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Ten Before Tip: NBA news from Monday

POSTED: Apr 14, 2014 11:00 PM ET news sources


• The Toronto Raptors (47-33) look to set a franchise-record for wins in a season (48), with a victory over the Milwaukee Bucks (15-65) on Monday night.

• Bucks guard Brandon Knight will play tonight, back in the starting lineup after missing Saturday's game in Washington with a hamstring injury.

• Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan will sit out due to rest, he will be replaced in the starting line-up by Greivis Vasquez.

• Two of the Miami Heat's Big Three will sit out Monday's matchup at the Washington Wizards. LeBron James and Chris Bosh are out, but Dwyane Wade will play. This occurs despite the reality that the Heat (54-26) remain in play for the top seed in the Eastern Conference. With two games remaining, Miami enters Monday 1/2 game behind first place Indiana (55-26). The Pacers, off until Wednesday, hold the head-to-head tiebreaker.

• The Wizards (42-28) could wrap up the sixth seed in the East with a win over Miami and a Charlotte loss. Washington has won two straight, but hasn't won more than two in a row since March 1. Bradley Beal scored 26 points in Saturday's 96-86 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks. The Bobcats, who own the tiebreaker over Washington, play at the Atlanta Hawks on Monday.

• Those suiting up for Miami will focus on its road performance and limiting turnovers. The Heat have lost two straight on the road, including Saturday's setback at Atlanta. Miami committed 20 turnovers against the Hawks. "We're trying to build some habits on the road. That's our focus right now," Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said following Monday's shootaround.

• Wade will play his second game after missing his previous nine with a lingering knee injury. He confirmed pregame he remains on a 20-24 minutes limit.

• The Pelicans (32-48) will have only 10 players available for their penultimate game of the season as Brian Roberts is set to sit out with a left ankle injury. This will give second-year guard Austin Rivers another chance to handle the ball at the point. Guard Tyreke Evans will play after coach Monty Williams leaning towards him not being available during pre-game. Evans sat out Saturday's loss to Houston with a right knee bone bruise, but will start tonight.

• New Orleans released center Greg Stiemsma and signed Melvin Ely on Monday. The move was less performance-based and more depth-based. Stiemsma has had "He had a really tough time with his knees this year," Williams said of Stiemsma. "There would be days he'd be really good. And there would be days where he would be like, 'Coach, I'm hurting a little bit.' "

• With the Hawks having secured the No. 8 playoff spot in the East, head coach Mike Budenholzer will rest starters Paul Millsap, Kyle Korver and DeMarre Carroll Monday night when the Bobcats visit for Atlanta's final home game of the regular season. Korver has been bothered by back issues, and Millsap and Carroll have had hand problems. Mike Scott, Louis Williams, and Cartier Martin will start at power forward, shooting guard and small forward, respectively.

• Pero Antic, who has been slowed by a sprained right ankle, will start at center for Atlanta after missing two of the previous three games.

• Charlotte guard Kemba Walker will return to the starting lineup for the Bobcats after missing two games with a groin strain. The Bobcats (41-39) are currently in the No. 7 spot in the East, but can still catch the Wizards (42-38) for No. 6.

• The Spurs have secured the NBA's best record and home-court advantage throughout the playoffs, but coach Gregg Popovich is not giving the night off to his core trio of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili. Popovich said Duncan and Ginobili could benefit from limited action after sitting out Friday's victory over Phoenix to rest, while Parker is itching for playing time after missing San Antonio's last road trip with a minor back injury. "You still have health as the No. 1 priority. They're not going to play 38 minutes or anything like that," Popovich said. "They got to play some to keep in a rhythm and stay fresh and not get stale in what they're doing. ... This is kind of a controlled rest in a sense."

• Houston forward Chandler Parsons (sore wrist, hip) was involved in a car accident outside Toyota Center just before arriving to play tonight's game, but he is still expected to start after missing Saturday's win over New Orleans. The status of reserve wing Francisco Garcia (sore back) is still up in the air, although coach Kevin McHale said Garcia will "probably" be available.

• The Bulls will be either the third or fourth seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs, but head coach Tom Thibodeau won't alter the game plan with potential matchups in mind. "When you start doing that, you get yourself into trouble," he said. "Oftentimes in the regular season, there are lot of things that go into it. Sometimes the team you're matched up with has some injuries or they're in the midst of four (games) in five (days). You just never know. The important thing is to go step by step, do all the necessary things that go into winning (going) forward and concentrate on improvement. In the end, you're not going to sneak around people. To be successful, you have to go through people." Guard D.J. Augustin wasn't expected to play because of what was said to be a personal reason.

• The Bulls signed forward Greg Smith for the remainder of the season. In 11 games, the Fresno State product averaged 3.5 points and 2.5 rebounds per game for the Houston Rockets this season, his third with the team. "When he was healthy, he played very well," Thibodeau said. "We're fortunate to be able to pick him up."

• The injury-riddled Lakers, losers of seven straight, will have nine players available for tonight. They may only use eight as MarShon Brooks has had two DNP-CD's in a row. Los Angeles will start Wesley Johnson, Ryan Kelly, Jordan Hill, Jodie Meeks and Kendall Marshall.

• The Jazz, losers for four straight and 20 of their last 23, won't be at full strength either. Marvin Williams, who has started in 50 games this season, will miss his third straight game with a left knee bone bruise. For the third straight game they'll start their five core young guys -- Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter, Gordon Hayward, Alec Burks and Trey Burke.

• Two games from a probable playoff matchup with the LA Clippers, the Warriors have suffered yet another injury blow, and it has the potential to be a huge one: center Andrew Bogut fractured his fifth rib on his right side in the fourth quarter of Golden State's 119-117 overtime loss to Portland on Sunday and is out indefinitely. Bogut is one of the centerpieces of the Warriors' third-ranked defense, and the chances of a return in time for the start of the playoffs seems remote at best.

• For the Timberwolves, Ronny Turiaf is considered doubtful with a sore right knee. "Everybody else, I think, is playing," coach Rick Adelman said.

• The Memphis Grizzlies can wrap up a playoff spot with a win over the Phoenix Suns in Arizona tonight. The Grizzlies are 3-0 vs. the Suns this season even though big man Marc Gasol has missed all three for the Grizzlies. "Thank God Marc Gasol is playing," Suns coach Jeff Hornacek joked.

• All the Grizzlies regulars are available. Same for the Suns, though star guard Goran Dragic is playing with a sore ankle that he called about "35 to 40 percent" in a loss Saturday at Dallas. "It's not a whole lot better" tonight, Hornacek said of Dragic's ankle.