March 3,2019 at 7:00 PM
3/28/2019 7:00 PM
Little Caesars Arena Site for Orlando and Detroit
The Orlando Magic (37-38) have fought tooth and nail over the last several weeks to finally land at the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference, winning six straight games and ousting the former eighth seed Miami Heat on the road on Tuesday, 104-99. A large reason for the Magic's success this season has been some career numbers by Nikola Vucevic, and Tuesday night was no different as he led the way on both ends of the floor with a 24-point, 16-rebound double-double. Vucevic went 10-of-18 from the field and 2-of-5 from deep in the victory, while Aaron Gordon came away with a double-double of his own behind 14 points and 10 boards, going 6-of-17 from the field in the process. D.J. Augustin had 17 points, seven assists and four rebounds, making all but one of his 10 shot attempts from the charity stripe, as Jonathan Isaac finished with 19 points and three triples for an Orlando team that saw all members of its starting five log double digits. The Magic must maintain momentum down the stretch, but face some tough match-ups down the stretch, with games scheduled against the Indiana Pacers, Boston Celtics, and Toronto Raptors, and both the Detroit Pistons and Charlotte Hornets, who have their own plans for the postseason. The Detroit Pistons (37-37) return home from a brutal five-game road trip, one that took them to the West Coast where they lost three straight games against the Portland Trail Blazers, Golden State Warriors, and on Tuesday night, the Denver Nuggets, 95-92. It wasn't for lake of trying from Blake Griffin, who had a double-double and once again lifted the team offensively with 29 points, 14 rebounds, and 12-32 shooting from field goal range. Andre Drummond logged 17 boards to had to a 13-point night of offensive production, going 5-of-15 from the paint, while Reggie Jackson scored 17 points and dished out five assists. Wayne Ellington put up 12 points, all in the form of three-pointers, for a Pistons team that currently sits in seventh place in the East, just a half game ahead of the heat and a half game behind the sixth place Brooklyn Nets. Detroit has a similarly challenging slate heading into April, with a back-to-back series versus the Pacers and a visit from the Hornets.
March 3,2019 at 7:00 PM
3/28/2019 7:00 PM
Sixers Play Host to Nets on Thursday
The Philadelphia 76ers play host to the Brooklyn Nets at Wells Fargo Center on Thursday. The Nets (38-37) come into this matchup losing four of their last six games, as that has put them in contention to fall out of the playoffs altogether. In fact, the Miami Heat are just 2.5 games behind the Nets in ninth and the Charlotte Hornets are just 3.5 games behind in 10th. Brooklyn currently sits in sixth, with the Detroit Pistons half-a-game behind in seventh and the Orlando Magic one game back in eighth. That means five teams are battling for three spots and the form of these other clubs has to have Nets fans somewhat concerned. The fact that Brooklyn is even in playoff contention is an achievement in its own right though, as many experts had this team pegged to finish bottom five at the beginning of the season. That says a lot about the development of this team, as they're in good hands for the future with players like D'Angelo Russell, Jarrett Allen and Caris Levert running the show. The Sixers (47-27) come into this matchup losing two-straight, with both those fixtures coming on the road. It's teams that Philly should have beat too, as those defeats came at the hands of the Atlanta Hawks and Orlando Magic. The play away from home has been a nightmare all season long, with Philly owning an 18-18 road record. They do sit with a 27-9 home record though and that's definitely been one of the strengths of this team. Prior to this mini two-game slide, the Sixers won six-straight games, which catapulted themselves all the way up to third in the east. That's where they sit now, two games up on the Indiana Pacers in fourth. That means homecourt advantage in the first-round is a near guarantee at this point and Philly fans have to be thankful for that after decades of futility. This is the fourth and final meeting between these teams, with Brooklyn winning two of three thus far. The defense has been lacking in this series, with the winner scoring at least 122 points in all three matchups while the loser has scored at least 124 points in two of three.
March 3,2019 at 7:30 PM
3/28/2019 7:30 PM
Mavericks and Heat Face Off in South Florida
The Dallas Mavericks take on the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena on Thursday evening. The Mavericks (29-45) come into Thursday's game in the midst of another losing streak, as they've dropped four of their last five contests. Their most recent stumble came against the Sacramento Kings, which toppled them by a 125-121 margin on Tuesday night. Luka Doncic paced the Mavericks with a 28-point, 12-rebound, 12-assist triple double. Dwight Powell generated a 21-point, 13-rebound double-double that also included three assists and four blocks. Maxi Kleber furnished 17 points, four rebounds, one steal and one block. Jalen Brunson managed 15 points and three assists. Ryan Broekhoff poured in 11 points. The Mavericks come into Thursday's game without any injuries to report. The Heat (36-38) come into Thursday's game having won four of their last six contests. However, one of those two losses during that span came against the Orlando Magic, which toppled them by a 104-99 score on Tuesday night. The loss dropped Miami out of the eighth seed and vaulted Orlando into it. For the Heat, Dion Waiters led the way with 26 points, adding two assists, one rebound and one steal. Dwyane Wade furnished 22 points, seven rebounds, seven assists and three steals. Josh Richardson supplied 17 points, six assists, one rebound and one steal. Hassan Whiteside posted 10 points off the bench, while Bam Adebayo mustered nine points, 11 rebounds, three assists and two steals. The Heat will list Justise Winslow (thigh) and Josh Richardson (heel) as questionable for Thursday's game. Rodney McGruder (knee) remains out. Thursday's game marks the second and final meeting between the teams this season. The Heat owns a 1-0 series lead, having notched 112-101 win Feb. 13.
March 3,2019 at 7:30 PM
3/28/2019 7:30 PM
Knicks Take On Top-Tier Raptors
The New York Knicks play host to the Toronto Raptors, at Madison Square Garden on Thursday evening. This marks the fourth game of a six-game home stand for the Knicks (14-60), where they have gone 0-4 so far. The Knicks are 7-29 at home this season. They sit dead last in the East, having dropped nine of their last 10 games. Emmanuel Mudiay had a solid outing in the Knicks' last contest, as he finished with 26 points, seven assists and six rebounds, in 35 minutes. Mudiay will likely continue to see extended minutes as long as Dennis Smith Jr. (back) remains sidelined. However, Smith Jr. is listed as questionable for action on Thursday. Damyean Dotson has been playing well lately for New York, averaging 16.6 points, 4.2 rebounds and 2.7 assists over his last 10 games. Kevin Knox (ankle) is averaging 13.8 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.4 assists over his last 10 games, but is listed as questionable for action on Sunday. Meanwhile, the Raptors (52-23) will be looking to rebuild some momentum, as they are only 3-3 in their last six games. They are 6-4 in their last 10 games, and sit second place in the East, 4.0 games out of first. the Raptors are 3-2 in their last five road games, and are 22-14 on the road this season. Marc Gasol has been easing his way into the new environment, and is averaging 7.9 points, 7.2 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.3 blocks and 1.0 steals over his last 10 games. Pascal Siakam continues to be a major factor for Toronto, as he is having a career season, averaging 16.8 points, 6.9 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.0 steals per game. Kyle Lowry has been solid all season, averaging 14.7 points, 8.9 assists, 4.7 rebounds and 1.3 steals, while Kawhi Leonard leads the team in scoring, averaging 27.0 points per game.
March 3,2019 at 8:00 PM
3/28/2019 8:00 PM
Kings, Pelicans Clash in Late-Season Action
The New Orleans Pelicans will host the Sacramento Kings at Smoothie King Center on Thursday evening. Sacramento (37-37) has won three of its last four games. It may be a case of "too little, too late" for the Kings, though, as they remain 5.5 games behind the San Antonio Spurs for the final Western Conference playoff spot. Still, the Kings have been playing impressive basketball recently. The team most recently took down the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday. De'Aaron Fox led the way in the win, scoring 23 points and dishing out eight assists. Fox's breakout season has been a major factor in Sacramento's turnaround this season. The sophomore is averaging 17.2 points, 7.2 assists, and 1.7 steals per game this year. He will look to continue his strong play on Thursday. New Orleans (31-45), meanwhile, is in the midst of a pitiful 1-9 stretch over its last 10 games. The team is still reeling from the fallout of superstar Anthony Davis's unfulfilled trade request at the deadline. Davis had played in just six of the team's last 10 contests, and has played only 21 minutes per game when he has suited up. He is considered day-to-day with a back injury and is questionable to play on Thursday, as the team is exercising caution with the star in hopes of trading him this offseason. The team has struggled mightily this season both with and without Davis. New Orleans is allowing the third-most points per game of any team in the league. The shoddy defense has led New Orleans to occupy 12th place in the Western Conference. The team is eliminated from playoff contention but will still hope to end its current three-game losing streak on Thursday.
March 3,2019 at 8:00 PM
3/28/2019 8:00 PM
Rockets, Nuggets Square Off For Final Time
The Houston Rockets will play host to the Denver Nuggets on Thursday at Toyota Center. After a stretch where the Rockets (47-28) saw themselves win 14 of 16 games with the losses coming by a grand total of three points, the team once again met its match Wednesday night against the Milwaukee Bucks. For the second time this season, Houston got beaten fairly handily by the East's best team and have lost both matchups this season by a combined 21 points. Fortunately for the Rockets, they'll now get to play a team that they have managed to find success against this season. While Houston lost its most recent meeting with the Nuggets (50-23) by 14 points in a tough schedule spot in Denver, it won the first two matchups by a combined 22 points; one of which came on the road. Now, while the Rockets clinching a tiebreaker over the Nuggets will likely have zero impact on playoff seeding with only seven games remaining, Houston does have the opportunity to really shake the confidence of this young Denver squad with a victory Thursday night. The Nuggets, however, do still have plenty of motivation heading into their showdown in Houston, as they enter Thursday's contest just a half-game behind the Warriors for the top spot in the Western Conference. The NBA schedule makers didn't do Denver as favors, though, as Thursday kicks off a nine-game stretch where the Nuggets have to go up against seven playoff teams from the Western Conference, and a loss to red-hot Houston could put them in some danger. With that, the Nuggets will need all hands on deck, and that is what they'll have for the most part with a clean injury report other than reserve guard Malik Beasley, who is questionable after missing Tuesday's game due to the birth of his child. That game against the Pistons was a scare for Denver, who blew a 25-point first-half lead but still managed to squeak by Detroit, 95-92.
March 3,2019 at 8:00 PM
3/28/2019 8:00 PM
Bucks Host Surging Clippers
The Los Angeles Clippers will head to Milwaukee on Thursday to play the Bucks at Fiserv Forum. The Clippers (45-30) are rolling through their schedule and peaking at the right time, as the team enters Thursday's contest having won six games in a row and 11 of their last 12. They've also won eight straight games against Eastern Conference opponents, but only two of those have come away from home. Nevertheless, with this winning streak, the Clippers have bolted up the Western Conference standings to the No. 5 seed, where they hold a half-game lead over the Jazz, a one-game lead over the Thunder and a two-game lead over the Spurs. Most importantly, however, they are just two games behind the fourth-place Rockets, making the chance at home court in the first round a real possibility. This makes every game a must-win for this team going forward. As for the Bucks (56-19), with a win Thursday night, they would have the opportunity to clinch a winning record against playoff teams in the Western Conference this season, as they currently boast an 8-6 record with just two such opponents remaining on the schedule. Most recently, Milwaukee is coming off a convincing home victory against the Rockets, 108-94, which extended its home winning streak over Western Conference opponents to six games. But this type of success has stretched out across the entire season, as the Fiserv Forum has been a place where western foes come to die, as the Bucks are an impressive 10-1 at home in interconference matchups with their one loss coming to the Warriors. This will be the second time this season the Bucks and Clippers meet, with the Clippers winning the first game in overtime, 128-126.
March 3,2019 at 8:30 PM
3/28/2019 8:30 PM
Cavaliers Visit Spurs for Late-Season Tilt
The San Antonio Spurs will host the Cleveland Cavaliers at AT&T Center on Thursday. Cleveland (19-56) had looked much better since the All-Star Break, going 7-7 over a 14-game stretch to start the second half of the season. Since then, though, the Cavaliers have dropped three straight games. Most recently, the team took a 10-point loss to the Boston Celtics on Tuesday. Despite the loss, the Cavs saw another strong night from rookie point guard Colin Sexton. Sexton has turned heads since the All-Star Break, as he is averaging 20.7 points per game on 60 percent true shooting during that stretch. Sexton has been a lone bright spot for the Cavs during their otherwise forgettable season. Cleveland ranks 14th in the Eastern Conference and has struggled on offense all year, ranking 29th league-wide in scoring. San Antonio (43-32), meanwhile, is just 1-3 in its last four games after previously winning nine straight. The Spurs need just two more wins to clinch a playoff berth for the 22nd year in a row. However, the team has been in the midst of a mild rough patch recently. On Tuesday, the Spurs fell to the Charlotte Hornets, 116-125. San Antonio struggled defensively, allowing Kemba Walker to pile up 38 points while forcing only six team turnovers. Still, the Spurs are in a solid spot, as the occupy eighth place in the Western Conference and are 5.5 games up on ninth-place Sacramento.