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Thursday, November 14, 2019
HORNETS VS GRIZZLIES
Venue: Spectrum Center | Start: 11:00am AEDT
The Memphis Grizzlies come into Charlotte looking for their first road winning streak of the season when they play the Hornets on Wednesday night. The Grizzlies have sputtered through their first 10 games with three wins, but a victory in San Antonio on Monday night could serve as a spark. The Grizzlies had been 0-3 away from Memphis until Jaren Jackson Jr. dropped 24 on the Spurs en route to the 113-109 victory. Their feel-good win is a far cry from what’s happening to the Hornets, mired in a three-game losing skid. The Hornets got crushed by the Boston Celtics but then hung tough with the New Orleans Pelicans and the Philadelphia 76ers, losing by a combined 13 points in the latter two. The Hornets are searching for better starts to games from their starters. But guard Devonte’ Graham has been a bright spot off the bench, leading the team in scoring at 17.9 points per game, and assists (7.6 apg). He’s coming off back-to-back double-doubles in points and rebounds. Rookie Ja Morant continues to lead the Grizzlies in scoring (17.8 ppg) despite consecutive games under double digits — 17 combined points. Jackson is second on the team in scoring and has 24 and 23 in his past two games.
MAGIC VS 76ERS
Venue: Amway Center | Start: 11:00am AEDT
The Philadelphia 76ers will go for their second victory in as many nights when they visit the Orlando Magic on Wednesday. But forgive the 76ers if they look a little tired to start the game. Philadelphia is coming off an energy-sapping, 98-97 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday night, which included a go-ahead dunk by Joel Embiid with 13.2 seconds to play. The 76ers relied on their stout defense to keep Cleveland from scoring for the final 3 1/2 minutes of the game. Now, the 76ers will go for their third win in a row as they travel south to Orlando to kick off a three-game road trip. The Magic have had a two-day break between games, which probably is a good thing considering that the team had lost five of its past six contests. Big man Nikola Vucevic leads Orlando with 17.1 points and 11.5 rebounds per contest, and Evan Fournier is second on the club with 15.5 points per game in his first 10 starts. Both players will face a difficult matchup against the 76ers’ defense.
ROCKETS VS CLIPPERS
Venue: Toyota Center | Start: 11:30am AEDT
Although Paul George’s debut with the Los Angeles Clippers is expected to take place one day later at New Orleans, an appearance Wednesday at Houston is not out completely of the question. The Clippers will enter their game against the Rockets with a 7-3 record as well as a victory Monday over the NBA champion Toronto Raptors, and still are not whole as George has been recovering from two offseason shoulder procedures. The Clippers’ other newcomer, Kawhi Leonard, has done just fine without his hand-picked tag-team partner, scoring 26.9 points per game with 8.5 rebounds and 5.9 assists. Leonard might not play in one of the two upcoming games, with the Clippers left to decide if the duo plays together or separate. The Clippers will be without shooting guard Landry Shamet, who has a Grade 2 high ankle sprain. The Rockets are back on track and will enter on a four-game winning streak after a 122-116 victory at New Orleans on Monday. James Harden has scored 37.3 points per game, with that up to 40.3 during the winning streak. Russell Westbrook is scoring 21.9 per game and 23.3 during the streak. During their last four games, the Rockets are giving up an average of 105.5 points. Houston’s Eric Gordon is out six weeks after an MRI on Tuesday revealed the need for clean-up procedure on his knee.
CELTICS VS WIZARDS
Venue: TD Garden | Start: 11:30am AEDT
The Boston Celtics are rolling with eight wins in a row, and they will try to make it nine straight when they host the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night. The Celtics’ winning streak has been a show of domination, with each of their past three wins coming by double digits. They are coming off a 10-point win over the Dallas Spurs on Monday night, which followed a 20-point win over the San Antonio Spurs and a 21-point win over the Charlotte Hornets last week. Washington will have its hands full trying to slow down Brad Stevens’ attack, which is led by Kemba Walker with 25.0 points per game. Jaylen Brown (19.8 points per game), Jayson Tatum (19.4) and Marcus Smart (11.1) also are averaging in double digits, which has helped the Celtics to deal with the injury absence of Gordon Hayward. Washington has two wins in eight games this season and is a heavy underdog against Boston, one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference. The Wizards are led by Bradley Beal, who is averaging 26.1 points per game to go along with 4.8 rebounds and 6.5 assists. Beal likely will embrace his matchup against Tatum. Both players attended Chaminade College Preparatory School in St. Louis, and both were taken at No. 3 overall in their respective draft classes. Longtime NBA power forward David Lee also attended the high school. This is the first of four meetings between the Celtics and Wizards this season.
TIMBERWOLVES VS SPURS
Venue: Target Center | Start: 12:00pm AEDT
The San Antonio Spurs find themselves in a funk when they travel to Minnesota to take on the Timberwolves on Wednesday night. The Spurs have dropped four of their past five, including a bad home loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday night. Conversely, the T-Wolves are feeling pretty good about themselves, coming off a road win in Detroit on Monday night. The Wolves won have two of their past three, and are coming off a victory over the Pistons in which they shot 15 of 34 from 3-point range. Further, the Wolves should get back guards Jeff Teague and Shabazz Napier, who both missed the game in Detroit. Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns are feeling it right now; both have 25.5 season scoring averages to lead the team. Towns is also leading the team in rebounds (12.1). The Spurs’ woes are easy to identify for coach Gregg Popovich, who said the Spurs aren’t “executing or competing enough” for 48 minutes. DeMar Derozan leads the team in scoring with 19.4 points per game. LaMarcus Aldridge is right behind at 17.4. This is the first of four meetings between the teams, and the Spurs have won the season series against Minnesota 22 times in 30 seasons, including the last six.
TRAIL BLAZERS VS RAPTORS
Venue: Moda Center | Start: 2:00pm AEDT
The Portland Trail Blazers might not be in the best of moods when they host the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday night. Less than 24 hours earlier, they blew a halftime lead and lost 107-99 to the Sacramento Kings. Damian Lillard (27 points) and C.J. McCollum (24 points) did their part of the offensive end, but the Trail Blazers’ bench combined for all of 17 points on 6-for-25 shooting. It was Portland’s fifth loss in the last six games. Now comes a difficult test against Toronto, which has won three of its last four, including two of three on the road. The Raptors have two games remaining on their road trip, with their visit to Portland followed by a road finale against the Dallas Mavericks. Pascal Siakam is Toronto’s top threat with 26.3 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. However, a thumb injury will sideline Kyle Lowry and prevent him from taking part in an exciting backcourt matchup against Lillard and McCollum. Fellow guard Fred VanVleet will not back down from the challenge. The Wichita State product is averaging 15.8 points and 7.7 assists in his first 10 starts. The teams will meet twice this season — after Wednesday, they have a rematch scheduled for Jan. 7 in Toronto.
LAKERS VS WARRIORS
Venue: Staples Center | Start: 2:00pm AEDT
The Los Angeles Lakers are back on track ahead of a home date with the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday. The Lakers showed a strong closing kick Tuesday, ending the game on a 12-2 run to defeat the Phoenix Suns 123-115 on the road. Anthony Davis scored 24 points with 12 rebounds, while LeBron James had 19 points and 11 assists. Both are expected to be in action on the second night of the back-to-back. The Lakers had a seven-game winning streak before losing to the Toronto Raptors on Sunday and have a favorable schedule ahead to start another run, including the next four games at home. The injury-plagued Warriors lost yet another player this week as guard Damion Lee has a broken right hand and will not play for at least two weeks when he will be re-evaluated. Stephen Curry is out with a broken left hand. Klay Thompson (knee), Kevon Looney (neuropathic condition) and Jacob Evans (adductor) are also out. Omari Spellman (ankle) is not expected to play. D’Angelo Russell is playing well at 26.2 points per game but he could use a little more help. The Warriors are on a four-game losing streak, the most recent defeat coming at home against the Utah Jazz 122-108 on Monday.