on Monday. The Pistons (20-25) come into this matchup winning three of their last five games, as they're hopeful that's the start of a positive run. The reason for that is their recent struggles, with Detroit losing 16 of their previous 20 games before this mini-surge. The most recent loss was an absolute collapse though, with the Sacramento Kings prevailing 103-101 thanks to a Buddy Hield game-winner. The Pistons led for almost the entirety of that game, as they allowed the Kings to win in comeback fashion. Losses like that can be devastating but the Pistons can't allow that to deter them from going forward. The status of Andre Drummond is obviously a huge part of their success, as he continues to be in the concussion protocol. Losing the leading rebounder in the league would hurt any team and they'd be ecstatic to see him return here. The Wizards (19-26) own a 6-3 record across their last nine games, as they're slowly climbing back into playoff contention. It comes at a surprising time too, as Washington is without John Wall. Without their all-star point guard, Washington has chosen to ride Bradley Beal and he's played the best basketball of his career. It's not just him though, as this roster is full of wings. Their best players are Beal, Trevor Ariza, Otto Porter Jr, Tomas Satoransky and Jeff Green and it's a wonder if they can succeed without any point guard or any center. That would make you think their defense is tough with all those lengthy players out there but the Wizards currently sit 29th in points allowed. They need to improve that if they want to stay in contention, as another missed playoffs would be extremely disappointing for the Wizards. Detroit prevailed in their first game against Washington this season, 106-95, on December 26. Prior to that, the Wizards won nine of their previous 12 games over the Pistons dating back four years.
January 1,2019 at 3:00 PM
1/21/2019 3:00 PM
Magic Look To End Three-Game Slide
The Atlanta Hawks play host to the Orlando Magic, at State Farm Arena on Monday evening. The Hawks (14-31) have dropped seven of their last 10 games, including a home loss against the Celtics in their most recent contest. This marks the fourth and final game of a home stand for the Hawks, where they have gone 1-2 so far, with an impressive win over the Thunder, and losses to the Bucks and Celtics. The Hawks are 8-12 at home this season. Trae Young continues to impress in his rookie season, averaging 16.0 points, 7.2 assists, 3.1 rebounds and 0.9 steals per game. John Collins is also having a great season, as he leads the team, averaging 19.0 points, 10.4 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game. Rookie, Kevin Huerter has been playing well lately, averaging 15.9 points, 3.9 assists and 3.7 rebounds per game, over his last nine games. The Hawks are giving up an average of 117.7 points per game, which is worst mark in the league. Meanwhile, the Magic (19-27) have dropped seven of their last 10 games, including their last three in a row. The Hawks have dropped their last five road games, and are 7-14 on the road so far this season. The Magic are averaging 103.9 points per game, which is fourth lowest in the league. The Magic sit one place ahead of the Hawks in the standings, but hold a significant 4.5-game lead. Nikola Vucevic leads the Magic, averaging 20.3 points, 11.9 points, 3.8 assists, 1.1 blocks and 1.0 steals per game. D.J. Augustin is averaging 11.6 points, 4.8 assists and 2.1 rebounds per game, while Terrence Ross is playing well as a sixth man, averaging 13.9 points, 3.1 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 0.9 steals per game.
January 1,2019 at 3:30 PM
1/21/2019 3:30 PM
Nets Look To Stay Hot
The Brooklyn Nets play host to the Sacramento Kings at Barclays Center on Monday evening. This marks the first game of a three-game home stand for the Nets (24-23), who are 12-11 at home this season. They have won seven of their last 10 games, including their last three in a row. The Nets have moved up to sixth place in the East, with a 0.5-game lead over the seventh seed. D'Angelo Russell has been playing great this season, exemplified by his performance in the Nets' most recent win, where he tallied 40 points, seven assists and two rebounds. Russell is averaging 19.0 points, 6.4 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game. Jarrett Allen continues to play well, averaging 11.8 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.6 blocks per game. DeMarre Carroll has been playing his best ball of the season lately, averaging 16.0 points on 45 percent shooting, 5.6 rebounds and 1.8 assists over his last 10 games. Meanwhile, this marks the third game of a six-game road trip for the Kings (24-22), where they are 1-1 so far, with a loss in Charlotte and a win in Detroit in their most recent contest. The Kings are 10-12 on the road this season. They sit 10th place in the West, just 1.0 games behind the eighth seed, and given the bunched up conference, just 8.0 games out of first. Buddy Hield has been playing great for Sacramento, with 35 points, nine rebounds and three assists, including the game-winning bucket in the Kings' last contest. Hield is averaging 20.5 points on 48 percent shooting, 4.9 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game. De'Aaron Fox is averaging 17.6 points, 7.3 assists, 3.6 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game, while Willie Cauley-Stein is averaging 13.4 points, 8.9 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.2 steals per game.
January 1,2019 at 5:30 PM
1/21/2019 5:30 PM
Pelicans Battle Grizzlies in MLK Day Showdown
The New Orleans Pelicans take on the Memphis Grizzlies at FedEx Forum on Monday afternoon. The Pelicans (21-25) come into Monday's contest not exactly in the best of spirits, as they've not only dropped three of their last four games, but they've also lost Anthony Davis for the next 1-2 weeks due to a sprained index finger. Their most recent stumble came at the hands of the Portland Trail Blazers, which bested them by a 128-112 score on Friday night. Davis led the way with 27 points, adding seven rebounds, two assists and one block before suffering his injury. Jrue Holiday supplied 20 points, six assists, two rebounds and one steal. Julius Randle managed 19 points, nine rebounds, four assists, two blocks and one steal. E'Twaun Moore generated 17 points and two rebounds. Nikola Mirotic delivered 13 points, three rebounds, two assists and two blocks. Davis is the only injury, albeit a monumental one, for the Pelicans going into Monday's game. The Grizzlies (19-27) aren't exactly in great shape themselves coming into Monday's contest, as they've dropped five consecutive games, and 11 of their last 12 overall. Memphis' most recent disappointment came at the hands of the Toronto Raptors, which walloped them by a 119-90 score on Saturday night. Jaren Jackson, Jr. paced the Grizzlies with 16 points, supplementing them with nine rebounds and one assist. Shelvin Mack collected 14 points, five assists, three rebounds and one steal. Ivan Rabb registered 13 points, 11 rebounds, one assist and one block. Mike Conley collected 10 points, three assists, two rebounds and one steal. Garrett Temple and Omri Casspi pitched in matching eight-point tallies. The Grizzlies will continue to be without Kyle Anderson (ankle), Chandler Parsons (knee) and Joakim Noah (personal) on Monday. Marc Gasol (back) will listed as probable. Monday's game marks the third of four meetings between the teams this season. The series is tied 1-1, with the Grizzlies notching a 107-103 win Dec. 7 and the Pelicans countering with a 114-95 victory Jan. 7.
January 1,2019 at 6:00 PM
1/21/2019 6:00 PM
Heat and Celtics Battle in MLK Showdown
The Miami Heat takes on the Boston Celtics at TD Garden on Monday evening. The Heat (22-22) come into Monday's contest as winners in three of their past five contests. Their most recent victory came at the expense of the Chicago Bulls, which they toppled by a 117-103 margin on Saturday night. Josh Richardson returned from a one-game absence due to an illness to lead the way with 26 points. He added three rebounds and two assists. Dion Waiters tallied 21 points, six boards and two assists. Tyler Johnson and Dwyane Wade managed matching 14-point efforts. Wade added 10 rebounds and seven assists. Justise Winslow supplied 11 points, five rebounds, four assists and one steal. James Johnson generated 10 points, three boards, two assists and one steal. Hassan Whiteside offered six points but hauled in 10 rebounds, dished out three assists and recorded three blocks. The Heat will continue to be without Goran Dragic (knee) on Monday. The Celtics (28-18) are on a modest but encouraging run heading into Monday's contest, as they've won three straight games, and seven of their last 10 overall. Boston's most recent success came against the Atlanta Hawks, which they defeated by a 113-105 score on Saturday night. Kyrie Irving paced the Celtics with 32 points, adding five assists, three rebounds and one steal. Jayson Tatum turned in 19 points, five rebounds, two assists, three blocks and one steal. Jaylen Brown followed with a bench-leading 14 points, supplementing that total with four rebounds, two assists and three steals. Al Horford delivered 13 points, nine boards and two blocks. Terry Rozier managed nine points, 11 rebounds, four assists, three steals and one block in 29 minutes off the bench. Marcus Morris generated eight points on 3-for-10 shooting. He added seven boards, one assist, one steal and one block. The Celtics come into Monday's game without any injuries to report. Monday's game marks the second of four meetings between the teams this season. The Heat owns a 1-0 lead, having notched a 115-99 win Jan.10.
January 1,2019 at 8:00 PM
1/21/2019 8:00 PM
Rockets Hit the Road to Tangle With 76ers
The Houston Rockets take on the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center on Monday night. The Rockets (26-19) come into Monday's contest in the midst of an inconsistent stretch, as they're just 4-4 over their last eight games. Houston's most recent victory was a rousing 138-134 overtime win against the Lakers on Saturday night, a contest in which the Rockets overcame a sizable deficit. James Harden led the way with 48 points and also posted eight rebounds, six assists, four steals and one block. Eric Gordon supplied 30 points, five rebounds and four assists. James Ennis III delivered 18 points, three rebounds, one assist and one block. Gerald Green poured in 17 points to lead the bench. The Rockets will continue to be without Chris Paul (hamstring) and Clint Capela (thumb) on Monday. Brandon Knight (knee) will be questionable, while Kenneth Faried (waiver acquisition) is unlikely to be ready in time to play in Monday's contest. The 76ers (30-17) have been a lot more consistent than their Monday opponent in recent games, as they've managed a 7-3 record over their last 10 games. However, they fell to the Oklahoma City Thunder by a 117-115 score in their most recent contest Saturday night. Joel Embiid paced the Sixers with 31 points, adding eight rebounds, six assists and one block. J.J. Redick poured in 22 points and also offered two rebounds, one assist and one steal. Ben Simmons had a near triple-double, supplying 20 points, 15 rebounds, nine assists and one block. Jimmy Butler delivered 18 points, four assists, three rebounds, two steals and two blocks. The 76ers will list both Embiid (back) and Butler (wrist) as questionable for Monday's game. Markelle Fultz (shoulder), Zhaire Smith (foot) and Justin Patton (foot) remain out. Monday's game marks the first of two meetings between the teams this season. They split the two-game series in the 2017-18 campaign.
January 1,2019 at 9:00 PM
1/21/2019 9:00 PM
Trail Blazers, Jazz Face Off in Utah
The Portland Trail Blazers will visit the Utah Jazz at Vivint Smart Home Arena on Monday evening. Both teams are among the league's hottest heading into Monday's tilt. The Trail Blazers (28-19) have won six of their last eight, including two straight. Portland boasts the league's eighth-highest offensive rating, thanks in no small part to the contributions of Damian Lillard. Lillard is averaging a team-high 26.1 points per game and led Portland with 24 points in its most recent win, which came against New Orleans. The Blazers have also seen increasingly strong production from big man Jusuf Nurkic. Nurkic has been dominant since the start of the new year, averaging 16.3 points, 11.4 rebounds, and 4.4 assists per game. Nurkic and the Blazers will face a tough test in Utah, though, as the Jazz (26-21) boast a six-game win streak and the league's top defense since the start of December. Anchoring the team's strong defense, as always, has been reigning Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert. Gobert is currently averaging career highs in scoring (15.0 points per game), rebounding (13.1 rebounds per game), and assists (2.2 per game), in addition to his team-high average of 2.0 blocks. The Jazz have also begun to turn things around offensively after entering December with a bottom-five offensive rating in the league. Utah has improved to 20th in offensive efficiency and has scored 110 or more points in four of its last five games.
January 1,2019 at 10:30 PM
1/21/2019 10:30 PM
Warriors, Lakers Square Off For First Time Since Christmas
The Golden State Warriors will visit the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on Monday evening. Los Angeles (25-22) earned a 127-101 win the last time these two teams squared off. Unfortunately for the Lakers, they also lost LeBron James, who suffered a groin injury in the third quarter of that game. James has been out of the lineup since, and LA has gone just 5-8 in his absence. Most recently, the team took a gut-wrenching 134-138 loss to Houston in overtime on Saturday. That loss included another significant injury for the Lakers, as point guard Lonzo Ball exited the game after turning his ankle. The Lakers did, however, enjoy another strong performance from their top non-LeBron scorer, Kyle Kuzma, who scored 32 points despite the team coming up short. LA will once again be without James (groin) and Rajon Rondo (finger). Lonzo Ball will also be out of the lineup following his ankle injury on Saturday. Golden State (32-14) is back in a familiar spot, as a seven-game win streak has brought the Warriors to the top of the Western Conference standings once again. The Warriors have also added a new weapon to their arsenal, as star big man DeMarcus Cousins made his season debut against the Clippers on Friday. After signing with Golden State in July and spending the first half of the season rehabbing from a torn Achilles, Cousins scored 14 points in just 15 minutes of play before fouling out on Friday. The former Sacramento and New Orleans star added six rebounds, three assists, a block, and a steal in the win. Cousins joins a star-studded Warriors cast that already includes perennial All-Stars Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, and Steph Curry, who is averaging 33.4 points per game since the start of January.