Ten Before Tip: NBA news for Sunday
POSTED: Feb 9, 2014 3:13 PM ET
UPDATED: Feb 9, 2014 6:06 PM ET
• Kevin Garnett will return to the Nets' lineup after sitting out the second night of a back-to-back in Detroit on Friday night.
• Tyreke Evans, listed as day-to-day (right ribs), said he would try to play. Evans played 20 minutes against Minnesota on Friday.
• The Pelicans, winners of five straight games against Eastern Conference opponents, are the only team the Nets haven't faced yet this season.
• The Nets, who start only one player taller than 6"7, will have to contend with a large Pelicans frontcourt boasting three players 6"9 and up. Leading that group, Anthony Davis has scored 24-plus points and grabbed 10-plus rebounds in three of his last four games.
• Sacramento Kings forward Rudy Gay and guard Marcus Thornton are both in the starting lineup, coach Michael Malone said. Gay (flu) and Thornton (bruised right hip) missed the Kings' loss at Boston on Friday. "Rudy's feeling a lot better and Marcus was able to go through shootaround. We'll have both those guys back and all 13 bodies available," Malone said.
• Veteran forward Carl Landry has played in just 11 games after missing 35 with a left hip injury. He's just working into shape, Malone said. "He's still not in 100 percent game shape. He's still not fully recovered," Malone said. "He's been a little big inconsistent, but that's to be expected. We haven't lost any confidence in him at all."
• Washington Wizards coach Randy Wittman said it would help his team if it had a veteran leadership presence in the locker room. "Any time guys that can be leaders, not just on the floor, but in the locker room; it's hard for me to be around these guys 24/7. You've got guys in the league who understand the nuances of being a good team or not, or knowing that it's slipping a little bit. That's a big part of the makeup of your team," Wittman said.
• Rajon Rondo will be back on the floor tonight for the Celtics, after sitting out Friday night's win against the Sacramento Kings due to general soreness as he continues to recover from his ACL surgery from last February. "I'm fine, just a little sore," Rondo said,"It's been a while since I played. So, little sore, nothing major." The knee is fine." Brad Stevens said the point guard will miss Monday's game against Milwaukee as a precaution on the second half of back-to-back games.
• In additional good news for Boston, Avery Bradley will also be back and active today after aggravating a right ankle injury during Wednesday's win over Philadelphia that forced him to sit out Friday's win. "Avery has already gone through his stuff and is feeling good," Stevens said before the game. Rookie center Vitor Faverani remains sidelined with a knee injury.
• Monta Ellis is a game-time decision for the Mavericks after suffering a strained right hamstring against the Jazz on Friday night. Head coach Rick Carlisle was surprised to see that Ellis had a chance to be available for the contest."I didn't expect him to be available, but he was doing much better this morning and he's a gamer, so we'll see," Carlisle said. Ellis was seen before the game telling a couple fans he expects to play.
• Lance Stephenson is back in the Pacers lineup after missing one game with a sore lower back.
• The Magic are riding an emotional season high after Friday night's last-second (literally) victory against Oklahoma City. "I felt like I was in college again," said backup center Kyle O'Quinn. "To see the whole team jump up in excitement felt good."
• Cavaliers interim general manager David Griffin met with the media for the first time since being promoted Thursday. Griffin took over the position from Chris Grant, who was fired after 3 1/2 seasons and an NBA-worst 80-199 record. "Expectations were high here -- and nationally -- because we have a really compelling group of talent," Griffin said during a pregame press conference. "We understand that. We will find a way and we will succeed." Cleveland is tied for the fourth-worst record in the NBA at 17-33, but is only 4 1/2 games out of the final Eastern Conference playoff position.
• Cleveland small forward Luol Deng (illness) is active and will start. The two-time NBA All-Star sat out the Cavaliers' 115-113 victory Friday in Washington with flu-like symptoms. The remainder of their lineup is All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving, shooting guard Jarrett Jack, power forward Tristan Thompson, and center Anderson Varejao. Cleveland has lost six of its last seven games, including three straight at Quicken Loans Arena. "When you're losing and there are expectations, it's not fun," coach Mike Brown said.
• Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley Jr. (right ankle sprain) and shooting guard Tony Allen (left wrist sprain) remain out, but coach Dave Joerger said both are making progress and listed them as day-to-day. Conley has not appeared in a game since being injured on Jan. 31 at Minnesota, while Allen last played on Jan. 3 at Denver and has yet to return to practice. "Mike is making good progress, so we'll see how he feels tomorrow," the coach said. "They're both getting closer, though."
• Kevin Durant has won three of the last four scoring titles. Carmelo Anthony won the other. Durant currently leads the scoring race (31.0) and Anthony is second (27.4).
• The last time these teams played was also the last time Russell Westbrook played and the Thunder routed New York 123-94 thanks to a triple-double from Westbrook. He's been out since after having his third knee surgery but he continues to get closer to returning. Westbrook went through an extensive workout on the floor before today's game but Thunder officials maintain he won't return until after the All-Star Break.
• Anthony missed that game with a sprained ankle but over his team's last eight games 'Melo is averaging 33.6 points on 51.3 percent shooting.
• Despite the presence of Anthony, the Thunder won't overplay him. Nick Collison telling reporters before the game, "you can't overreact or change your habits because they have a great scorer." However, Thunder head coach Scott Brooks admitted, "it's gonna take the whole team to to get in front of him. We have to be able to guard him all over the floor."
• The Bulls will be without leading scorer Carlos Boozer when they play the Lakers today at Staples Center. Boozer, who's averaging 14.8 points, is dealing with a calf strain that also kept him out of Thursday's loss at Golden State, when he suffered the injury during warm-ups. Los Angeles native Taj Gibson will start in Boozer's spot at power forward and should give the Bulls a better defensive presence at the outset.