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Ten Before Tip: Sunday news in the NBA

POSTED: Mar 9, 2014 12:35 PM ET
UPDATED: Mar 9, 2014 8:39 PM ET news services


• Warriors coach Mark Jackson dropped a bit of a bombshell in his pre-game media session: All-Star guard Stephen Curry is fighting a minor strain in his right quad and will see limited minutes tonight against the Suns and in the foreseeable future. Curry will still start, as will Klay Thompson, who said he's "feeling great" after playing just 6 minutes Friday against Atlanta due to a lower back strain.

• Curry said he originally suffered the injury in Boston on Wednesday as the Warriors finished up a six-game road trip, and he had similar discomfort against the Hawks. The problem isn't debilitating because he uses his left leg much more often to initiate explosive movements, but it gets worse as minutes pile up on a given night. An MRI scan performed Saturday revealed the strain. "It wasn't an impact thing," Curry said. "Thankfully, it's not a big part of my muscle. I'm able to play, but I don't want it to get worse. . . . It's good that we know, so we can manage it, have that communication between me and coach and the training staff as this next week goes on and just see how it goes."

• Suns center Miles Plumlee, who has missed two straight games with a right knee sprain, is available to play, but will be coming off the bench. Plumlee started Phoenix's first 59 contests this season.

• Phoenix coach Jeff Hornacek did confirm that Wednesday is the apparent target date for the return of guard Eric Bledsoe, who hasn't played since Dec. 30 after needing arthroscopic surgery to fix a meniscus issue in his right knee.

• Entering tonight's game with the Pacers just 27 points away from passing John Havlicek for 12th place on the all-time scoring list, Dirk Nowitzki will be the focal point of the Indiana defense. In the teams' first matchup, the 12-time All-Star tallied 18 points and shot 50 percent.

• Trail Blazers forward Nicolas Batum was fitted for a protective mask Saturday after suffering a nasal contusion during Friday's loss at Dallas, but the 6-foot-8 forward said he does not plan to wear it in tonight's against the Rockets.

• The Rockets' Patrick Beverley, who will sport a mask during Sunday's contest to shield his broken nose, gave Blazers All-Star Damian Lillard all he could handle in the point guards' previous encounters this season. In two games against the Rockets with Beverley in the lineup, Lillard has shot 8-for-27 (29.6 percent) from the field and knocked down only four of 12 3-point attempts.

• Raptors super-sub Patrick Patterson is out for the next 7-10 games after re-aggravating an elbow injury in Friday night's game. His absence could prove critical tonight as Toronto's deep bench looks to exploit the Wolves' much-maligned reserves. Minnesota's bench killed all momentum in a comeback attempt against the Knicks and nearly coughed up a massive lead against the Pistons.

• Tonight's game with the Nets marks the return of Reggie Evans to the Barclays Center after Evans and Jason Terry were dealt to the Kings for Marcus Thornton. Evans met with the media for almost 10 minutes and talked about how the trade was harder on him from a family perspective than a personal one. "At the end of the day, I'm living out my dream," Evans said. "Which is to play in the NBA. That's the best way to look at it. "

• As for Thornton, he has alternated hot- and cold-shooting performances recently, scoring 20 against the Grizzlies on Wednesday and 25 at the Bucks last weekend, while struggling against Boston on Saturday and Chicago on Monday."He's a guy who can put a lot of pressure on the defense," Nets coach Jason Kidd said.

• Out again for tonight's contest with the Pistons, the Celtics' Kevin Garnett will miss his fifth straight game with back spasms.

• Avery Bradley is on track to rejoin the Celtics' lineup Friday against the Suns, as he continues to recover from a recurring right ankle injury that has sidelined for 16 of Boston's last 19 games. "I ended up coming back too early," Bradley acknowledged of his first return from the ankle injury back in February, "and kind of made it worse. That's all it is. We're just nursing it and taking our time so it doesn't happen again. Because you know when you have one ankle sprain, you're more likely to have another one right after."

• Chris Babb's 10-day contract with the Celtics is set to expire at midnight, but head coach Brad Stevens is hopeful that his team signs the swingman to another contract this week. "I hope like heck he's back with us Monday," Stevens said. "He's a perfect fit for what we need. He's not going to play 38 minutes a game, he's going to come in, get open shots, hopefully knock those open shots down, play off other people, and be a feisty defender for us. He really is an outstanding defender for a young guy."

• The Nuggets' Ty Lawson will play in his fourth game since returning from a rib fracture when he suits up tonight against the host Pelicans. In the previous three games, he's averaged 27 points, 11.7 assists and four rebounds.

• In Chicago today to play the Bulls, the Heat are trying to avoid their second three-game losing streak of the season. They last lost three in a row, all on the road, Jan. 9-15 to the Knicks, Nets and Wizards. This time they have lost two in a row at Houston and at San Antonio. Still, they are 19-12 on the road this season, and only two teams (San Antonio and Oklahoma City) have less road losses. In their two most recent losses, the Heat gave up 39 and 37 points in the first quarter.

• Bulls center Joakim Noah is now 26th in the league in assists per game with 4.8, and has registered two triple-doubles in the Bulls' last four games. But teams have adjusted to his ability to pass out of the high post, and he had six turnovers and six assists in the Bulls' loss to Memphis Friday night. "He's got to see how the defense is playing him,'' Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said.

• The Lakers will add some size to their starting lineup when they host the Thunder today at Staples Center. Ryan Kelly, a 6-11 rookie out of Duke, will start at power forward, 6-7, 215-pound Wes Johnson will slide to small forward, where his main assignment will be trying to guard Kevin Durant, and 6-5 Kent Bazemore will come off the bench. Kelly has shown he can play well in spurts and he's coming off his first double-double of the season, a 24-point, 11-rebound performance in Friday night's loss in Denver. The remaining starters for the Lakers are center Pau Gasol and guards Kendall Marshall and Jodie Meeks. Nick Young and Jordan Hill remain sidelined with sore knees, while Kobe Bryant (knee) and Steve Nash (back) are still rehabilitating their long-term ailments. The Lakers begin the day in last place in the Western Conference standings, a game behind the Jazz. The Thunder can reclaim sole possession of first in the West with a victory as co-leader San Antonio is off until Tuesday.