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Posted Mar 11, 2014 6:47 PM - Updated Mar 11, 2014 10:00 PM
• Warriors coach Mark Jackson said all-star guard Stephen Curry will see some limited time against Dallas as he nurses a strained right quad. "It won't be 48, it won't be 40. Other than that, read how he's feeling," Jackson said.
• Mavs forward Jae Crowder had an MRI on an abdominal strain he suffered in Sunday's win over Indiana and Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said, "It's not serious, that's as much as I know. I don't have any other details." Crowder did not travel with the team on this current three-game road trip. It's possible he may rejoin the team at some point before the trip wraps up Sunday at Oklahoma City.
• Neither Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook nor Rockets point guard Pat Beverley played in the previous two games involving these teams this season, so tonight will be the first time the two have been on the court together since Beverley crashed into Westbrook during last season's playoffs. That incident resulted in a wrecked right knee for Westbrook and three surgical procedures. Asked at shootaround today if he had any hard feelings against Beverley, Westbrook said simply, "naw," and then declined to answer any more questions about the Rockets guard. It should be fascinating to see what happens between those two tonight.
• Thunder head coach Scott Brooks said before the game he hasn't "mentioned it to him (Westbrook) or the team," about keeping emotions under control when it comes to Beverley.
• The Thunder's two best defenders -- Thabo Sefolosha and Kendrick Perkins -- went through some shooting drills on the practice court today. Both are expected to be out the rest of the month with injuries. Perry Jones III and Steven Adams will continue starting in their places.
• Houston is healthy tonight and will have all five normal starters on the floor, "It's nice to have people available," Rockets head coach Kevin McHale said before the game. "You're always a better team when you have everybody."
• The Trail Blazers have suffered a couple of tough losses in the first two games of their five-game road trip, losing at Dallas and Houston. As if that's not enough incentive to come stronger tonight, the Grizzlies handed the Blazers one of their worst defeats of the season, 98-81, in Portland Jan. 28. The Grizzlies held Portland to its lowest scoring output of the season. Coach Terry Stotts would love to see his team repay the favor tonight at FedExForum. "We certainly remember the loss up there," Stotts said. "It was arguably our worst defeat in a game we were never in. We didn't play very well and they played very well. I think there are a lot of factors going into this game."
• As late-season midweek NBA games between teams from different conferences go, the Bulls-Pacers matchup is a good one. The Bulls are 11-3 in their last 14 games, and are one responsible for one of San Antonio's eight home losses after a 96-86 decision on Jan. 29 at the AT&T Center. But the Spurs, who have won six in a row and nine of their last 10, did not have Manu Ginobili, Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green or Tiago Splitter for that previous meeting against the Bulls. If the Bulls win, they would be the first Eastern Conference team to sweep the Spurs this season.
• San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich is on the suddenly crowded Joakim Noah bandwagon, saying the Bulls' center should be in the Most Valuable Player conversation. "They won't choose him for MVP, but I think it's great that he is in the conversation,'' Popovich said. "It's got to go in the basket for you guys (the media) to pay attention to somebody, but he's pretty valuable, in my opinion." Averaging 4.8 assists per game, Noah is looking to become the first center to lead his team in total assists since David Robinson did it for the Spurs more than two decades ago.
• Riding their first four-game losing streak in two years, the Pacers will unveil Andrew Bynum tonight against Boston. The 7-foot center signed on Feb. 1 after being released by Chicago and last played in a game for Cleveland on Dec. 26. Indiana coach Frank Vogel said he expects to use Bynum 10-15 minutes off the bench. Regular backup center Ian Mahinmi is out with bruised ribs.
• Vogel said he wants to see Bynum "fit in and play his game, play to his strengths. We'll try to play through him in the low post some and do what he can do. He's pretty up to speed with our defensive schemes and our offensive schemes. It's just going to be a matter of getting used to playing in a game environment again."
• The Pacers also will be without backup point guard C.J. Watson, who'll miss his fourth consecutive game with a sprained right elbow. Boston will be without Avery Bradley (right ankle), Gerald Wallace (left knee, left ankle) and Vitor Faverani (left knee).
• The center matchup between Sacramento's DeMarcus Cousins, who has scored at least 20 points in his last five games, and Detroit's Andre Drummond, who leads the NBA in offensive rebounding, will go a long way in determining the winner between two struggling teams. "A lot of teams missed the boat on Andre Drummond, for him to get taken where he was taken (No. 9 in 2012)," Sacramento coach Michael Malone said. "DeMarcus has an edge on him in terms of strength but Andre has an edge with his quickness, athleticism and explosiveness."
• The Kings have turned the ball over at least 17 times in four of their last five games. Malone feels some of his players are more concerned with scoring than playing unselfishly. "That happens a lot this time of the year for a team not in the playoff race," he said. "All of a sudden, guys are playing for themselves instead of each other."
• Milwaukee center Ersan Ilyasova will miss tonight's game against Minnesota with a sore ankle. John Henson will start in his place.
• Minnesota has won the last three games against Milwaukee and 11 of the last 13 at Target Center. They currently sit in the 10th spot in the Western Conference, 4.5 games behind Phoenix and 5.0 behind Memphis. After stirring hope among the Minnesota faithful with a 6-1 stretch in February and early March, Minnesota has dropped two of their last three to open a crucial four-game homestand.
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