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Ten Before Tip: NBA news from Wednesday

POSTED: Mar 12, 2014 6:01 PM ET
UPDATED: Mar 12, 2014 9:42 PM ET news services


> The Clippers will continue to be without three key players when they take on the Warriors in a pivotal Western Conference game tonight at Staples Center. Jamal Crawford, who attempted to come back from a left calf strain Saturday night against the visiting Hawks but felt discomfort in the muscle, will miss his second straight game. Jared Dudley will miss his fourth straight game with back spasms and J.J. Redick his 14th straight game with a bulging disc in his back. Even without two opening-night starters and the first player off the bench in Crawford, the Clippers have continued to win. They come in riding a season-long eight-game winning streak, having reached triple digits in all eight. Darren Collison will continue to start alongside Chris Paul in the backcourt and has shown he's up for the challenge, averaging 17.8 points in the last five games while shooting 56.1 percent.

> Clippers forward Blake Griffin is five rebounds shy of 3,000 for his career, which would place him with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Charles Barkley as the only players to amass 6,000 points, 3,000 rebounds and 1,000 assists while shooting at least 50 percent from the floor before the end of their fourth NBA season.

> Tonight marks the return of Suns guard Eric Bledsoe, who has missed the past 33 games with a knee injury (and 39 games overall, counting six missed with a shin bruise). Bledsoe gives the Suns, with Goran Dragic, the dual point-guard combo that defenses found difficult to contain. With Bledsoe they are 16-8. Without him, they are 20-19. "You can tell he's excited to get back on the court, Suns coach Jeff Hornacek said.

> Heat guard Dwyane Wade will play despite being in a late-season maintenance plan.

> Tyson Chandler (personal) and Amar'e Stoudemire (knee recovery) will miss tonight's game against the Celtics. With both big men sidelined, Mike Woodson will give Cole Aldrich the start at the center position for New York. It will be the first start for Aldrich in his four-year career. The center has appeared in just 31 games for the Knicks this year, averaging 0.9 points and 1.8 rebounds per contest.

> The Trail Blazers (42-22, losers of three-straight to match a season-worst) will be without Mo Williams (right hip strain). Williams, who leads NBA bench players with 269 assists this season, hurt his hip after making a short jumper in the second quarter of a 10-point loss Tuesday at Memphis. Portland is 21-4 when Williams scores in double figures.

> When asked, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich would not say whether Tim Duncan would play. This is the second game of a back-to-back, and Duncan played 27 minutes last night in Chicago. Popovich often rests Duncan one game of a back-to-back.

> Rajon Rondo will not suit up for the Celtics tonight after playing a season-high 41 minutes last night against the Indiana Pacers. The point guard has not played the second half of back-to-back games this season since returning from a torn right ACL. "If I was ready, I would play," Rondo said earlier this week. "It's a combination of things that bother me in the lower part of my body. My calves, my Achilles and then my knee. They affect me after games, and then I need the rest. I'm pretty sore when I wake up. My Achilles bother me the most when I get out of bed. I don't want to overdo it." Rookie Phil Pressey will get the start at point guard with Rondo out.

> New Orleans will be without guards Tyreke Evans and Eric Gordon tonight against Memphis because of illness. Missing both is a blow for a team that's already missing forward Ryan Anderson (herniated disc) and guard Jrue Holiday (stress fracture). Evans is averaging 22 points, 6.3 rebounds and 6.2 assists in the past six games, all starts after spending much of the season coming off the bench. Gordon, meanwhile, is averaging 15.6 points and 3.2 assists per game. The Pelicans now have only one player averaging more than 9.0 points available for the game.

> Nets forward Andrei Kirelenko (ankle) is a game-time decision, according to coach Jason Kidd.

> Brooklyn forward Kevin Garnett did not travel with the team to Miami. He will miss his seventh straight game due to back spasms. Kidd said he didn't have a setback.

> Miami center Greg Oden is active after missing last game for "rest" purposes.

> The inactives for the Heat are James Jones and DeAndre Liggins. Garnett and Brook Lopez are inactive for the Nets.

> The Bobcats, winners of three of four games overall, will have Gerald Henderson active and in the starting lineup against Washington. The veteran guard missed the previous five games with a strained right calf.

> Washington center Kevin Seraphin will be available for the Wizards after missing the last seven games with a sore right knee, Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. Seraphin averages 5.5 points and 2.7 rebounds.

> Raptors forward Patrick Patterson will miss his third straight game with a right elbow sprain.

> The Kings will be without guard Jason Terry (left knee) and forward Carl Landry (right knee).

> Sixers reserve guard Lorenzo Brown (right foot) is inactive.

> The Sixers have signed forward Jarvis Varnado for the remainder of the season. Varnado was originally signed to a 10-day contract on March 1.

> For a third straight game, the Magic will go with their big lineup, starting 6-foot-10 Kyle O'Quinn and 6-9 Maurice Harkless at the forwards.

> After missing two games with a sore ankle, Magic rookie Victor Oladipo returned with a good offensive game Monday night, but blamed himself for his part in a defensive collapse in a loss at Milwaukee. ``I felt a little bit slow because it had been a little while since I had played. My reaction times were a little bit slow, but I'm going to get back into the swing of things and continue to keep playing hard,'' Oladipo said. "Five of those seven days (out with the injury) I wasn't doing anything."

> According to the current NBA standings, the Magic would get the lesser of the Nuggets' first-round picks in the upcoming NBA Draft. Because of a trade with the New York Knicks, Denver lines up with the No. 9 and No. 12 picks in the lottery right now.

> Denver's Danilo Gallinari, JaVale McGee and Nate Robinson are all out for the season.

> The Magic have won seven of their last nine home games.