NBA.com staff reports
Posted Mar 23, 2014 4:28 PM - Updated Mar 23, 2014 10:41 PM
• Lakers point guard Steve Nash lasted one game in his comeback from nerve-root issues that affect his back and hamstrings. He'll sit out tonight's game against the visiting Magic after re-aggravating the condition in Friday's win against the Wizards at Staples Center. Nash, who turned 40 in February and is owed another year on the three-year deal he signed prior to last season, has appeared in just 61 of 150 regular-season games with the Lakers because of injuries. He was ruled out for the season by coach Mike D'Antoni late last week, but surprised many when it was announced he would come off the bench in Friday's game. He had five points, 11 assists and three steals in 19 minutes before heading to the locker room late in the third quarter. The Lakers also lost reserve forward Xavier Henry to a torn ligament in his left wrist during the game. He'll have the injury evaluated Monday to determine the severity of the injury. Henry was playing in his ninth game after missing five weeks with a knee injury. The Lakers lead the NBA in games lost to injury this season.
• Orlando will be without its starting point guard, as Jameer Nelson will rest his sore left knee for a third straight game, leaving rookie Victor Oladipo to start against Lakers rookie Kendall Marshall. The Magic will undoubtedly miss the scoring and playmaking of Nelson, who's fifth on the team at 12.2 points and leads with 6.9 assists. Oladipo is having one of the best rookie seasons in the NBA this year, however, averaging 13.9 points, 4.3 rebounds and 4.1 assists, each of which ranks in the top four on the team.
• Sacramento is 18-21 on the season when DeMarcus Cousins, Rudy Gay and Isaiah Thomas are in the lineup together. "Everyone gets excited because we are the only team in the NBA that has three 20-point scorers," coach Michael Malone said. "I really don't care about that. I'd rather have three 15-point scorers that won a lot more games. But you have three guys in Rudy, DeMarcus and Isaiah who are very talented, who have proven that when they play at a high level, we're very hard to guard."
• The last time these two teams faced off, things got physical between Ersan Ilyasova and veteran Reggie Evans. The altercation led to a one game suspension by the NBA for the Bucks forward. "Normally he doesn't lose his cool," coach Larry Drew said. "Ersan is one of those guys that just kind of goes with the flow. I guess apparently something ruffled his feathers a little bit and he took offense to it."
• Rookie Nate Wolters fractured his left hand in Thursday's loss to the Golden State Warriors and will miss the Bucks final 13 games of the season. "He was starting to really play well," Drew said. "He was doing a lot of good things. Sometimes numbers don't really indicate what guys are doing out on the floor, but I started seeing him get more and more into a comfort zone as far as confidence while he was out there playing."
• With Wolters out, Drew said he would turn to another rookie in Giannis Antetokounmpo to fill out his starting lineup.
• Carl Landry is out for the remainder of the season after undergoing knee surgery earlier this week and Quincy Acy will miss tonight's game with a sprained right ankle for Sacramento. Carlos Delfino (right foot) and Larry Sanders (fractured orbital bone) are out for the Bucks.
• Nuggets forward Wilson Chandler will miss the game against Washington with a strained left groin. He felt discomfort after Friday's game at Dallas and did not practice Saturday. Chandler has played in 59 games this season, after appearing in a combined 51 the previous two years. In his place, Anthony Randolph makes his fifth start of the season.
• With power forward J.J. Hickson out for the season with a torn ACL, the Nuggets plan to take a closer look at Jan Vesely, who was acquired from Washington on Feb. 20. Vesely will be an unrestricted free agent after the season; he is averaging 3.1 points and 3.3 rebounds in 43 games.
• Sunday marked the return of former Nuggets point guard Andre Miller, who went to the Wizards in the Vesely trade. "He was a big part of their success here, but he's been traded before," Washington coach Randy Wittman said. "He's come back to the opposing team before, so I'm not too worried about how he's going to react."
• With a 40-29 record, Phoenix is ninth in the Western Conference, just one game behind Memphis for the final playoff seed. The Suns have won four of their past five in this playoff push, and are keenly aware of where they stand. "We didn't really talk about the playoffs for a long time. Two games ago we put the playoff standings up on the board for the first time just so they started to see that we have no choice to go out there and play every game like it's our last," coach Jeff Hornacek said.
• Minnesota, meanwhile, is having to decide whether to push for a playoff possibility that is increasingly remote, or focus on developing its younger talent. Nikola Pekovic's ongoing foot problems and Rony Turiaf's knee injury seems to have created a "both/and" for the Wolves as they've been forced to lean on rookie Gorgui Dieng the past four games. Dieng has responded with monster performances, including becoming the first rookie this season to rack up a 20/20 game with 22 points and 21 rebounds Thursday at Houston. He will start again for the Wolves today.
• The Hawks lead the season series against the Raptors 2-1, but lost their last meeting in Toronto 104-83 on Feb. 12.
• Terrence Ross will return to the starting lineup for the Raptors despite injuring his hip in Friday's loss. Reserve forward Patrick Patterson will miss his ninth straight game with a right elbow sprain.
• Atlanta's Kyle Korver did not travel with the team while dealing with back spasms. Korver was a late scratch from Atlanta's loss to the Pelicans on Friday.
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