POSTED: Mar 22, 2014 6:31 PM ET
UPDATED: Mar 22, 2014 9:36 PM ET
• Jamal Crawford will come off the bench for the Clippers when they host the Pistons tonight at Staples Center. Crawford, who is tied with Chris Paul as the team's second-leading scorers (18.7), missed the last five games and eight of the last nine with a left calf strain. After missing the first three games, he attempted to come back March 8 against the visiting Hawks but lasted just 10 minutes before deciding he needed more time to recover. He originally suffered the injury Feb. 26 against the Rockets, meaning he hasn't played a full game in nearly four weeks. Darren Collison is also set to return to the starting lineup after missing the last two games with a stomach ailment. J.J. Redick returned to practice this week but his comeback from a bulging disc in his lower back is still uncertain.
• Utah's Alec Burks will miss tonight's game after spraining his ankle in practice yesterday. Burks, who is averaging 14.9 points per game since the All-Star break, entered the arena wearing a walking boot.
• Jameer Nelson (sore knee) will miss his second straight game tonight, and his status for tomorrow's game against the Lakers is undetermined. Victor Oladipo will once again start in Nelson's place.
• Nikola Vucevic, who was ejected from Orlando's last game after he threw the ball at Phoenix's Channing Frye, will start as usual tonight.
• The Heat (47-20) will go without guard Dwyane Wade and center Greg Oden tonight, both getting rest in the second game of a back-to-back. Against Memphis on Friday, Wade scored 14 points and had four assists while Oden added five points, two rebounds and two blocked shots. Since the calendar turned to 2014, Wade has missed one or both games in a back-to-back in six of the eight back-to-back sets the Heat have played.
• New Orleans (28-40) will be without guard Eric Gordon, who is experiencing tendonitis in his left knee. Gordon has missed only four games this season, playing in 64 of 68 contests after playing in just 51 games his first two seasons in New Orleans. He's averaging 15.4 points and 3.2 assists per game this season.
• An MRI today revealed that Grizzlies' center Marc Gasol suffered a Grade 1 left ankle sprain in Friday night's loss at Miami. Coach Dave Joerger said it will be game-time decision on whether Gasol plays tonight when the Grizzlies host Eastern Conference leader Indiana.
• Rockets center Dwight Howard (left ankle strain) took part in the team's morning shootaround, but is sitting out his third straight game. "I don't think he feels quite good enough to play, but he feels much better," Houston coach Kevin McHale said. Howard had a cyst and fluid removed from his ailing ankle Tuesday, and returned to practice Friday. The eight-time NBA All-Star — and three-time Defensive Player of the Year — appeared in the Rockets' first 66 contests, averaging 18.6 points and a team-high 12.4 rebounds.
• Rockets center Omer Asik makes his third consecutive start in Howard's spot. The 7-footer from Turkey has averaged 12.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 2.50 blocked shots over the last two games. "Omer just comes in and does what he does, which is play intense, physical basketball," McHale said. "He's a Steady Eddy out there, playing great defense and rebounding very well when we've needed him." On the season, Asik is averaging 4.5 points, 6.2 boards, and 0.54 rejections over 35 contests.
• Houston's lineup is point guard Patrick Beverley, All-Star shooting guard James Harden, small forward Chandler Parsons, power forward Terrence Jones, and Asik. The Rockets have 10 available players as shooting guard Francisco Garcia (personal reasons) and power forward Greg Smith (right knee surgery) are hurt, while small forward Robert Covington and shooting guard Troy Daniels are on NBA D-League assignments with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.
• The Cavaliers only have nine players in uniform for the second game in a row. All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving (left biceps strain), small forward Luol Deng (left ankle sprain), shooting guard C.J. Miles (left ankle sprain), rookie power forward Anthony Bennett (left patellar strain), rookie small forward Sergey Karasev (right knee tendinitis), and rookie shooting guard Carrick Felix (left patellar stress fracture) remain sidelined.
• Cleveland rookie point guard Seth Curry, who was signed to a 10-day contract Friday, is active for the first time. The younger brother of Warriors point guard Stephen Curry and son of former Hornets shooting guard Dell Curry appeared in one game earlier this season for Memphis, playing four scoreless minutes. "We're just going to throw him out there because we don't have many other options," Cavaliers coach Mike Brown said.
• Cleveland's starters are point guard Jarrett Jack, shooting guard Dion Waiters, small forward Alonzo Gee, power forward Tristan Thompson, and center Spencer Hawes. The Cavaliers have lost a season-high four consecutive home games.
• The Trail Blazers begin a five-game East Coast road swing that also includes the Miami Heat, Orlando Magic, Atlanta Hawks and Chicago Bulls. Portland is 21-4 against the the Eastern Conference on the season which is the best record among teams in the Western Conference. The Bobcats have dropped two in a row after winning six of seven and currently sit seventh in the Eastern Conferene playoff race. Charlotte has won eights of its last nine at Time Warner Cable Arena.
• LaMarcus Aldridge (low back contusion) will miss his fifth straight game. Aldridge hasn't seen action since playing 21 minutes at San Antonio March 12. Portland is 7-2 on the season when Aldridge has not played. Dorell Wright has been starting in place of Aldridge and has 10.8 points and 5.2 rebounds, while shooting 45 percent from the field and 40 percent from three-point range. In addition to Aldridge, Joel Freeland (right knee sprain) will also be out against the Bobcats. For Charlotte, they will be without the services of Brendan Haywood (stress fracture, left food) and Jeffery Taylor (ruptured right Achilles tendon).
• Sixers guard Tony Wroten suffered a sprained ankle in the loss to New York Friday and is out for the team's three-game road trip, which begins Saturday against the Bulls. Coach Brett Brown said he looks at the loss of Wroten as an opportunity. "Makes us go a little bit down the food chain,'' Brown said before the game. "We will go to some of our young guys and get more minutes for all of them."