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Ten Before Tip: NBA news from Saturday

POSTED: Jan 4, 2014 6:30 PM ET
UPDATED: Jan 4, 2014 9:47 PM ET

NBA.com news services

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• Chris Paul will miss his first of what is expected to be some three to five weeks worth of games because of the right shoulder sprain injury he picked up Friday in the win at Dallas. "He has to wait until tomorrow to get evaluated, but I'm not too confident (an earlier timetable) will be the case," coach Doc Rivers said. "It could be longer. That (MRI) was from a machine inside an arena. I'll just wait and see."

• Rivers quickly shot down reports of the Clippers engaged in talks with the Knicks about a Carmelo Anthony-Blake Griffin trade. "That's so stupid," Rivers said. "If you're the Knicks, would you want Blake Griffin? I would. We had nothing to do with that (report). Let's move on."

• Portland is the NBA's highest-scoring team at 109 points a game. Philadelphia gives up the most points at 111 per game. Even so, the 76ers will employ their running style tonight. "You could be adding gasoline to a roaring fire," Philadelphia coach Brett Brown said. "We understand that. But this is who we are. We want to get up and down. If you turn it over a lot, if you take contested shots, it's going to explode in our face. We have to be responsible with this style."

• Portland coach Terry Stotts has been impressed watching video of Michael Carter-Williams, the leading candidate to succeed Damian Lillard as Rookie of the Year. Carter-Williams "has a good all-around game," Stotts said. "He does a little bit of everything. He has good length defensively, can cover a lot of ground. Offensively, he finds people, he runs the team, he can get to the rim and he shoots better than people expected him to. He's perfect for their team, because he has people to go to, and they're playing a style that suits them well."

• The Charlotte Bobcats come into Sacramento in the middle of a five game losing streak, including back-to-back losses to the Clippers and Trail Blazers on Wednesday and Thursday. This is the final game of the Bobcats season-long five game road trip. They return home on Tuesday to face the Washington Wizards. During Charlotte's losing streak, they have allowed their opposition to average 107 points per game. "We're not going to be able to outscore, I don't think anybody in this league," coach Steve Clifford said. "Our recipe is going to be defend, rebound and play efficiently offensively."

• The Bobcats might be getting back Kidd-Gilchrist around the middle of January. "Next week we're at Minnesota and at Chicago and we're hoping to have him back after that," Clifford said. If all goes well, that would put his return to the court as January 14, in Charlotte against the New York Knicks.

• The Suns will play their second straight and eighth of the season without guard Eric Bledsoe, who has a sprained knee. They are hoping he doesn't miss their entire upcoming 5-game road trip. Bledsoe previously missed six games (Nov. 19-27) with a bruised shin, an injury the Suns at first thought might cause him to miss a game or two. The Suns are 3-4 without Bledsoe.

• The Bucks continue to play without the injured forward John Henson, whose sprained ankle will be evaluated when the Bucks return home, and center Zaza Pachulia, whose broken foot will be evaluated in a month or so.

• Nets coach Jason Kidd said that Kevin Garnett would take the game off to rest. Reggie Evans will start at center in Garnett's place.

• Jarrett Jack will start in place of Kyrie Irving (left knee contusion) for the second straight game. "He did a nice job of leading the team," Cavaliers coach Mike Brown said of Jack's play in the Cavaliers' win over Orlando on Wednesday during which Jack played a team-high 42 minutes.

• Pelicans sharpshooter Ryan Anderson remains in a Boston hospital after being diagnosed with a cervical stinger in their 95-92 win Friday night in Boston. With team personnel present, Anderson, who was taken off on a stretcher last night, has been undergoing a series of tests. "We ask all of our fans, and people who aren't our fans, to pray for him and his family," said Pelicans coach Monty Williams, who still hasn't personally spoken with his player. "He's had a rough year. He's a strong kid, but he's still had a rough year."

• Pacers recalled Solomon Hill from the D-League, after he played two games with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants. In two games, the Pacers' rookie averaged 17 points and 3.5 rebounds in 29.5 minutes per game. "It's helpful to get work playing, but we don't want him to be away from the team too much because you fall behind a little bit," said Pacers coach Frank Vogel. "We're going to try to keep him with the team as much as possible and if we see opportunities, we'll look at those."

• Dwyane Wade (knees) will play in tonight's game, while Shane Battier (bruised quad) will not.

• Magic center Nik Vucevic, who has had some of his best games against Miami, will miss a second straight game with a sprained left ankle. Orlando is 0-5 without him this season.

• Tonight's match-up features the top two scorers in the NBA in Kevin Durant and Kevin Love. Durant is pouring it in at a rate of 28.6 points per game, while Love checks in at 26.3. They get their points differently for the most part as Durant often slashes elegantly to the basket, swooping in with his long wing span, while Love relies on a diet of jump hooks and offensive put-backs. Surprisingly, though, Love is taking more shots from beyond the arc, averaging 6.5 3-pointers per game (hitting 37.8 percent) while Durant is at 4.8 (hitting 42.1 percent).

• The difference in the two games between the Wolves and Thunder was likely Russell Westbrook as his offensive presence commands the defense's attention. Westbrook was still out from off-season surgery in the first game, but was back on the court for game two. He is out again tonight after yet another knee surgery and the Wolves will look to take advantage in sending the Thunder on their first three-game losing streak since February of 2013.

• One of the four rotation players who have been available for the Bulls all season, power forward Carlos Boozer, is out tonight due to a sore right knee. Forward Taj Gibson, who also has been available for all 31 games, is expected to start. The other two regulars who have been available for all games this season are Mike Dunleavy and Nazr Mohammed, who missed one game due to coach's decision. Boozer injured his knee in the fourth quarter of the last game against the Celtics on Thursday. "It's a little better today,'' said Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau. "We'll see where he is tomorrow. He had an MRI and it came back negative." Boozer is averaging 14.7 points and 8.6 rebounds per game, ranking third in scoring (second if you don't count Derrick Rose), and second in rebounding on the team.

• Pero Antic, the rookie from Macedonia, got his first start in place of the injured Al Horford Friday against Golden State and had 16 points and seven rebounds in 26 minutes. Coach Mike Budenholzer said Antic earned his second start against the Bulls Saturday. Horford has a torn right pectoral muscle and will miss his fifth game Saturday.