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Ten Before Tip: NBA news from Wednesday

POSTED: Apr 2, 2014 5:39 PM ET
UPDATED: Apr 2, 2014 9:26 PM ET news services


• Clippers coach Doc Rivers said he 'thinks' star forward Blake Griffin (back spasms) will play tonight but will leave the final decision to his training staff. Guard Jamal Crawford (Achilles) and forward Danny Granger (hamstring) are out.

• The Clippers are closing out a five-game road trip. The Suns haven't played since their Sunday debacle at the Lakers.

• All Suns regulars are available. Injured backup guard Leandro Barbosa had the hard cast removed from his left hand; he could be available should the Suns make the playoffs.

• After playing last night in Los Angeles, Pau Gasol will miss tonight's contest with vertigo, Chris Kaman is out with a left calf injury and Steve Nash is out with nerve root irritation. Xavier Henry is listed as doubtful with a torn ligament in his left wrist and a sore right knee.

• With Gasol and Kaman both out, Mike D'Antoni will turn to Jordan Hill and rookie Ryan Kelly to round out his starting lineup.

• Isaiah Thomas will miss his fifth straight game for the Kings with a right thigh contusion. "Isaiah is out once again," coach Michael Malone said. "He had an MRI yesterday and I can't give you the complete full medical terms, but all I know is that it is a very deep thigh bruise and there is still a lot of swelling in there."

• Ray McCallum will once again start in Thomas' place. The rookie point guard is averaging 15.3 points, seven assists and four rebounds in 45.3 minutes per game as a starter with Thomas out. "I'm not surprised," Malone said of McCallum. "Tremendous kid, high character and he's worked so hard the whole year."

• New Orleans guard Eric Gordon will miss his seventh straight game with a knee injury but the team has no plans on shutting him down for the remainder of the season. Gordon has battled injuries in his three years with the Pelicans but a comeback this season, with seven games left, has not been ruled out. "It's game by game right now," New Orleans coach Monty Williams said. "We don't consider shutting anybody down, so right now it's game by game."

• The Nuggets haven't officially shut down forward Wilson Chandler, but he will sit out his sixth straight game and seven in the last eight due to a strained left groin. Quincy Miller will start in Chandler's place once again.

• Williams will continue to rotate big men at the center position. Greg Stiemsma will start but Jeff Withey and Alexis Ajinca will also get time. "The center position is a bit different for us because we've been doing it by committee because of the foul trouble we've gotten in," Williams said. "We plan on playing all three guys. That's a tough deal at times but just have to figure out which one of those guys is going to be playing well that night and then you ride him. That's our plan going forward."

• The NBA announced that the critical block by Jermaine O'Neal in overtime Tuesday at Dallas that setup the game-winning basket for Golden State by Stephen Curry should have been ruled goaltending. "I've seen it several times," Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. "I understand the controversy both ways." When asked if he liked how the NBA made the announcement of the missed call, Jackson responded "I like everything the NBA does."

• David Lee (right hamstring strain) will miss his fourth-straight game for the Warriors (46-28). And Jackson said he's not sure how he will start his lineup. "I'm going to talk to my guys, see how everybody is feeling and make a decision after that," he said. With Lee and Andrew Bogut (pelvis/groin contusion) out, the Warriors started O'Neal, Curry, Andre Iguodala, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson at Dallas.

• Jackson said a big concern is how O'Neal will react after playing 33 minutes at Dallas. "(I'll) be in constant dialogue with him; listen to how he feels and certainly be on top of that," Jackson said.

• Thompson played 47 minutes at Dallas, Curry played 43 while Iguodala and Green each played more than 40 minutes. Could be tired? "Good teams don't think that way," Jackson said. "We're a no-excuse basketball team. It's not our song. We put ourselves in a position to win a game last night and now the mindset is to play against the best team in basketball and give ourselves and opportunity to build on what we had last night."

• Aron Baynes (rib) will miss his second-straight game for the Spurs (58-16, winners of a team-record 18-straight).

• As the Hawks try to win consecutive games by beating the visiting Bulls Wednesdays to hold off the hard-charging Knicks for the No. 8 and final playoff spot in the East, they're getting a "surprise" contribution off the bench from Louis Williams. The reserve guard is known as a scorer, but recent missed seven straight games -- mostly because of coach Mike Budenholzer's decisions -- before playing in the past seven. Williams scored 22 points in Monday's 103-95 win over the 76ers, and is averaging 15.4 points over the past five games.

• With Atlanta shooting guard Kyle Korver about to make his second straight start after missing six straight because of back spasms, the Hawks will have the same starting lineup for the second straight game with Korver and Jeff Teague in the backcourt, Pero Antic at center, Paul Millsap at power forward and DeMarre Carroll at small forward. Atlanta lost all six games that Korver missed.

• Heat guard Dwyane Wade (hamstring) and center Greg Oden (back) will not play. There is no timetable on when either will return, but both were able to do limited work during the morning shootaround. Both have missed four straight games.

• The Heat are likely to remain with the same starting lineup from Monday's victory against the Toronto Raptors. Guard Toney Douglas and forward Udonis Haslem are expected to play in place of Wade and Oden.

• Miami guard Ray Allen is back after missing four games with the flu. Coach Erik Spoelstra said he anticipated Allen would play after he completed shootaround.

• Bucks guard O.J. Mayo (ankle) is a game-time decision. He's missed the last three games.

• Nikola Pekovic will miss tonight's game with a sore right ankle. This is an injury that has dogged him for much of the last two months. Ronny Turiaf, however, will be available for Minnesota tonight after having missed the last 19 games with a bone bruise on his right knee.

• Minnesota rookie center, Gorgui Dieng was named Western conference Rookie of the Month for March after averaging 8.6 points on 61.3% (46-for-75) shooting, and 8.3 rebounds in 14 games. In six starts, Dieng has averaged 12.7 points and 14.0 rebounds per game and tallied five double-doubles.

• The Memphis Grizzlies recalled guard Jamaal Franklin from their D-league affiliate, the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, today. He was drafted 41st overall in the 2013 NBA Draft and has played in 19 games for Memphis this season. But he is not with the team for tonight's game.

• Though his team finished April with its most pronounced slump of the season, dropping five of six games thanks primarily to an offense that has produced averages of 77.2 points and .368 shooting, Indiana coach Frank Vogel does not believe significant changes are necessary. "It's difficult without any practices to make full-scale changes," he said. "It's really a back-to-the-basics type of thing, do what we know works. We've got a good system that has worked for us and we've just got to execute the fundamentals."

• Indiana has shot less than 39 percent in six straight games and failed to breach 80 points five times in that stretch. But the Pistons may be just what the doctor ordered. Detroit ranks 27th in points allowed (104.1) and has allowed 344 in the past three games (114.7).

• Paul George has shot .315 overall and .286 from the 3-point line in the last nine games overall but in three meetings with the Pistons this season has averaged 26 points, nine rebounds, five assists and 49 percent shooting.

• George Hill and Lance Stephenson had a heated exchange late in the third quarter of the Pacers' 103-77 loss to San Antonio Monday night. Vogel chalked it up to "normal frustrations that come along with losing" and took no action against either player.

• The Houston Rockets have lost five games in a row to teams with winning records and won five games in a row over teams with losing records.

• Raptors head coach Dwane Casey needs one more win to reach 100 with the team. He currently sits third in team history behind Sam Mitchell (156) and Lenny Wilkens (113) for wins by a coach. Casey can also become the first to lead Toronto to multiple seasons holding opponents under 100 points and below a .45 per cent from the floor.

• Dwight Howard (ankle) Patrick Beverley (knee) won't play for the Rockets. Terrence Jones is a game-time decision. "He's starting to feel better. I'm hoping he goes," head coach Kevin McHale said before the game.

• Kyle Lowry (sore left knee) is out for the Raptors. Greivis Vasquez will start in his place.

• Kyrie Irving is back with the Cavaliers after missing eight games (4-4) with a left bicep strain. "Kyrie is our best player, and having him out on the floor is always a positive for us," said coach Mike Brown. "It doesn't matter who we're playing, he brings a lot to the table for us at both ends of the floor."

• Anderson Varejao, who has 39 rebounds in two games against the Magic this season, is out with a shoulder injury.

• The Magic and Cavaliers had identical 10-21 records on Jan. 1. Since then Cleveland has gone 20-24 and Orlando is 11-32. Almost all of the difference is on the road, where the Cavs are 11-11 and the Magic 1-23.

• The Cavaliers have beaten the Magic six straight times, including three times this season.

• Arron Afflalo, the Magic's leading scorer, has healthy shooting percentages overall (45.9) and from 3-point range (43.5), but is 3-for-9 overall in each of his last three games.

• Asked if Victor Oladipo may have hit the proverbial rookie wall, Magic coach Jacque Vaughn responded: "If he did, it was a short wall. He just jumped over it and kept on going."

• What has yet to be determined is which guard position Oladipo will play in the future. "As we add pieces to our team, we'll address that situation going forward," Vaughn said. "Right now we don't have to have an answer."

• Bobcats forward Josh McRoberts is out with a sprained ankle and will be replaced by rookie forward-center Cody Zeller. It will be Zeller's first career start.

• The Bobcats continue to play without forward Jeff Taylor (ruptured right Achilles) and center Brendan Haywood (stress fracture, left foot).

• The Bobcats (36-38) enter this game seventh in the Eastern Conference playoff race, just two games behind the Washington Wizards for sixth. Charlotte hasn't reached the postseason since 2010.

• Celtics guard Avery Bradley (sore left ankle) only made it through half of Wednesday morning's shootaround and is a game-time decision, coach Brad Stevens said.

• The Knicks have won 11 of their last 14 games to move within one game of the Atlanta Hawks for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Many of those 11 wins came against teams with losing records, but the month of April will provide no such opportunity. All seven of the team's remaining games will come against playoff-bound teams with winning records. They play the Nets and Atlantic Division-leading Toronto Raptors twice during this seven-game stretch. As of now, the Hawks own the tiebreaker.

• Rookie shooting guard Tim Hardaway Jr. will play after being labeled as questionable with a sprained right ankle, which he suffered late in the fourth quarter of a win at the Utah Jazz on Tuesday evening. Andrea Bargnani (torn left elbow ligament) and Kenyon Martin (sore left ankle) remain out.

• The Knicks will start Raymond Felton, J.R. Smith, Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler will start for the Knicks. Stoudemire sat against the Jazz with what was termed a recovery day.

• Kevin Garnett will miss an 18th straight game this evening with back spasms, while Andrei Kirilenko will miss his sixth straight game with a sprained left ankle. Thanks to various injuries, this will be Kirilenko's 37th missed game of the season.

• The Nets will start Deron Williams, Shaun Livingston, Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce and Mason Plumlee. With that lineup starting, the team is 13-4 this season.