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Posted Dec 29, 2013 6:03 PM
• Thunder All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook will be out an expected seven weeks after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. He walked into the arena tonight on crutches and spoke for a few moments outside the Houston locker room with former teammate James Harden. It's the third procedure Westbrook has had on that knee in eight months. His absence clearly slows down the Thunder offense. This season OKC averaged 107.9 ppg with Westbrook, in the four games they've played without him the offense is scoring just 91.5 ppg. "Our style is definitely going to change," Thunder head coach Scott Brooks told reporters before the game, "we have to make every game a defensive game."
• Last season the Thunder went 3-6 in the playoffs without Westbrook, they're 3-1 in the four games he's missed so far this season. Backup point guard Reggie Jackson will again replace Westbrook in the starting lineup for OKC. In four games this season as a starter Jackson is averaging 10.5 ppg.
• Rockets point guard Patrick Beverley, who crashed into Westbrook causing the initial injury in last season's playoffs, is also out tonight. He's recovering from a broken hand.
• Cavaliers center Andrew Bynum has been excused indefinitely from all team activities, but general manager Chris Grant was only permitted to suspend him for one game under terms of the NBA's collective bargaining agreement. Bynum was suspended Saturday for "conduct detrimental to the team" and missed Cleveland's 103-100 loss in Boston. "What happens next is a question for Chris," coach Mike Brown said. "My focus is on winning the next game and our future with the guys that are here."
• With Bynum certain to be traded or released before his $12 million contract becomes guaranteed on Jan. 7, Cavaliers center Tyler Zeller and rookie power forward Anthony Bennett have moved into their nine-man rotation. "We didn't have enough minutes with Bynum here, but those guys are going to get an opportunity now," Brown said. "I thought Anthony played his best five-minute stretch of the year against Atlanta and Tyler was great in the second half against Boston."
• The Warriors begin their longest road trip of the season -- a seven-game, 11-day East Coast journey -- at Quicken Loans Arena. "When you lay a foundation as a defensive team, your act travels," Golden State coach Mark Jackson said. "It is a long trip, but if we play the way we've been playing and are supposed to, I think we'll be all right." The Warriors are 7-9 on the road this season.
• Point guard Stephen Curry, shooting guard Klay Thompson, small forward Andre Iguodala, power forward David Lee, and center Andrew Bogut comprise the Warriors' starting lineup. Golden State is riding a four-game winning streak.
• The Cavaliers' starters are point guard Kyrie Irving, shooting guard C.J. Miles, small forward Earl Clark, power forward Tristan Thompson, and center Anderson Varejao. Cleveland has lost four games in a row and is 1-6 since Dec. 14.
• Not in uniform for the Warriors are centers Jermaine O'Neal (right wrist surgery) and Festus Ezeli (right knee surgery). Rookie center Ognjen Kuzmic (right hand surgery) and point guard Nemanja Nedovic are on NBA D-League assignments with the Santa Cruz Warriors.
• Forward DeMarre Caroll will miss his first game of the season after starting Atlanta's first 30. "His thumb has been bothering him, and I think it's to the point where it's best that he take a couple of days and hope that it gets better," explained coach Mike Budenholzer.
• Kyle Korver, who moves from guard into Carroll's small forward position, will become the first NBA player to make a 3-pointer in 100 straight games if he makes one tonight. Korver leads the league in 3-point shooting (79-for-158, .500).
• Arron Afflalo, the Magic's leading scorer, will be in the starting lineup after sustaining an ankle injury during Friday night's 109-92 victory against Detroit. Afflalo's 22.0 scoring average ranks 11th in the NBA.
• E'Twaun Moore will be active for Orlando after missing three games with a right thigh contusion. Solomon Jones will be inactive.
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