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Ten Before Tip: NBA news from Monday

POSTED: Mar 24, 2014 6:30 PM ET
UPDATED: Mar 24, 2014 11:35 PM ET news services


• The Clippers, who host the Bucks tonight, are down to just one injured player now that Jamal Crawford has returned from a five-game absence due to a strained left calf with no setbacks. J.J. Redick is still trying to work his way back into the rotation after missing the last 19 games with a bulging disc in his lower back. He began practicing with the team last week and his return seems imminent but it won't happen tonight. Redick missed another 21-game stretch earlier this season with hand a thumb injuries. Crawford, meanwhile, played 33 minutes in Saturday's win against the visiting Pistons with no further problems with his calf. He initially attempted to return from the injury after missing three games but quickly discovered he wasn't ready to come back and sat out another five games.

• With starting guard Nate Wolters suffering a season-ending broken left hand in the Bucks' loss Thursday at Golden State, Ersan Ilyasova sitting out the second game of back-to-backs for the remainder of the season and coach Larry Drew searching for a formula to end Milwaukee's eight game losing streak, the Bucks will go with a different starting lineup for the sixth consecutive game. Ramon Sessions will start at guard alongside leading scorer Brandon Knight (17.5), with Jeff Adrien also moving into the starting five at forward along with Khris Middleton and center Zaza Pachulia. They represent the 26th different starting lineup Drew has sent on the court this season. Milwaukee forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, a 6-foot-9 rookie from Greece who started Sunday's loss at Sacramento, will come off the bench.

• Matt Bonner will miss his second straight game with a right calf strain as the Spurs play host to the 76ers, who have lost 24 consecutive games. San Antonio (winner of 13 straight) is expected to have Austin Daye on the active list for the second straight game. Before playing at Golden State on Saturday (no points in 3½ minutes), Daye had not played since March 6. Tony Parker is also out, due to a sore right Achilles.

• Sixers coach Brett Brown joked before the game about looking for help in non-traditional places. With Philadelphia closing in on the all-time record of 26 straight losses, Brown saw former Spurs defensive specialist Bruce Bowen outside the locker room and told Bowen, "You can still play. You're starting tonight. You take Manu (Ginobili)." Brown coached Bowen as an assistant for seven years in San Antonio.

• The Sixers have signed Casper Ware to a 10-day contract after Darius Johnson-Odom's 10-day deal expired. Ware (5-10, 24 years old, Long Beach State) averaged 10 points for Virtus Bologna in the Italian League this season.

• The Pacers and Bulls meet again tonight for the second time in four days. After the Pacers beat the Bulls Friday night in Indianapolis, Bulls forward Taj Gibson suggested that there was some flopping going on in the game by the Pacers. At their shoot around Monday afternoon, the Pacers took the high road when asked about his comments. "I think he was probably a little frustrated,'' Roy Hibbert said, noting that Gibson fouled out of the game. "But I expect him not to be in foul trouble tonight and playing well."

• The story that won't go away came up again with another report from out of town that guard Derrick Rose is going to return to play for the Bulls in time for the playoffs. "He's doing a little bit more in practice, but he's out for the year,'' said Thibodeau tersely. Rose suffered an MCL tear in the 10th game of the season and has not played since. After Rose tore an ACL in the 2012 playoffs, there were endless reports that he would come back to play at the end of the 2012-13 season, which never happened.

• Thunder All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook will not play tonight against the visiting Nuggets. Backup point guard Reggie Jackson will start instead. OKC coach Scott Brooks choosing to sit Westbrook tonight and then play him Tuesday night in Dallas. "He practiced yesterday and looked great," Brooks said before tonight's game. "His minutes restrictions are still the same, about 30 a game and then not playing in one game of a back-to-back."

• Oklahoma City is still without starting shooting guard Thabo Sefolosha (strained calf) and starting center Kendrick Perkins (strained groin). Rookies Andre Roberson and Steven Adams will again fill in. And tonight they will also be without third team center Hasheem Thabeet who is out for personal reasons. The Thunder have had their most injury-plagued season since moving to OKC from Seattle. Their normal first unit has only started 20 of the team's 69 games.

• The Nuggets are also struggling with injuries. Wilson Chandler didn't play last night because of a strained groin and will also be out tonight, "well I wrote on the board, 'and then there are nine'," said Nuggets coach Bryan Shaw a few minutes ago in the back hallway. Jan Vesely is also out tonight after a rib injury last night. Denver has already lost J.J. Hickson, Danilo Gallinari, JaVale McGee and Nate Robinson to season ending injuries.

• The Jazz will once again be without sixth man Alec Burks as they host the Pistons tonight. Burks will miss his second straight game after spraining his ankle during Friday's practice. Burks had scored in double figures in 20 straight games before his injury. He entered the arena wearing a walking boot.

• Tonight's game will feature a group of notable young big men, with Utah's Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter going up against Detroit's Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe. "I'm excited to see the matchups tonight with Monroe and Drummond and Enes and Derrick," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said. "Four young bigs in this league, man. We have to make sure we control the offensive boards, because [Detroit] does a great job there."

• Grizzlies' guard Tony Allen is out for tonight's game against the visiting Timberwolves with a stomach illness.

• The Wolves are again with Nikola Pekovic (sore right ankle) and Ronny Turiaf (right knee bone bruise), leaving them thin in the middle against one of the NBA's top front court's in Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol. Minnesota will also not have backup point guard J.J. Barea (sprained left foot), leaving little used Alexey Shved as the team's backup.

• Hawks shooting guard Kyle Korver will miss his third straight game with back spasms when Atlanta plays host to the Suns tonight. Shelvin Mack will again start in his place. Atlanta's season-long, five-game winning streak came to an end the first time Korver missed a game because of his back, a 111-106 loss on March 21 to the visiting Pelicans. The Hawks also lost 96-86 Sunday at Toronto. In the previous two games, Mack scored 18 points on 7-for-11 shooting against the Pelicans and seven point son 3-for-7 shooting against the Raptors.

• Phoenix will start Miles Plumlee at center, as per usual of late, with Channing Frye at power forward and P.J. Tucker at small forward. Given the proclivity of Hawks center Pero Antic to shoot the long ball, however, there figures to be plenty of mixing and matching in the game.

• Pelicans guard Eric Gordon will not play tonight against the visiting Nets, missing his second straight game with left knee tendonitis. He missed the Pelicans' Saturday night win over Miami, only his sixth missed game of the season. "It's discomfort but nothing serious," Gordon said. "I'm just looking forward to ramping things back up today and tomorrow and see what happens Wednesday." Gordon is averaging 15.4 points and 3.2 assists per game.

• The last time New Orleans faced Brooklyn, the Pelicans said they were out-muscled and beaten at the rim. For the Pelicans to win their seventh game in the past 10, they'll need to be more physical, coach Monty Williams said. "We can't turn the ball over but we have to go out there with a physical edge tonight, attacking the basket and not allowing them to have what they want on offense," Williams said.

• Brooklyn (37-31) will be without forward Andrei Kirilenko tonight after suffering a left ankle sprain Sunday at Dallas. Kirilenko is averaging 5.2 points and 3.2 rebounds in 18.4 minutes this season.

• Heat guard Dwyane Wade will miss his second straight game tonight when Miami hosts Portland. Coach Erik Spoelstra said Wade is experiencing ankle and knee soreness. Guard Toney Douglas will start in place of Wade. It is Douglas' fifth start of the season since being acquired in February. The Heat are 11-7 in games without Wade.

• Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge will miss sixth straight game because of a back contusion. Coach Terry Stotts said there is no timetable on his return.

• Houston center Dwight Howard is expected to play tonight after missing the previous three games. Howard has been resting since having a cyst and fluid removed from his left ankle. "He's a go right now," Houston coach Kevin McHale said before the game. The Rockets haven't missed a beat with Howard out of the lineup having won three straight. Omer Asik filled in for Howard in the Rockets starting lineup and will move back to the second unit now. "There aren't many people who can do what he does on the defensive end," Charlotte coach Steve Clifford said. The Bobcats are concerned about how Howard might impact the game on both ends of the floor tonight. "He can be a real game changer."

• The Bobcats are firmly in playoff contention with a dozen games left and could move as high as the fifth seed or fall as low as eighth. Currently, Charlotte is two games behind Brooklyn for the sixth seed and play the Nets this Wednesday. The Rockets are currently in fifth in the Western Conference with a two-and-a-half-game lead over Portland.

• NBA commissioner Adam Silver was in town Monday and held a press conference prior to the game disussing such topics as the NBA All-Star game and its potential for landing in Charlotte in 2017 pending arena upgraades, ads on uniforms, changes to both the draft lottery and playoff seeding as well as supposed tanking around the league and the rebranding of the franchise back to the Hornets name. Silver specifically reiterated his desire to see the NBA require a potential player stay in school two seasons before becoing eligible for the draft. "I'd love to bring the All-Star game back here."