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5 NBA things to know for Jan. 15

Some key storylines and NBA tidbits to know for the day ahead

Jeff Case, NBA.com

1. Can Lakers keep rolling without Davis?

It seems that not even an injury to one of the Lakers’ top players can keep them from rolling along. Although Anthony Davis has missed the last three games recovering from his tailbone injury, the Lakers haven’t looked worse for the wear. They’re 3-0 in that stretch and as the Magic visit tonight (10:30 ET, League Pass), Davis will again be questionable. However, reserves such as Kyle Kuzma and Dwight Howard have stepped up nicely in Davis’ absence and, of course, LeBron James continues to dominate. Keep an eye on the defenses in this one, though: the Lakers are No. 3 in Defensive Rating, while the Magic aren’t far behind (No. 5).

2. Back-to-back tests for Nets

Kyrie Irving was doing all kinds of Kyrie Irving-type things last night vs. the Jazz, but his Nets had no answer for Joe Ingles, Rudy Gobert and Co. in a 118-107 loss. There’s no rest for the weary, though, as Brooklyn will host the Philadelphia 76ers (7 ET, ESPN) in a showdown of Eastern Conference teams that have had their struggles lately. The Sixers have lost six of their last eight games, including a 101-95 defeat in Indiana that saw the Pacers rally late to win. In fact, five of the Sixers’ last six losses have come against teams over .500 (Heat, Pacers, Rockets, Mavericks, Pacers), so they’re looking to get back on track as well.

3. A big reinforcement for Raptors

Toronto is the No. 4 team in the East this morning, but is just 2 1/2 games behind the Boston Celtics for the No. 2 spot. That the Raptors have held things together given their myriad of injuries has been remarkable. Things are looking up even moreso for them in their trip to Oklahoma City (8 ET, League Pass) as center Marc Gasol is planning to suit up. Gasol hasn’t played since suffering a hamstring injury in a win against Detroit. The 34-year-old has started all 27 games he’s played in, averaging 6.6 ppg, 6.6 rpg and 3.4 apg this season.

4. Westbrook back as Blazers host Rockets

Memphis Grizzlies rookie Ja Morant made the Houston Rockets and their backcourt look just plain silly in a 121-110 loss on Tuesday. Morant did all of his damage while not facing Russell Westbrook, who missed the game for rest reasons. Westbrook will be back in the mix, though, as Houston heads to Portland (9:30 ET, ESPN) and Houston tries to keep pace in a changing West race. Injuries have Portland seven games under .500 at the season’s halfway point, but the big game Anthony Tolliver provided in a win vs. Charlotte gave the Blazers signs of life on their bench.

5. On this date: You traded Wilt?!

In one of the biggest trades in NBA history, the San Francisco Warriors, in the middle of a then league record 17-game losing streak, traded Wilt Chamberlain on Jan. 15, 1965 to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for Connie Dierking, Lee Shaffer, Paul Neumann and cash. In his 3 1/2 seasons with the Sixers, Chamberlain won an NBA title (1967), three NBA MVPs and was an All-Star each season. Dierking, Shaffer and Neumann, meanwhile, were mostly role players during their remaining NBA years.

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