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Posted Dec 27, 2013 6:15 PM - Updated Dec 27, 2013 6:44 PM
• Nets coach Jason Kidd said Andray Blatche will miss the next four games due to personal reasons.
• Kidd also changed the Nets starting lineup. Shaun Livingston will join Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. Mirza Teletovic will return to the bench, while Mason Plumlee and Reggie Evans should see increased time with Blatche out.
• Evans, Plumlee and Garnett will have to work to contain Bucks center Larry Sanders, who returns after a 25-game absence following thumb surgery.
• The Thunder will be without Russell Westbrook until possibly after the All-Star break. The Oklahoma City point guard underwent successful arthroscopic surgery on his right knee today it was announced by the team. Westbrook had been having swelling of late and after evaluation moved forward with the surgery. It is the third surgery that Westbrook has undergone since tearing his lateral meniscus in April. Westbrook is averaging 21.3 points, 6.0 rebounds, 7.0 assists and 1.8 steals in 25 games this season. Thunder coach Scott Brooks announced before the game that Reggie Jackson would start in his place against Charlotte. "We're going to be good team with him and we'll be a good team without him," Brooks said. "We play well when we defend and when we share the ball well. We'll have to do those things tonight and I expect that we will. Everybody is going to have to chip in tonight for that to happen."
• Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had his cast removed from his left hand today. The Bobcats forward had been sidelined with a broken hand since earlier this month. He has not yet been cleared to practice. Charlotte coach Steve Clifford indicated that it was not safe for him to catch ball yet. "This is just the first step in the process," Clifford said. In addition to Kidd-Gilchrist, the Bobcats are without Jeffery Taylor for the rest of the season with a ruptured right Achilles tendon and don't expect Brendan Haywood (stress fracture, left foot) back until mid-February at this moment.
• If Washington can win tonight, it will be their fourth straight road victory, a feat they have not accomplished since March 2008. Washington defeated the Timberwolves 104-100 at Verizon Center on November 19, but Minnesota has won the last three games at Target Center.
• Washington guard, John Wall enters the game having scored 20+ points in four consecutive games for the first time in his career. He is third in the NBA in assists (9.1 apg) and fourth in steals (2.24 spg).
• Minnesota forward, Kevin Love ranks first in the NBA in rebounding (13.9 rpg) and third in scoring (25.9 ppg). He is averaging 31.3 points, 14.4 rebounds, and 4.6 assists per game over his last eight contests. In the Wolves' last game, a road loss against the Clippers on December 22, he scored 45 points, grabbed 19 rebounds, and dished out six assists.
• Carmelo Anthony remains out with a sprained ankle after missing the Christmas Day blowout loss to Oklahoma City, and likely won't fly to Toronto for Saturday's game. "He's gotta continue to go through treatment and when he's ready to play, he'll let us know," coach Mike Woodson said.
• Woodson declined comment on a report that owner Jim Dolan told the team there would be no trades or coaching changes. "I'm not here to discuss in-house matters," he said.
• Iman Shumpert is a gametime decision with a contused left thigh. Assuming he can't play, the Knicks will start Beno Udrih, J.R. Smith, Kenyon Martin, Andrea Bargnani and Tyson Chandler.
• The Knicks remain without their top two point guards, Raymond Felton (groin) and Pablo Prigioni (toe). Prigioni said Thursday he hopes to be back in about a week. "He's still day-to-day as well," Woodson said of Prigioni.
• Pistons center Andre Drummond leads the NBA is offensive rebounds with 157, only 30 fewer than the Miami Heat. "Defensively, we've got to keep them off the boards," Vaughn said. "It's not going to be just our bigs rebounding the basketball."
• Veteran guard Chauncy Billups, who does not play back-to-backs at this stage of the season, has chosen to play Saturday at Washington instead of tonight against the Magic.
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