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Ten Before Tip: NBA news from Monday night

NBA.com news services
Posted Feb 3, 2014 6:33 PM - Updated Feb 3, 2014 9:51 PM

• The Kings (15-32) host the Bulls (23-23) tonight at Sleep Train Arena and they will have one of their biggest weapons back in uniform. Sacramento's seven-game losing streak coincides with starting center DeMarcus Cousins' going down with a left ankle sprain. Cousins originally injured the ankle on Jan. 22 against the Houston Rockets and he has missed the Kings last six games. Cousins is set to return tonight to take on the Bulls, who are currently tied for fifth place in the Eastern Conference standings. "He's going to try and play like the old DeMarcus, but it's not going to happen right away, I don't think," coach Michael Malone said. "I imagine he may get a little fatigued right away as well. We'll monitor that. If we have to get him out quickly, give him a quick breather, we will."

• Forward Carlos Boozer was critical about his lack of fourth-quarter minutes during shootaround this morning, leaving coach Tom Thibodeau to answer some questions during pregame. "I have two guys that are deserving of being starters," Thibodeau said. "Both guys are critical for our team, so I'm asking Taj (Gibson) to sacrifice not starting and some cases, Carlos has to sacrifice not finishing. For us to achieve what we want to achieve, both guys have to play very well for us."

• The newest member of the Pacers will not be in Bankers Life Fieldhouse for tonight's game against the Magic, or make the trip to Atlanta for Tuesday night's game. Andrew Bynum, signed for the rest of the season on Saturday, is expected to join the team later this week. The coaching staff wants to get him acclimated to the offensive and defensive schemes while monitoring his conditioning before setting a timetable for his game debut.

• Victor Oladipo's second NBA visit to Indianapolis with the Magic should be substantially different from the first. The former Indiana University star made his NBA debut in front of fans from the Hoosier state on Oct. 29, scoring 12 points in a 97-87 Indiana victory. This time around, Oladipo has played nearly two full college seasons' worth of games (49) and is starting at point guard with veteran Jameer Nelson out with a sore left knee. "Hopefully he's not a quote-unquote rookie anymore," said coach Jacque Vaughn. "He's settled down, he actually has a routine going into this game, probably a little different than the first time round. Hopefully he's at ease moreso than coming into the last game."

• The Nets' Joe Johnson will miss tonight's game against the Sixers with right knee tendinitis and Andrei Kirilenko will sit out with a sore right calf. Andray Blatche (bruised left hip) is a gametime decision. Alan Anderson will start for Johnson. Nets coach Jason Kidd noted that Johnson had been bothered by tendinitis for a while. "Joe is one not to complain," Kidd said.

• Michael Carter-Williams will play for the Sixers. Sixers coach Brett Brown described Williams' right shoulder as, "100 percent enough."

• Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley is out tonight against the Thunder after spraining his right ankle Friday night at Minnesota. Conley is expected to miss about a week. Nick Calathes will again start in his place. Saturday night Calathes was great, scoring a career high 22 points against Milwaukee. "He's obviously not the same player (as Conley) but he's effective, he's doing a good job," said Thunder coach Scott Brooks in talking about Calathes.

• Grizz defensive whiz Tony Allen won't be able to go tonight either. He's getting closer but Memphis coach Dave Joerger said Allen's sprained left wrist is still bothering him. Allen has missed 19 games this season due to injuries and a suspension.

• The Grizzlies' defense is giving up just 86.7 points per game (fewest in the NBA) on 41 percent shooting and are 9-1 since center Marc Gasol returned to the lineup. The Grizz had been giving up 98.3 ppg during Gasol's 23-game absence.

• Wizards forward Trevor Booker will miss tonight's game against the Trail Blazers for personal reasons.

• The Trail Blazers have had the same starting lineup for each game this season, the only NBA team to do so. "The guys take good care of themselves," coach Terry Stotts said. "I don't think it's a coincidence. It's really offered us a lot of continuity. I like our players on the bench, but we really haven't had to adjust too much."

• Washington is trying to go over .500 for the eighth time this season. The Wizards haven't been over .500 since they were 2-1 on Oct. 31, 2009.

• The Heat will have all 15 players available for tonight's home game against the Pistons, including guard Dwyane Wade and Greg Oden. Both have been held out on occasion because of knee issues.

• After shortening the rotation to eight for Saturday's game against the Knicks, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said he expects to play more players tonight. Look for Chris Andersen to play extended minutes while Spoelstra tries to rest guard Ray Allen.

• The Heat have won 15 of 18 against Detroit, but the teams have one victory against each other this season.

• The Spurs are beginning their annual Rodeo Road Trip with tonight's game at the Pelicans. Between tonight and Feb. 26, San Antonio will travel 8,989 miles, hitting nearly most parts of the continental United States. They'll play games in Washington, Brooklyn, Charlotte, Detroit, Boston, Los Angeles, Portland and Phoenix.

• The Pelicans will be without forward Jason Smith for the remainder of the season. Smith, a 7-foot center/forward, had surgery on Jan. 29 to clean up loose cartilage in his right knee and is expected to make a full recovery. He averaged 9.7 points and 5.8 rebounds in 31 games this season.

• San Antonio (34-13) will get guard Danny Green back for the first time in 11 games, a boost for a team that has lost five of its past eight games with injuries mounting. Green, who had a fracture of the second metacarpal in his left hand, won't have any sort of minute restriction, though coach Gregg Popovich isn't expecting a brilliant performance in his first game back. "I'd expect him to be like 0-for-8 (shooting) and have six turnovers," Popovich said. "That kind of thing. When players come back after a while, it takes them time for rhythm, so if he has a hell of a game I'll be surprised."

• Knicks coach Mike Woodson said he still didn't know if swingman Iman Schumpert (right shoulder) would be available tonight against the Bucks. "He's going to go back out and try to test it and give me the word before the game," Woodson said about an hour before tip-off. Woodson did know that forward Kenyon Martin would not play with a sore ankle. "We'll rest him tonight and see how he feels come Thursday," Woodson said.

• Bucks rookie Giannis Antetokounmpo will be playing in front of his parents, Charles and Veronica, for the first time as an NBA player as his parents arrived in Milwaukee from Greece.

• Bucks guard O.J. Mayo will miss his fifth straight game with what the team is calling a bad case of the flu. Mayo will be on the bench in street clothes. Forwards John Henson (sprained wrist) and Ekpe Udoh (ankle) will remain out. Udoh will miss his sixth straight game and Henson will miss his third straight game. Coach Larry Drew will start Larry Sanders at center, Khris Middleton and Ersan Ilyasova at forward and Brandon Knight and rookie Nate Wolters at guard for the third straight game.

• The Mavericks' Shawn Marion (shoulder/rib contusion) will sit out tonight against the Cavaliers, missing his second consecutive game. The versatile forward sustained the injury Wednesday against Houston and was held out of action against Sacramento on Friday. Jae Crowder will once again slide into the starting lineup in Marion's stead.

• Cavaliers center Anderson Varejao (left knee contusion) took part in warm-ups and says he will play tonight. Varejao was a force in the paint when the two teams faced off in January -- a 102-97 Dallas victory -- pulling down 21 rebounds and chipping in 18 points. The center will play with a brace on his knee and is expected to be on a minutes restriction.

• The Mavs recalled Shane Larkin from the D-League after a one-game stint but he is game-time decision with an illness.

• Dallas has won 10 of the last 12 meetings with Cleveland at the American Airlines Center.

• The Nuggets get point guard Ty Lawson back tonight against the Clippers after he missed two games with a strained left rotator cuff. His absence was felt even more when backup Nate Robinson went down with a torn ACL in his left knee last Wednesday. Without them the Nuggets struggled with turnovers, committing a season-high 26 against Toronto on Friday.

• The Clippers signed guard Sasha Vujacic to a 10-day contract Monday. Vujacic, who has played the last two seasons in Turkey, is the second veteran shooter the Clippers have signed in the last three weeks. They also brought in forward Hedo Turkoglu for the rest of the season. Coach Doc Rivers said he won't limit Vujacic to one position. "I don't put numbers on him. He's just a ballplayer," Rivers said. "It depends on what group we have him on the floor with. I'm not concerned with that."

• The Jazz will be without starting center Derrick Favors and reserve Jeremy Evans against the Raptors tonight. Favors has right hip inflammation and Evans has a bruised tailbone and bruised right elbow. Enes Kanter will start in Favors' place. Fortunately for Utah, Kanter has been on a tear as of late. He's averaged 19.5 points per game in the Jazz's last four contests.

• The Raptors get reserve Greivis Vasquez back after he missed their game against the Trail Blazers on Saturday night with the flu. "He's OK," Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. "He went through shootaround today and we'll see what he can do. When you have the flu like that he probably won't come back 100 percent right away. We miss his ball handling, we miss his playmaking with that second unit."

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