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Ten Before Tip: NBA news from Friday

POSTED: Mar 21, 2014 7:21 PM ET
UPDATED: Mar 21, 2014 10:21 PM ET news services


• A week after he was ruled out for the rest of the season, Lakers point guard Steve Nash will come off the bench tonight for the first time in 14 years when L.A. hosts the Wizards at Staples Center. Nash, the two-time league MVP who turned 40 in February, hasn't played since Feb. 11, when a re-occurrence of nerve-root irritation in his back forced him out of a second straight game. The Lakers are suddenly short on point guards with Jordan Farmar suffering a groin strain in Monday's practice and Steve Blake in Golden State after his trade to the Warriors last month. Nash had appeared in just four games overall this season after missing nearly three months with the same ailment. Nash is under contract for another $9.7 million next season. Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni said Nash will play just a handful of minutes each half.

• Nick Young and Jordan Hill are also available for the Lakers after missing recent weeks with knee injuries. Both will come off the bench as the Lakers will go with a three-guard starting lineup of Kendall Marshall, Jodie Meeks and Kent Bazemore, with Robert Sacre and Pau Gasol up front. Another reason the Lakers juggled their starting lineup is they won't have forward Wes Johnson, who is out with an upper respiratory infection. Young, second on the season in scoring at 16.8 points, has played one game since Feb. 5, while Hill, the second-leading rebounder for L.A. (6.8), has been out since Feb. 25.

• The Wizards have dropped two straight to open a four-game West Coast swing, but it appears they'll have starting center Marcin Gortat back in the starting lineup against the Lakers. He was scratched before Thursday's loss to the Trail Blazers with a lower back strain but warmed up before the game with L.A. and appeared ready to play. Gortat averages 12.8 points and 9.3 rebounds and hadn't missed a game all season until Thursday. Gortat's return is good news for the Wizards, who are thin up front with starting power forward Nene missing his 13th straight game with sprained left knee.

• Former Houston Rockets first round pick Royce White signed a second 10-day contract with the Kings on Tuesday and for the first time this season, he will be on an active NBA roster. White was taken with the 16th overall selection in the 2012 NBA Draft, but has yet to make his NBA debut.

• All the Suns' and Pistons' regulars are available. Pistons big man Andre Drummond has been dealing with a neck problem, but coach John Loyer said Drummond would play.

• The Suns' Markieff Morris is averaging 16.1 points on nearly 50 percent shooting over his last 31 games.

• Heat forward LeBron James is in the lineup after missing Wednesday's game against the Boston Celtics with back spasms.

• Miami guard Dwyane Wade will also start. It almost guarantees he will miss Saturday night's game in New Orleans. Wade typically does not play on consecutive nights.

• Heat center Greg Oden remains in the starting. This is Oden's fourth consecutive start since coach Erik Spoelstra named him the full-time starter.

• This marks the first time Grizzlies forward Mike Miller plays for the visiting team after helping the Miami Heat win consecutive NBA championships.Miller said, ""Obviously, the fans will be excited tonight. It makes you miss it a little bit. It's good to be back."

• With "continued soreness and swelling" in his right knee, Andrew Bynum will be out "indefinitely," the Pacers announced in a statement released roughly 45 minutes before the game. Bynum has been out since playing 20 minutes on March 15 in Detroit, scoring 15 points with nine rebounds. Ian Mahinmi will resume the backup center role.

• Indiana's C.J. Watson will miss his fourth consecutive game with a right hamstring strain and coach Frank Vogel said Watson might return "hopefully sometime next week" but stopped short of establishing a timeline. Donald Sloan will continue in the backup point guard role.

• Pelicans center Anthony Davis will play Friday when New Orleans visits the Hawks. He missed Wednesday's game against the Raptors because he was ill. Atlanta coach Mike Budenholzer said his team would be wise to pay attention to the young man. "Anthony Davis is one of the best young players in our league," the Hawks coach said. "He is very versatile. His impact on the defensive end is really significant blocking shots and altering shots."

• Nets General Manager Billy King said center Brook Lopez (out for the season) had surgery on March 3rd to repair a torn tendon. King said Lopez is progressing well, on track to return to the court to work out in June.

• Denver enters play Friday night in Dallas riding high as winners of four of its last five games and looking for the series sweep of the Mavericks after taking the first three meetings. The Nuggets have imposed their will on the Mavs due in large part to the athleticism and quickness of Ty Lawson, who has averaged just under 20 points and nine assists per game in the three meetings. "We've got to guard him better," Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. "The quickness, and the way they spread the floor ... It's just a real challenge."

• Hawks rookie reserve guard Dennis Schroder of Germany, whose playing time has increased recently, is battling a sprained ankle but is expected to be available to play against New Orleans. Schroder wrenched his joint in Tuesday's overtime win over the Raptors.

• Lou Williams was not available for a recent game while tending to the birth of a child, but he'll be in uniform again tonight. Whether the guard plays or not remains to be seen. The local product has been moderately productive this season after missing much of last after tearing an anterior cruciate knee ligament, but he's been out of the mix for the past two weeks or so. Insiders believe that Williams' salary of more than $5.4 million for next season and the uncertainty about whether or not he can return to pre-injury form has team officials concerned to the point where they're more interested in looking at Shelvin Mack and rookie backup guard Schroder and as they plan for their future.

• Both teams will have players returning to the starting line-ups. Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas is back after missing one game with a lower back strain and Thunder guard Russell Westbrook was rested in the previous game (knee) at Cleveland. Patrick Patterson will miss his seventh straight game with a right ulnar collateral sprain and a decision will be made in a week when he will return to action.

• The Sixers have lost 22 straight games, just four shy of tying the all-time record of 26, set by the 2010-11 Cleveland Cavaliers. They've also lost 17 straight home games, a franchise record and two shy of tying the all-time league mark of 19, set by the 1993-94 Dallas Mavericks.

• New York enters this game having won a season-high seven in a row. At 28-40 (12-20 on the road), the Knicks are now just four games behind the Atlanta Hawks for the eighth and final playoff position in the Eastern Conference. "They're (Sixers) hungry," said Knicks coach Mike Woodson. "They're not feeling good about themselves. We're desperately trying to stay in the hunt."

• During the Knicks' seven-game winning streak, they're averaging 111.3 points per game and allowing 95.1 points.

• Sixers guard James Anderson (right quad contusion) will play and is expected to start, according to coach Brett Brown.

• The Knicks will be without forwards Kenyon Martin (left ankle) and Andrea Bargnani (torn ligament, left elbow).

• Center Byron Mullens has hit 13 shots from beyond the arc in 12 games with the Sixers.

• Since the trade deadline, Sixers forward Thaddeus Young is averaging 20.5 points per game.