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Ten Before Tip: NBA news from Saturday

POSTED: Mar 29, 2014 7:06 PM ET
UPDATED: Mar 29, 2014 8:21 PM ET news services


• The Heat will go with the same lineup and players it went with in Friday nights 110-78 victory over the Detroit Pistons. That means Dwyane Wade (hamstring), Mario Chalmers (bruised right quad), Ray Allen (flu) and Greg Oden (sore back) will not dress. Udonis Haslem will start at center, Toney Douglas will start at point guard and James Jones will start at shooting guard, along with normal starters LeBron James and Chris Bosh. Scoring a 32-point victory on the road Friday night did manage to earn Heat coach Erik Spoelstra's appreciation. "I liked the energy. Everybody did," Spoelstra said. "Everybody felt good about it in the locker room."

• With injuries being a signature of the Heat's season, Spoelstra said there wasn't a lot of chances to weigh resting players to get them healthy vs. gunning for the top seed in the Eastern Conference. "I think people think we're overanalyzing it and we've got some master plan right now," Spoelstra said. "Guys that are able to play right now are playing, period. Guys that can play, that are not passing the tests, they're not playing. Now the thing about this season is we've had a lot more of those than we've had in the past where guys aren't able to play. That's not by design. That's the nature of the NBA and the unpredictability of it."

• Bucks coach Larry Drew said in his pregame meeting that rookie forward Giannis Antetokounmpo would not play because of a sprained right ankle he suffered Thursday night in a victory over the Los Angeles Lakers. Drew did say, though, that Antetokounmpo would be in uniform on the bench. About 15 minutes later, Bucks vice president of public relations Dan Smyczek informed the media that Antetokounmpo would be available to play. The Bucks will be without guard O.J. Mayo for the second straight game because of a right ankle sprain suffered against the Clippers Monday night at Los Angeles.

• Pelicans forward Anthony Davis will not play on Saturday night against the Spurs according to head coach Monty Williams. Davis left the team's 102-95 win over the Utah Jazz with what Williams called a "soft tissue" injury in the ankle area. Williams said that the injury came as a result of Davis' normal routine, not a specific play during the win over the Jazz. Davis will be listed as day-to-day.

• Pelicans guard Eric Gordon is also out. Gordon has been battling tendonitis in his left knee.

• For the Spurs, guard Danny Green will miss his second straight game with inflammation in his right foot. Green warmed up before the game, but will not go according to Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich. Green also missed the Spurs win over the Denver Nuggets on Friday night with the injury.

• With a win over the Pelicans on Saturday night, San Antonio would win its 17th straight game, which continues the best streak of the Tim Duncan-Gregg Popovich era. And they've done it while being able to keep minutes low for the starters. "You could say if I'd have played them more, we'd have won more games," Popovich quipped before the game. "Maybe I outsmarted myself, I don't know. There's always two ways to look at things."

• Isaiah Thomas (right quad contusion) will miss his third consecutive game. "Hopefully another night off, a day off in New Orleans tomorrow and maybe he'll be ready Monday night for that game," Kings coach Michael Malone said. With Thomas out of the lineup, rookie Ray McCallum will earn his third start of the season. Derrick Williams (illness) is active after missing Friday night's game against Oklahoma City.

• The Rockets will be without two starters for Saturday's clash with the Clippers, a game with critical playoff implications for both sides. Dwight Howard will miss the contest to rest a sore left ankle, which has been bothering the 6-foot-11 center following a procedure to remove part of a cyst and fluid. Patrick Beverley, meanwhile, is out indefinitely with a torn meniscus in his right knee. Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin will fill Howard and Beverley's respective spots in Houston's starting five. "Pat's an aggressive defender who really gets out and gets after guards and really sets our defense for us, and Dwight is a talented defensive center and an elite finisher around the basket, and we'll miss them both," coach Kevin McHale said. "I anticipate Omer going out there, rebounding, really anchoring the defense and doing all those things, and I anticipate Jeremy going out there, pushing the pace, attacking and playing aggressive like he does."

• Beverley's absence also means rookie Isaiah Canaan will be thrust into a more prominent role, as he is Houston's only option as a backup to Lin at the point-guard position. "Everybody in that [locker] room wants to play, and more people have a chance now," McHale said. "Is it ideal for us? No. But it's the reality. ... It's an unknown."

• Los Angeles reserve forward Danny Granger will sit out due to a strained left hamstring, which he suffered during the second half of Thursday's win in Dallas. Clippers coach Doc Rivers said Granger returned to the West Coast to treat the injury and will not be with the team for the remainder of their five-game road trip. "Obviously, he's been fighting injures for the last couple of years," Rivers said. "He was up and down, but you could just feel like he was starting to get his legs under him. Now, to have this and go home, and who knows when he'll be back ... those are very hard injuries. With the playoffs coming, it just makes it that much tougher."

• A loss by Philadelphia (15-57) would be the Sixers' 27th straight, eclipsing by one the record they currently share with the 2010-11 Cleveland Cavaliers. It would also set a new standard for futility in the four major American sports. The 1976-77 Tampa Bay Buccaneers also dropped 26 in a row. Finally, the Sixers can equal the NBA record for consecutive home losses (19), held by the 1993-94 Dallas Mavericks. Despite that first-year coach Brett Brown said his club's mood is "fantastic," and that everyone is well aware of the long-range goals. "Our judgment day won't be today, and it won't be tomorrow," he said. "We're on a three- to five-year plan. Obviously we want to win. We want to win every time we come on the floor. I coach to win. Our players play to win. We're not deflecting any of that responsibility, but to suggest anything deeper or more sinister where the program is now in a tailspin is just not right. I think that behind the scenes and the direction that we're taking, the program is truly on track. I'm proud of what we've done off the floor."

• The Pistons (26-46) have lost two straight, seven of eight and 17 of 21. Coach John Loyer said there is no more pressure than usual on his team, despite the Sixers' extended skid. "It's part of the nature of the game," he said. "You just play tonight. No matter who you're playing you've just got to forget the last one. You've got to move on to the next one and play the next team on our schedule."

• If the Washington Wizards win and New York Knicks lose on Sunday, then Washington is in the playoffs for the first time since 2008. Coach Randy Wittman doesn't want to hear about it. "If we play the way we're capable of playing, we don't have to worry about any of those things," Wittman said.

• Nene has missed 17 games with a sprained left knee. The C/F suffered the injury on Feb. 23 in Cleveland. "He's going on the floor a little bit, on his own, just kind of getting on his legs a little bit," Wittman said. "Where that takes us I don't know. He's going in a good direction." Wittman won't guess on his return.

• The reeling Atlanta Hawks, losers of 19 of their past 25, have just 10 healthy players. Kyle Korver continues to be out with back spasms and DeMarre Carroll is out with a stomach virus. Shelvin Mack starts in place of Carroll and another former Wizard, Cartier Martin will start at small forward.