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Posted Jan 7, 2014 7:16 PM - Updated Jan 7, 2014 9:31 PM
• Rookie C.J. McCollum will be active tonight for the Blazers, but coach Terry Stotts was non-committal on whether the 10th overall selection in the 2013 NBA Draft will make his debut against the Kings this evening. McCollum has missed the teams first 34 games with an injured right foot.
• With the Kings' struggles, coach Mike Malone has left a door open for at least one change to the starting lineup. "We're always looking to try and figure out what's best for our team moving forward," Malone said. "Right now, we plan on using the same lineup, but my biggest concern with Ben (McLemore), is that I want to put him in a position to have success. And right now, maybe him starting, he's been struggling and with three volume shooters in that starting lineup, he's not getting very many touches."
• Oklahoma City is without starting forward Serge Ibaka against the Utah Jazz tonight. Ibaka is suffering from flu-like symptoms and will be replaced in the starting lineup by 6-foot-11 reserve Perry Jones. Thunder coach Scott Brooks said he expects Jones to contribute. "It kind of validates what we talk about every day: Do your work and be ready when called upon," Brooks said. "We're not an excuse-making team. We have to do our job regardless of who's on the floor. Perry has done a good job with the minutes he's received. This will be a good opportunity for him."
• Celtics coach Brad Stevens said newly acquired Jerryd Bayless will play against the Nuggets. Boston traded guard Courtney Lee and a 2016 second-round pick to Memphis for Bayless in a deal that was finalized earlier Tuesday. Bayless, 25, will see the court tonight. "He's going to play early. He will not start but will get in and we'll go from there," Stevens said. "We'll see how that goes. The best thing we can do is go right after it and try to get him integrated into that group as soon as possible." Stevens and his staff went over some concepts during and after shootaround to get Bayless ready. "Not trying to build Rome in a day but making sure that he at least has a feel for some of the things that we'll look to do while he's in the game," Stevens said. "We'll have to simplify things quite a bit when he's in the game."
• Denver guard Andre Miller will be away from the team for the third straight game. Miller was given a leave of absence to deal with what coach Brian Shaw said were "personal issues." Multiple reports have said the Nuggets are looking to trade the 15-year veteran.
• Grizzlies guard Tony Allen will miss a second straight game with a sprained left wrist. He is listed as day-to-day. Starting in his place will be Mike Miller. The Grizzlies also recalled rookie guard Jamaal Franklin from Fort Wayne of the NBA D-League. Franklin played in one game with the Mad Ants, scoring 15 points to go with four rebounds, two assists and four steals.
• The Spurs will be playing their first game without center Tiago Splitter, who sprained his right shoulder Saturday against the Los Angeles Clippers. He is expected to miss three to five weeks. Jeff Ayres will start in his place. During last year's Western Conference finals, Splitter was the main reason Memphis forward Zach Randolph struggled mightily. Randolph was held to 10.3 ppg and 29.7 percent shooting as the Grizzlies were swept by the Spurs.
• In the absence of Luol Deng and his 37-plus minutes per game, several Bulls players figured to play extended minutes for one night at least. Mike Dunleavy took his place in the starting lineup against Phoenix. "We gotta play somebody," deadpanned Thibodeau, whose team was one player short of the maximum allotment. "We talked about what (Deng) did and how important it was for us to meet the challenge tonight. Obviously, Luol was a big part of the team."
• Mavericks forward Shawn Marion rolled his ankle on the second play of Sunday night's game against the Knicks and was seen limping to the locker room after the game. Coach Rick Carlisle said Marion was doing "OK" and is expecting the forward to play tonight.
• Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving (left knee contusion) returns to action after missing the last three games. The 2013 NBA All-Star took part in the team's morning shootaround and was given the green light to play by Cleveland coach Mike Brown. "He felt good, so I can't imagine Kyrie not going out there and giving it his all," Brown said. Irving said he felt "a pop" in his knee on Dec. 31 at Indiana, but did not suffer any structural damage. The third-year pro is averaging team highs of 22.2 points and 6.1 assists in 31 games.
• The Bucks had a well-publicized spat in their locker-room between center Larry Sanders and guard Gary Neal after their loss at Phoenix on Saturday. Coach Larry Drew met individually with each player on Monday and believes there will be no residual effects. "We're back in love with one another," he joked, drawing laughter from reporters before turning serious. "Those kind of things, they happen. What can you say? It's a very emotional game, and tempers do flare when guys get emotional. I've been in this game for over 30 years and I've seen my share of squabbles in the locker room. The most important thing is that there's no snowball effect. With it being an incident, let's make it an isolated incident. I talked to both guys in a meeting yesterday and we had a good day of work in practice. Everybody was upbeat today in the shoot-around today, so we're moving forward.
• The game marks the first time Golden State center Andrew Bogut will play in the Bradley Center against the Bucks since being traded from Milwaukee to the Warriors nearly two years ago. He was on the trip with the Warriors last season but did not play while recovering from an ankle injury.
• Knicks center Tyson Chandler will miss tonight's game with an upper respiratory infection. Chandler being sick cost him all but the first 4:24 of the first quarter on Sunday against the Dallas Mavericks. Kenyon Martin will get his 12th start of the season in Chandler's place after he scored 14 points on 7-for-8 shooting in 29 minutes against the Mavericks on Sunday. Tonight will mark the 21st game Chandler has missed after he sat out 20 straight after breaking his left fibula earlier this season.
• Marcin Gortat had the most to gain but has most likely benefited the least from having Nene start games on the bench while recovering from a sore right Achilles'. Over the past 12 games, he is averaging 10.8 points and 7.2 rebounds. In the 16 games prior to that which includes a total of 15 starts with Nene, Gortat averaged 13.4 points and 9.1 rebounds. "We've got to get some movement out there," Washington coach Randy Wittman said. "We need to get the ball side-to-side to be more effective."
• After being a game-time decision, Heat guard Dwyane Wade (knee) is in the starting lineup. He said he had no setbacks from playing both games of a back-to-back Saturday and Sunday.
• Miami guard Mario Chalmers (Achilles) and forward Shane Battier (quadriceps) will not play tonight. It marks the third straight game Battier has missed. Chalmers sustained his injury late in the first half Sunday against the Raptors.
• Because of the winter storm that dumped a foot of snow on Indianapolis Sunday and Monday prompting city-wide road, school and business closings Monday and Tuesday, both teams battled extreme travel challenges that disrupted their normal routines. Asked how he thought that might impact the game, Pacers coach Frank Vogel said, "Completely unknown. It could. Who it would impact and in what way, you don't know but it could have an impact, sure."
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