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Ten Before Tip: Howard still out for the Rockets

POSTED: Apr 9, 2014 6:12 PM ET
UPDATED: 2014-04-10

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• The Rockets will be without center Dwight Howard (left ankle strain) and guard Patrick Beverley (right knee sprain) again tonight. This is the seventh straight game Beverley and Howard have missed. Houston lost its first three without the pair but has rallied to win the last three, including a 130-125 overtime win against Denver on Sunday. Their availability moving forward is unknown. "Our trainers said they weren't ready, so it wasn't up to me," coach Kevin McHale said. "I asked them if they could play tonight and I don't move much further than that."

• Nuggets guard Ty Lawson (left ankle sprain) and forward Wilson Chandler (left groin strain) won't play against Houston. Lawson missed Sunday's game after getting hurt against Memphis on Friday but he should be able to return for one of the Nuggets last four games. Chandler has played in just one of Denver's last 11 games, and this will be his ninth straight game out of the lineup.

• The Miami Heat will again be without guard Dwyane Wade, who has a strained left hamstring. But coach Eric Spoelstra said Wade has made significant progress and Heat fans can look forward to him returning to the lineup in the near future. "We're encouraged by the progress he's been making," Spoelstra said. "He's been putting in a lot of work the last few days. The work load has been increasing. He's getting close. Heat Nation, just be patient. We'll see what happens when we get back to Miami." Also out for Miami is forwards Udonis Haslem (stomach virus), Chris "Birdman" Anderson (flu), and center Greg Oden (back spasms).

• New Orleans' All-Star forward Anthony Davis will sit out tonight's game to try and recover from back spasms. It'll be just the 11th time game he has missed this season. Davis is averaging 20.8 points, 10 rebounds and 2.84 blocks per game. He played 34 minutes against Portland on Sunday. "After talking to the doctors and getting more information, it just wasn't getting better at the rate that we felt like it should so sometimes you have to be the brains for them," Pelicans coach Monty Williams said.

• How desperate are the Indiana Pacers? So desperate that the Pacers, 2-7 in their last nine games and 3-8 in their last 11, have decided to sit all five of their starters tonight. Pacers coach Frank Vogel, whose team enters tonight just a half-game behind Miami for the No. 1 seed in the East, apparently felt he had no choice. "We played a disturbing game against the Atlanta Hawks last week (Sunday)," Vogel said. "We scored 23 points in a half. We need to change our focus and to make some adjustments, even if this is a dramatic move to get ourselves playing right, playing well. The bench has been playing very poorly, the starters have been playing very poorly. Hopefully this well get the starters' legs underneath them, and hopefully it will get the bench an opportunity to build some confidence by playing extended minutes." Vogel said that center Roy Hibbert will not dress, but forward David West and Paul George and guards Lance Stephenson and George Hill will dress but not play.

• New Orleans' All-Star forward Anthony Davis will sit out tonight's game to try and recover from back spasms. It'll be just the 11th time game he has missed this season. Davis is averaging 20.8 points, 10 rebounds and 2.84 blocks per game. He played 34 minutes against Portland on Sunday. "After talking to the doctors and getting more information, it just wasn't getting better at the rate that we felt like it should so sometimes you have to be the brains for them," Pelicans coach Monty Williams said.

• Washington's lineup will include Nene for the first time since the power forward suffered a sprained left MCL on Feb. 23 at the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Wizards are 12-9 without the Brazilian big man in this stretch, but struggled defensively in his absence. Wittman said Nene, who will come off the bench, would receive limited minutes in his return. Trevor Ariza (flu) is also expected to play.

• Bobcats forward Josh McRoberts (sprained ankle) returns to the starting lineup after missing the past three games.

• Neither Paul Pierce nor Shaun Livingston will play for the Nets in the second game of a back-to-back. "Shaun's toe is sore and Paul's hip is sore so there's no reason to take a chance. So next guy up," said coach Jason Kidd. In this case, the next guys up are Mirza Teletovic at power forward and Alan Anderson at shooting guard.

• Kevin Garnett, who has missed four of the last five games including Tuesday night's 88-87 win at Miami, is back in the Brooklyn lineup at center.

• Magic center Nik Vucevic will sit out a third straight game with a sore left Achilles. The Magic are 3-17 in games missed by Vucevic, including Saturday night's 100-92 win over Minnesota.

• Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry will return to the starting lineup after missing the past three games with a bruised kneecap. Raptors head coach Dwane Casey said there will be no restrictions on minutes but did stress, "He's not going to be the same Kyle, he is probably going to have a little rust. We will just monitor as it goes."

• Amir Johnson will miss his third straight game with a sore right ankle. Casey said the team's focus is on having the roster healthy for playoffs. "It's important that we do get a sense of unity and rhythm with each other, but again health is probably more important right now," he said. "We still have another week to get everyone back and in the groove."

• The 76ers signed Adonis Thomas to a 10-day contract on April 7, 2014. He becomes the 28th player they have had on their roster this season.

• Pistons small forward Josh Smith (left knee tendinitis) is out for the second straight game, but remains listed as day-to-day. "J-Smoove" played in Detroit's first 77 contests -- averaging a team-high 16.4 points and 6.8 rebounds -- before sitting out its 102-95 win Tuesday in Atlanta. "This isn't something that has been nagging him for long, so right now he's day to day," Pistons interim coach John Loyer said. Smith is wrapping up the first season of a four-year, $54 million contract.

• Cavaliers rookie power forward Anthony Bennett (left patellar tendon strain) and shooting guard C.J. Miles (left ankle sprain) are participating in some physical activities, but Cleveland coach Mike Brown said there is no timetable for either of them to return to game action. "C.J. took part in our shootaround a little bit today, and Anthony is working out individually with our coaches," Brown said.

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