Posted Dec 18, 2013 6:45 PM - Updated Dec 18, 2013 9:54 PM
• Anthony Davis will make a surprising return to the starting lineup when the Pelicans play the Clippers tonight at Staples Center, the team announced before the game. Davis, who averages 18.8 points and 10.2 rebounds, sustained a fracture in his left hand Dec. 1 against the Knicks and was initially expected to miss 4-6 weeks. As recently as two days ago, it was reported Davis could return closer to Christmas. New Orleans went 3-4 with their 6-10 post player out of the lineup, so he'll be a welcome addition against the Clippers and power forward Blake Griffin, who enters the game fifth in the league in points in the paint (290).
• Heat forward LeBron James (ankle) announced before the game he would play tonight. He was a game-time decision after missing the morning shootaround.
• Tyson Chandler returns for the Knicks after missing the previous 20 game with a broken leg. Knicks coach Mike Woodson said he doesn't have a minutes limit for Chandler. "Not really," Woodson said. "He's going to kind of lead me, and then I'll act accordingly. He thought early on he might be a little winded but we'll just have to gauge him to see how he's doing."
• The Rockets (16-9) will play without Jeremy Lin (back spasms) for the second game in a row, but James Harden was able to shake off the left ankle sprain he suffered during Sunday's loss at Sacramento and will start. McHale said Lin is receiving constant treatment and making progress in his rehabilitation, but it is still too soon to determine when the 6-foot-3 guard will be available again.
• Tony Parker will miss the game with a shin bruise. Otherwise the Spurs are healthy. Cory Joseph is expected to replace Parker as the Spurs' starting point guard.
• Heat forward Michael Beasley (hamstring) will his sixth straight game. He is doubtful for Friday's game against the Sacramento Kings.
• After missing Tuesday night's game against the Lakers, Mike Conley (left thigh contusion) will once again not be in action when the Grizzlies take on the Mavericks Wednesday night at the American Airlines Center.
• Bucks rookie Giannis Antetokounmpo, just 12 days past his 19th birthday, will make his first NBA start tonight. Antetokounmpo will start at shooting guard in place of O.J. Mayo, who is not with the team to attend his grandmother's funeral. "I don't know if I'm ready; we'll find out tonight," Antetokounmpo said with a smile.
• Chase Budinger (knee) is active for the first time this season for the Timberwolves.
• Since the trade of Rudy Gay, the Toronto Raptors have shot 45 percent or better in a season-high four straight games. Through the first 18 games of the season, Toronto shot over 45 percent only five times."I think trust in the pass," Raptors coach Dwane Casey said about his team's offense. "No disrespect to anybody in the trade, I think just the mentality clicked in. The ball's moving, the ball's hopping and the defence can't hone in on one guy standing there dancing with the basketball for three or four seconds. The ball is finally clicking and moving and guys are making quick decisions."
• Arron Afflalo, the NBA's No. 10 scorer at 21.6 points per game, is sick and will not play for the Magic. Afflalo is the only Magic player to have started the first 25 games. "He's been probably our most efficient and consistent player this year," said coach Jacque Vaughn.
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