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Ten Before Tip: NBA news from Tuesday

POSTED: Mar 25, 2014 6:09 PM ET news services


• The Lakers will be without Pau Gasol and Steve Nash when they host the Knicks tonight at Staples Center. Gasol did not come out after halftime of Sunday's win against the Magic because he was feeling dizzy and nauseous and was later diagnosed with vertigo. Chris Kaman, who hasn't played in the last 12 games because he was either nursing a sore foot or just wasn't needed by coach Mike D'Antoni, will move into the starting lineup in place of Gasol. Nash will miss another game after re-aggravating the nerve-root irritation in his back last week, an ailment that has limited him to 11 games this season.

• Iman Shumpert will return for the Knicks tonight but the team's best perimeter defender will come off the bench after missing the Cleveland game with flu-like symptoms. Shumpert's value to the team came into focus when Cavaliers shooting guard Jarrett Jack went for 31 points in 106-100 victory at New York. The Knicks, 2 1/2 games out of the final playoff spot in the East, have won eight of their last nine games.

• After sitting out Monday night against Denver, Russell Westbrook will play tonight when the Thunder take on Dallas at the American Airlines Center. Thunder coach Scott Brooks said Westbrook will see about 30-32 minutes.

• Dallas has held Kevin Durant to 26.5 points per game and 41.7 percent shooting in the Thunder's first two games against the Mavericks, well below his season averages of 32.1 points per game and 50.7 percent. "We've committed double-teams to him a lot of the time, both in pick-and-rolls and in post-up, sometimes on the perimeter," Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. "He's a great, great, great scorer. I've never seen a guy that size be able to do the things he can do — handling it, getting it places and just getting it in the basket. He passes it better all the time too. It's a really big challenge facing him as a scorer."

• The Raptors lead Brooklyn by two games in the Atlantic Division and sit third in the Eastern Conference standings -- .002 ahead of fourth-place Chicago -- with 13 contests to play. "We're not going to out-talent anybody," Raptors coach Dwane Casey said flatly. "But when we play quality basketball, play hard, play desperate, and play together, then we're a quality team." Toronto's magic number for clinching its first playoff berth since 2008 is three (combination of Raptors wins and Knicks losses). The Raptors are 32-18 since Dec. 9, which is the third-best record in the East during that timeframe.

• Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving (left biceps strain), shooting guard C.J. Miles (left ankle sprain), rookie power forward Anthony Bennett (left patellar tendon strain), rookie small forward Sergey Karasev (right knee tendonitis), and rookie shooting guard Carrick Felix (left patellar stress fracture) remain out. Irving was injured on March 16 at the Clippers and will have his status updated next week. "All of our guys are getting closer, but I can't put a timeline on it," Cleveland coach Mike Brown said.

• Forward LaMarcus Aldridge remains sidelined by a back contusion. The Blazers are hopeful he might play Thursday in the final game of a five-game road trip. This will be the seventh straight game he has missed.

• Jameer Nelson will miss a fourth straight game for the Magic because of a sore left knee.