August 8,2020 at 12:00 PM
8/13/2020 12:00 PM
Wizards, Celtics Meet In Eastern Conference Matchup
The Washington Wizards will play the Boston Celtics on Thursday at Orlando. The Wizards (24-47) have lost their seven games so far in the Orlando bubble and have nothing to play for since their playoff chances are all but gone. They are coming off a 126-113 loss against the Milwaukee Bucks the last time out, making it the third straight game in which they have allowed 115 or more points. Perhaps a silver lining could be the fact that the 113 points were Washington's highest-scoring output since play resumed July 30, but the struggles shouldn't surprise anyone who was following the Wizards season. The absences of Davis Bertans (personal) and Bradley Beal (shoulder), as well as John Wall (out for the season with an Achilles problem), were going to be too much to overcome and that's exactly what has happened. At this point, the Wizards just want to end their season as best as possible and prepare for the 2020-21 campaign. Wall, Beal and Bertans might not be the lone absentees for Washington on Thursday, as Garrison Mathews is out due to personal reasons. The positive news is that point guard Shabazz Napier will be available, most likely off the bench. The Celtics (48-23) have been on the opposite end of the spectrum this season and arrive into this contest on the heels of a 122-107 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies that pushed their winning streak to four games. In fact, the Celtics have gone 5-2 in the Orlando bubble and their lone two defeats have come against the Milwaukee Bucks (July 31) and the Miami Heat (Aug. 4), two of the top contending teams in the Eastern Conference. Brad Stevens simply wants his team to end the regular season on a strong note, but he is not going to take extra risks. Boston already locked up the third seed in the East and is simply waiting to find out which opponent they will face in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. Expect Boston to rest several regulars, including Kemba Walker, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart and Gordon Hayward, although Tatum has been dealing with an ankle problem of late. Daniel Theis has also been ruled out due to a foot injury.
August 8,2020 at 1:30 PM
8/13/2020 1:30 PM
Kings and Lakers Face Off in Seeding Game Finale
The Sacramento Kings take on the Los Angeles Lakers in an NBA seeding game in Orlando on Thursday afternoon. The Kings (30-41) will be wrapping up their season with this contest, as they were eliminated from contention for the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference several days ago. Sacramento was ousted by losing five of their first six seeding games, but ironically, they triumphed over the New Orleans Pelicans with a short-handed squad on Tuesday by a 112-106 score. Harrison Barnes led the Kings with 25 points, supplementing them with eight rebounds, two assists and two blocks. Bogdan Bogdanovic followed with 16 points, seven assists, six rebounds and two steals. Nemanja Bjelica turned in 13 points, five rebounds, two assists, two steals and one block. Harry Giles and Jabari Parker posted matching 12-point contributions, with Parker also hauling in 11 rebounds. Buddy Hield compiled 11 points, three assists and two rebounds. The Kings will likely list De'Aaron Fox (shoulder), Richaun Holmes (hip) and Kent Bazemore (calf) as questionable at best for Thursday's game after all three missed Tuesday's contest against the Pelicans. The Lakers (52-18) haven't exactly been at their sharpest in the restart bubble -- their 3-4 record in seeding games is evidence of such -- but they've done enough to clinch the top seed in the Western Conference and have been managing the health of their top stars carefully. Los Angeles' most recent time on the floor resulted in one of their three Orlando victories, as they notched a 124-121 win over the Nuggets on Monday night. LeBron James paced the Lakers with 29 points, adding 12 assists, one rebound and two blocks. Anthony Davis followed with 27 points, six rebounds, five assists, three steals and two blocks. Kyle Kuzma provided the game-winning basket as part of a 25-point effort and also delivered six boards, three assists and two steals. Dion Waiters and Danny Green furnished 12 and 11 points, respectively. The Lakers are likely to list Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (ankle) as no better than questionable after he missed Monday's game against the Nuggets. Rajon Rondo (thumb) remains out. The two teams have met twice previously this season. The Lakers hold a 2-0 series lead, having notched 99-97 and 129-113 wins on Nov. 15 and Feb. 1, respectively.
August 8,2020 at 4:00 PM
8/13/2020 4:00 PM
Suns Face Mavs In Crucial Contest
The Dallas Mavericks play the Phoenix Suns on Thursday at Orlando. This marks the last regular season game for both teams, as the Mavericks are safe, already having clinched their playoff spot, while the Suns will be fighting for their chances at a postseason. The Mavs are coming off a hard-fought loss against the Trail Blazers on Tuesday, where they gave it their every effort, but they could not stand up to a historic performance by Damian Lillard on the other side of the ball. The loss put the Mavs at a 3-4 record in the bubble, with Thursday as their opportunity to even it out. Despite the loss, Kristaps Porzingis had a strong outing with 36 points on 12-of-17 shooting in 35 minutes, while Luka Doncic added 25 points, 10 assists, eight rebounds and a block, and Tim Hardaway Jr. finished with 24 points, four rebounds and three assists. They also shot well, hitting 52 percent from the field, including 20-of-44 from deep in the contest. Porzingis (heel) and Seth Curry (leg) are both listed as questionable for action on Thursday. Meanwhile, this is a must-win for the Suns, who, with a win, can land the eighth seed or alternatively, can earn a shot at a play-in game from the ninth seed, depending on what happens with the Trail Blazers and Grizzlies contests. The one thing that is certain for the Suns, is that they cannot lose. Devin Booker has been incredible during the restart, exemplified by his performance in the most recent contest, where he led the way for Phoenix with 35 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. The Suns have won seven straight games and will look to keep their amazing push for the playoffs alive by remaining undefeated in the bubble and adding one more win to their seven-game streak.
August 8,2020 at 4:00 PM
8/13/2020 4:00 PM
Bucks and Grizzlies Close Out Seeding Game Schedule
The Milwaukee Bucks take on the Memphis Grizzlies in an NBA seeding game in Orlando on Thursday afternoon. The Bucks (56-16) have long sewn up the top seed in the Eastern Conference and will likely be looking to just get through Thursday's game with all key pieces healthy. It remains to be seen what mix of players will ultimately take the floor, but coach Mike Budenholzer will likely try to get his stars that are healthy at least some work. Milwaukee was successful its most recent time on the floor, as they upended the Washington Wizards by a 126-113 score on Tuesday night, a game in which Giannis Antetokounmpo was ejected for headbutting after playing just 10 minutes. Brook Lopez paced the Bucks with 24 points ,adding three rebounds. Sterling Brown followed with 23 points, two rebounds, two assists and one steal in 30 minutes off the bench. Frank Mason registered 19 points, six assists, five rebounds and two steals. D.J. Wilson managed 11 points and five rebounds, while Patrick Connaughton finished with 10 points, eight rebounds, three assists and one steal. The Bucks will likely list Eric Bledsoe (knee), Khris Middleton (rest), Wesley Matthews (hip) and Donte DiVincenzo (elbow) as no better than questionable after all four missed Tuesday's contest against the Wizards. The Grizzlies (33-39) have almost squandered a golden opportunity in the restarted season, as they lost the hold they had on the No. 8 seed by dropping six of their first seven games in Orlando. They'll enter Thursday needing a win to have a chance at facing the Trail Blazers in a play-in game to determine the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Memphis' most recent stumble came against the Boston Celtics, which toppled them by a 122-107 score on Tuesday night. Ja Morant led the way for the Grizzlies with a 26-point, 13-assist double-double that also included four rebounds, two blocks and one steal. Brandon Clarke furnished 15 points, six rebounds, one assist and one block. Jonas Valanciunas generated a 14-point, 10-rebound double-double that also included steals. Dillon Brooks matched Valanciunas' scoring tally while adding three assists and two rebounds. Grayson Allen led the bench with 12 points, five boards, two assists and one steal. The Grizzlies will likely list Tyus Jones (knee) as out for Thursday's game. The two teams have met once previously this season, with the Bucks notching a 127-114 win back on Dec. 13.
August 8,2020 at 6:30 PM
8/13/2020 6:30 PM
Jazz Play Spurs on Thursday
The Utah Jazz play host to the San Antonio Spurs in Orlando on Thursday. The Spurs (32-38) come into this matchup winning three-straight and six of their last eight games in total. That run has got them right in the thick of things in terms of the playoffs, tied with the Memphis Grizzlies and Phoenix Suns for 9th. All of those teams are half-a-game behind the Portland Trail Blazers in eighth and it's going to be an exciting last two days of the bubble with so much on the line. The amazing thing about this run is the fact that they're doing this without LaMarcus Aldridge. DeMar DeRozan, Derrick White and Dejounte Murray have been superb since entering the bubble and Jakob Poeltl has done a solid job of filling the void that Aldridge has left behind. The Jazz (43-28) really don't have much to play for, locked into that sixth-seed in the west. That appears to be a matchup with the Denver Nuggets in the first round of the playoffs and those two rivals have played each other tough for years. Many people would make them underdogs in that matchup though, especially with the way they're playing right now. They come into this matchup losing five of their last seven games in the bubble, with the only wins being narrow ones over teams that aren't even in the postseason at this point. A lot of that has to do with Bojan Bogdanovic missing but the Jazz aren't getting their leading scorer back until next season, so, they need to figure things out soon. This is the fourth meeting between these teams, with San Antonio winning all three of the previous matchups. In fact, the Spurs are averaging 120 points per game in this series.
August 8,2020 at 9:00 PM
8/13/2020 9:00 PM
Blazers Face Must-Win Game Against Nets
The Portland Trail Blazers will play against the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday at Orlando. The Trail Blazers (34-39) depend on themselves to secure the eighth seed in the Western Conference, as they own a 0.5-game lead over the Memphis Grizzlies, the San Antonio Spurs and the surging Phoenix Suns ahead of their regular-season finale. The Blazers are coming off a 134-131 win over the Dallas Mavericks the last time out and that win was their fourth win in their last five contests, meaning they're playing their best basketball when it matters the most. Perhaps no Blazers player exemplifies that motto better than Damian Lillard -- the star point guard scored 51 points against the Philadelphia 76ers and 61 points against the Mavs in Portland's last two games. He will try to remain hot to carry Portland into the playoffs once again. Trevor Ariza (personal), Rodney Hood (Achilles) and Caleb Swanigan (personal) are all out for the remainder of the season, while C.J. McCollum has been deemed as questionable due to a back problem that has slowed him down over the last few games. The Nets (35-36), on the other hand, have been one of the most pleasant surprises in the Orlando bubble -- they enter this matchup on the heels of a three-game winning streak following their 108-96 victory over the Orlando Magic on Tuesday and have also gone 4-1 in their last five games. That's especially remarkable considering no franchise was more depleted in terms of injuries than the Nets when play resumed July 30. Brooklyn adjusted and clinched the seventh seed in the playoffs, so now it's time for them to gear up ahead of their upcoming first-round series against the Toronto Raptors once the playoffs begin. Kyrie Irving (shoulder), Kevin Durant (Achilles), Spencer Dinwiddie (illness) and DeAndre Jordan (illness) are some of the players that will miss the remainder of the 2019-20 NBA season. However, the team will recover starters Joe Harris, Caris LeVert and Jarrett Allen ahead of Thursday's matchup.
August 8,2020 at 9:00 PM
8/13/2020 9:00 PM
Hobbled Pelicans, Magic Face Off To Close Their Regular Season
The New Orleans Pelicans play the Orlando Magic on Thursday at Orlando. The Pelicans have dropped two in a row and have been eliminated from playoff contention. They enter Thursday's contest for their last action of the 2019/20 season. They are coming off a loss to the Kings, where Jahlil Okafor led the way with 21 points, four rebounds and two blocks. Frank Jackson added 18 points and four assists, while Lonzo Ball totaled 16 points, four assists, three rebounds and two blocks. E'Twaun Moore, Jaxon Hayes and Nickeil Alexander-Walker each saw significant playing time and finished with modest contributions. The Pelicans had very limited success in the bubble restart, with a 2-5 record, as they did their best to make a push for the playoffs, while also facing a couple setbacks with injuries. Zion Williamson (knee), Brandon Ingram (knee) and Jrue Holiday (elbow) will not be in action on Thursday, once again leaving plenty of room for others to finish their seasons with a strong showing. Meanwhile, despite losing their last five straight contests, the Magic have locked up the eighth spot in the East. They do not have a chance to make a push for seventh, so there is nothing on the line for them in this contest. The Magic have been dealing with injuries lately, as Jonathan Isaac (knee) will remain out for the rest of the season, and Aaron Gordon (hamstring) will remain out through Thursday's action. Terrence Ross (rest) and Evan Fournier (illness) are also scheduled to miss the upcoming contest. With many of the starters sidelined guys including Wes Iwundu, James Ennis III, and Khem Birch will continue to see extra minutes and get a chance to move up the rotation for the playoffs. Iwundu led the Magic with 18 points, five rebounds and three assists, in the most recent contest, where James Ennis III and Khem Birch added 12 points each. Nikola Vucevic is expected to be in action but will likely remain on a minutes restriction.