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Ten Before Tip: NBA news from Saturday

POSTED: Mar 15, 2014 6:16 PM ET
UPDATED: Mar 15, 2014 8:29 PM ET news services


• Pacers center Andrew Bynum will play tonight against the Pistons after sitting out the last three games. "He's going to play backup center minutes," Indiana coach Frank Vogel said. "We'll see how much that is based on the flow of the game."

• Indiana guard C.J. Watson is out because of a right hamstring strain. He missed three of the previous four games with a sprained right elbow.

• The Pistons continue to be without guard Chauncey Billups and center Josh Harrellson, who are recovering from knee injuries.

• The teams haven't played since mid-December, when Detroit upset the Pacers in Indiana 101-96. "They're not playing that great right now," Vogel said. "I don't know if they've changed a lot in terms of their identity. They're still a running team, a crashing [the boards] team, a live-in-the-paint team and they have great attackers off the bounce but they just haven't had that much success lately."

• The Sixers (15-40), who host the Grizzlies tonight, are looking to avoid a 20th straight loss, which would equal the franchise record set by the 1972-73 club, a team that finished 9-73. The NBA record is 26, established by the 2010-11 Cavaliers. Philadelphia has also dropped its last 15 at home, a club record and the second-longest streak in league history. The record is 19, set by the 1992-94 Mavericks. "Any win would be considered an upset going forward," coach Brett Brown said.

• The Grizzlies (38-27) lost Friday night in Toronto but won their previous four, and have gone 11-4 over their last 15 games. "We've gotten healthy, and our guys are in their roles and the rhythm of being back in their regular places," coach Dave Joerger said. "Maybe your seventh or eighth guy earlier in the year was starting. Now guys have gotten comfortable with the guys that they're playing with. And if your stars are your stars, everybody else is better capable of playing very well."

• Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, whose team hosts the Kings tonight, does not want his players looking ahead to the playoffs, even though there are only 17 games left and the standings seem to be shaping up in the Eastern Conference. Chicago (36-29) has the No. 4 seed and would have homecourt advantage against Brooklyn, but the 33-30 Nets are only two games behind the Bulls in the standings. The two teams do not meet again this season.

• The Kings (23-42) could present a prime trap game. The Bulls are is playing Sacramento at the end of a week in which they hosted Miami, San Antonio and Houston, and they play Oklahoma City on Monday. But the Kings beat the Bulls 99-70 in Sacramento in February, holding Chicago to a season-low 70 points and 28.2 percent shooting from the field. Since then the Bulls have gone 13-5 and they have an Eastern Conference-high 24 wins since Jan. 1.

• Hawks reserve guard Louis Williams, who missed Thursday's home game against the Bucks while his daughter was born, is back with the team and expected to play tonight against the visiting Nuggets.

• Denver coach Brian Shaw said the Nuggets will begin the game with center Timofey Mozgov defending Atlanta power forward Paul Millsap and power forward Kenneth Faried marking Atlanta center Pero Antic. That's because Antic is more mobile than many centers and prone to sneak out to take a few long shots.

• Antic will start again, but his ankle continues to bother him — not so much that it should affect his playing time. The Hawks have been pressed by injuries at the center position all season with Al Horford (right pectoral) and Gustavo Ayon (right shoulder surgery) ailing often.

• If the Hawks (28-35) win, it would tie their season-long three-game win streak. The Nuggets (29-36) have also won back-to-back games, including Friday's win over the Heat.

• Bradley Beal put a scare into the Wizards' organization and fan base. The second-year guard had to be helped off the court during overtime in Friday's 105-101 win over the Magic, but he apparently avoided serious injury and is a game-time decision for tonight's home matchup and series finale with the Nets.

• The Nets have won three straight and seven of their last eight games. In that span, they moved into a statistical tie with the Wizards for fifth place in the Eastern Conference. Washington already clinched the head-to-head tiebreaker if needed with two victories including113-107 at the Barclays Center on Dec. 18.

• After two 10-day contracts, the Nets officially signed center Jason Collins for the remainder of the season. The 13- year veteran, who has scored five points in eight games with Brooklyn, makes his first appearance in Washington since announcing that he is gay. Collins spent the final weeks of the 2012-13 season with the Wizards following a trade deadline deal with the Boston Celtics

• Along with Beal, Wizards forward Martell Webster (back) and Nets forward Andrei Kirilenko (ankle) are also game-time decisions.

• Mike Woodson says his only dealings with Phil Jackson, the Knicks' incoming president of basketball operations, have been coaching against him and meeting him at a Knicks' dinner. "Phil's been through the ringer, he's won titles. ... There's probably not a lot he hasn't seen from a basketball standpoint," Woodson said. It is widely assumed that Jackson will replace Woodson and bring in one of his own disciples as coach. "Until he gets here you have no idea what he's thinking and which direction he's going to go," Woodson said of Jackson.

• The Bucks (13-52) have lost two straight and five of six. Milwaukee is 1-2 against the Knicks this season.

• The Knicks (26-40) have won five straight and enter the day 3½ games back of Atlanta for the No. 8 seed in the East. "If we can play like we've been playing the last five games, then they would have to play catchup," Woodson said.