***** NBA Previews from The Sports Network *****
Tuesday, March 11th
(All times Eastern)
BOSTON CELTICS (22-41) AT INDIANA PACERS (46-17), 7 P.M.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Indiana Pacers are known for defense and that's been
their problem in a season-high four-game losing streak.
The Pacers are back home Tuesday after an unsuccessful road trip and will try
to sweep the season series from the Boston Celtics for the first time since
1998-99, when they took all three games. The Pacers won all four meetings with
Boston in 1997-98.
Indiana has won the first three meetings with Boston, including a 106-79
beating in the first encounter at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Dec. 22. The
Pacers hope the success in this series will help them avoid a five-game losing
streak for the first time since Feb. 8-15, 2012.
The losing continued for Indiana with Sunday's 105-94 loss at Dallas, as Paul
George led three players with 20 or points by scoring 27 and grabbing 11
rebounds. Lance Stephenson and George Hill scored 21 and 20 points,
respectively, in the loss.
Indiana had won five in a row before the slide and its bench was outscored by
a lopsided 41-4 margin. The Mavericks used a 12-2 run to take a 70-60 lead and
later had an 87-77 advantage midway through the fourth quarter. The Pacers
closed the gap to 89-87, but never got any closer.
"I thought we played hard tonight. We just didn't come away with a win,"
The Pacers, who had 21 turnovers for 26 Dallas points, have lost three
straight games by double digits and are allowing 108.7 points per game in that
span. They are still first in opponents' field goal percentage at 41.9, first
with 35.3 ppg allowed in the paint and tied for first with 92.2 ppg allowed.
Indiana sits only one game ahead of Miami for the East's top spot and is an
NBA-best 29-4 at home this season. It will try to send Boston to its fifth
straight loss as the guest.
The Celtics are only 8-22 on the road, but enter Tuesday's game having won two
in a row and three of five games. They prevailed for just the third time in 10
tries with Sunday's 118-111 win over the Detroit Pistons behind a barrage of
3-pointers (10-of-31) and 27 points from Jeff Green.
Green made 11-of-19 from the floor, including 5-of-12 3-pointers, and Kris
Humphries chipped in 20 points and 11 rebounds. Rajon Rondo posted 11 points
to go with 18 assists for Boston.
"I thought the ball movement was great tonight, I think we had a verity of
guys tonight making shots and that always helps," said Celtics forward Brandon
Bass, who was held to five points.
Rookie Kelly Olynyk had 18 points off the bench in the win.
Boston hopes Rondo can play at Indiana as he is bothered by a sore knee. He
recently had 12 points and 11 assists in a 102-97 home loss to the Pacers on
SACRAMENTO KINGS (22-41) AT DETROIT PISTONS (24-39), 7:30 P.M.
(SportsNetwork.com) - If the Detroit Pistons plan on getting into the playoff
mix, they have to start getting their act together.
The Pistons have lost three straight, seven of eight and 10 of their last 12
games, and are back at The Palace of Auburn Hills Tuesday to host the
Detroit dropped a 118-111 decision its last time out at Boston on Sunday, as
the Celtics made 10-of-31 3-pointers and committed only seven turnovers. They
scored 22 points off 16 Detroit miscues.
"We gave them too many easy baskets," Pistons head coach John Loyer said.
The Pistons were led by Josh Smith's 28 points on 12-of-24 shooting and he is
averaging 18.7 ppg in the last three. Smith also grabbed 11 rebounds, while
Greg Monroe had 22 points and 14 rebounds for the Pistons. Monroe is posting
an average of 23.0 points and 12.0 rebounds in his previous three games.
Andre Drummond chipped in a double-double of his own with 18 points and 22
rebounds in defeat. He has grabbed 20 or more rebounds five times this season
and is having a productive 2013-14 campaign. Drummond is first in the NBA with
5.4 offensive rebounds and has 343 total on the season, the most for Detroit
since Dennis Rodman grabbed 361 offensive boards in 1990-91.
The Pistons are 14-20 at The Palace this season and rank first in points in
the paint (53.0) and second in fastbreak points (18.1). They are 3 1/2 games
behind for a playoff spot in the weak East.
Sacramento will resume a seven-game road trip Tuesday and fell to 1-2 on the
trek with Sunday's 104-89 loss at Brooklyn. The Kings won the opener of this
junket in Milwaukee, then lost at Toronto and to the Nets.
Marcus Thornton scored 27 points off the bench against his former team to lead
Brooklyn, while DeMarcus Cousins paced the Kings with 28 points and 20
rebounds. Rudy Gay and Isaiah Thomas scored 20 and 10 points, respectively,
for Sacramento, which dropped to 9-22 on the road and committed 25 turnovers
for 28 Brooklyn points.
The Kings trailed by 23 at one point, 93-70, and never recovered.
"I don't think we were ready to play tonight," said Kings coach Mike Malone.
"We were able to cut it to nine at halftime, which was a gift because it
wasn't a nine-point game if you watch that half."
Cousins recorded his fourth career 20-point, 20-rebound effort and has scored
at least 20 points in five straight games, averaging 23.4 ppg in that time.
Gay has done the same in seven of the previous nine contests (22.9 ppg).
Sacramento, losers in five of seven games overall, still has Philadelphia,
Chicago and Minnesota to play on the trip. The Kings lost to the Pistons 97-90
at home on Nov. 15 and were led by Cousins' 26 points and 13 boards.
Detroit has won seven of eight and nine of the last 11 meetings with
Sacramento, which has lost three straight at The Palace.
HOUSTON ROCKETS (44-19) AT OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER (46-17), 8 P.M.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Houston Rockets are a different team since the last
time they faced the Oklahoma City Thunder and look to exact revenge when the
two Western powers engage in battle Tuesday night.
The Rockets have lost the first two encounters with the Thunder by double
digits and are 4-10 in the last 14 games in this series. They have also lost
six of seven trips to Chesapeake Energy Arena.
But Houston's fortunes have turned lately with five straight wins and 15 in
the last 17 tries. The Rockets are an NBA-best 23-6 since Jan. 1 and have not
lost a game in 2014 when scoring 100 or more points.
Houston has hit the century mark in every game during its winning streak and
is third in the NBA with 106.6 ppg. The Rockets have knocked off the likes of
NBA powers Miami, Indiana and Portland in the last five games and needed
overtime to defeat the Trail Blazers 118-113 on Sunday.
James Harden, the Western Conference Player of the Week, scored 20 of his 41
points in the fourth quarter and is averaging 29.8 points in his last 11
games. He is fifth in the league with 24.9 ppg and buried a big 3-pointer to
make it 106-106 late in regulation.
Jeremy Lin netted 26 points off the bench, Dwight Howard had 17 points and 12
rebounds, and Chandler Parsons chipped in 16 points for the Rockets, who
scored 32 points off 21 turnovers and erased a 13-point deficit in the fourth
quarter to force overtime. Houston scored 12 of the 19 points in the extra
stanza for its eighth straight win at home.
"When you win games like this, it gives you the feeling that if you keep
grinding and keep fighting, you can make things happen," said Rockets coach
Kevin McHale. "It gives you a confidence and an ability to stick to what you
do and play hard."
McHale's team will start a rough three-game road trip Tuesday against Oklahoma
City, Chicago and Miami, and is third in the Western Conference, just 2 1/2
games off the top spot.
Oklahoma City has struggled lately with two straight losses and five over the
last eight games. It suffered an embarrassing 114-110 loss to the lowly Los
Angeles Lakers on Sunday and a late-game rally fell short.
Kevin Durant led the Thunder with a triple-double of 27 points, 12 assists and
10 rebounds, while Russell Westbrook stuffed the stat sheet with 20 points,
eight assists, seven rebounds and three steals. Serge Ibaka had 21 points and
15 boards for OKC, which squandered an 18-point lead in the first half and
later trailed by that many after a 23-2 run by L.A.
"We have to do a better job of executing on the defensive end of the floor,"
Thunder head coach Scott Brooks said. "We had trouble staying in front of the
basketball tonight. It's something that we have to continue to work on and
build going forward."
Durant, the NBA's leading scorer with 31.7 ppg, has three triple-doubles on
the season and six in his career. He has scored 25 or more points in the last
28 games, a streak that is one game shy of his 29-game run in 2009-10. He is
averaging 35.0 ppg in that stretch.
The Thunder have scored 100 or more points in the last seven games and are
fifth in the NBA with 105.7 ppg. They will try to improve their 26-6 home
record and have won three in a row as the host.
Oklahoma City will play its next three games at home versus Houston, the
Lakers and Dallas, and sits a half-game behind San Antonio for the Western
Tuesday's game is sure to be a high-scoring affair.
MILWAUKEE BUCKS (13-50) AT MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES (31-31), 8 P.M.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Minnesota Timberwolves hope to break even in the
conclusion of a four-game homestand Tuesday versus the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Timberwolves lost to New York in the opener of the stay, defeated Detroit
last Friday and dropped a 111-104 decision versus Toronto the last time out on
Sunday. DeMar DeRozan scored 25 points and Kyle Lowry had a triple-double of
20 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists for the Raptors.
Toronto knocked down 14-of-24 3-pointers.
"It's a good team we played," Wolves coach Rick Adelman said. "They're playing
very well and they have a lot of veteran players. We got beat. We can't hang
Minnesota was led by Kevin Love's 26 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists,
Kevin Martin scored 20 points and both Corey Brewer and Nikola Pekovic ended
with 17 points. Pekovic also grabbed 11 rebounds for the T'Wolves, who had won
three straight and six of seven games before the homestand.
Love is averaging 30.4 points and 12.2 rebounds in the last 11 games.
The Wolves have a 17-13 record at the Target Center and are five games off a
playoff spot in the West.
Milwaukee will play its next three games on the road and hopes to slow down a
Timberwolves team that is fourth in the NBA with 106.2 ppg.
The Bucks, who are scheduled to visit Atlanta and New York on the trip, held
their last opponent under 100 points in Monday's 105-98 win over Orlando.
Brandon Knight scored 24 points, Khris Middleton had 21 and Ersan Ilyasova
added 16 points and 11 boards, as Milwaukee stopped a three-game slide and won
for the second time in the last seven tries.
"I just wanted to come out and be aggressive," said Knight. "We were able to
get out and get some easy baskets and it was able to get us into a good
Milwaukee is 5-24 as the visitor and suffered a 117-95 loss to Minnesota on
Dec. 28 in Brew City. Love led the Wolves in that one with 33 points and 15
rebounds, while Middleton ended with 23 points.
The Timberwolves are unbeaten in the past three games against Milwaukee and
have an 11-2 mark in the previous 13 meetings as the host.
PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS (42-21) AT MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES (36-26), 8 P.M.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Portland Trail Blazers are still searching for their
first win on this current road trip and they'll make another go of it Tuesday
night when they visit FedExForum to take on the Memphis Grizzlies.
The Blazers dropped the first two of a five-game southern swing, falling to
the Dallas Mavericks on Friday and the Houston Rockets on Sunday. Those are
two playoff-bound teams in the Western Conference, but the trip doesn't get
easier with Memphis, a playoff contender, the San Antonio Spurs and New
Orleans Pelicans on the docket.
The Sunday loss to the Rockets was a tough pill to swallow. Houston prevailed
in overtime, 118-113, as James Harden went off for 41.
LaMarcus Aldridge had a team-high 28 points to go along with 12 rebounds to
lead Portland, which has dropped three of its last four contests. Wesley
Matthews netted 26 points and Damian Lillard deposited 21 points before
fouling out in the extra session.
Robin Lopez finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds, while Mo Williams added
10 points off the bench in the setback
Portland had a 13-point lead with 7:30 to play, but Houston, mainly Harden and
Jeremy Lin, caught fire. With less than 20 seconds left, Matthews missed a
free-throw which would've made it a two-possession game and Harden buried a 3-
The Blazers were three points clear with less than two minutes to go in
overtime, but Harden again was spectacular.
"Of course there are a lot of angry faces because we should've had that game,"
Blazers coach Terry Stotts said. "We were definitely in position to win it."
The Grizzlies have won two straight and four of their last five. The recent
run spurred Memphis into the eighth seed in the Western Conference, just a
half-game ahead of the Phoenix Suns.
On Saturday, Mike Conley scored 20 points to lead the Grizzlies to a 111-89
home win over the Charlotte Bobcats.
Zach Randolph contributed 16 points with seven rebounds, while Marc Gasol
notched 14 points and nine rebounds in Memphis' sixth straight home win. Kosta
Koufos deposited a 12-point, 10-rebound double-double for the home team.
"I can't help but look at the standings," said Tony Allen, who had eight
points, six rebounds and four assists off the bench in the win. "(Coach
Joerger) probably wants us to stop talking about (the playoffs) and take it
one game at a time, which we're trying to do. But you can't help but go online
and see what Phoenix's next three games are; see what Golden State's next
three games are."
The Grizzlies bested the Blazers by 17 in Portland on Jan. 28. That was
Memphis' fourth consecutive victory in this series. The Blazers are 9-3 in
their last 12 in Memphis.
SAN ANTONIO SPURS (46-16) AT CHICAGO BULLS (35-28), 8 P.M.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The San Antonio Spurs own the NBA's best record thanks
to a six-game winning streak, but they'll face a stiff challenge Tuesday night
when they visit the Chicago Bulls.
The Spurs' last loss came Feb. 21 at Phoenix. Since Feb. 1, San Antonio is
13-3 and moved past the Oklahoma City Thunder for supremacy in the Western
Conference and the Indiana Pacers for the best mark in the league.
On Saturday, Tony Parker had 30 points and five assists and the Spurs defeated
the Orlando Magic, 121-112, at AT&T Center.
Manu Ginobili tallied 24 points, Tim Duncan supplied 11 points and 10 rebounds
and Kawhi Leonard added 17 points, seven boards and four assists for the
Spurs, who have won nine of their last 10.
Danny Green finished with 12 points, while Tiago Splitter chipped in 14
"We picked our defense up and got a little bit more physical in the second
half," San Antonio head coach Gregg Popovich said. "We finally got it done and
I'm proud of them for that."
The Bulls have alternated wins and losses over the last five, but prior to
that, Chicago has gone 6-2 in its last eight.
After starting a demanding six-game homestand with a loss to the Memphis
Grizzlies on Friday, the Bulls bounced back with a 95-88 overtime victory over
the Miami Heat.
Jimmy Butler did a fantastic job on LeBron James, holding the two-time
reigning MVP to 17 points on 8-of-23 shooting from the field. James also
didn't attempt a free-throw in the entire game for the first time since Dec.
Butler recorded 16 points, 11 rebounds, four steals and one block. His block
came against James in the final second of regulation.
Joakim Noah had 20 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists and five blocks for the
Bulls, who have moved into the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference. D.J.
Augustin tallied 22 points, Kirk Hinrich added 11 and Taj Gibson grabbed 12
boards off the bench.
This homestand is heavy on title contenders. Memphis is now in the postseason
mix, Miami is the two-time defending champs, the Spurs nearly won another ring
last season and the Houston Rockets, Sacramento Kings and Oklahoma City
Thunder also visit the Windy City on this residency.
"I think human nature would be to exhale a little bit," Noah told the team's
website. "The Spurs are playing great basketball and they're coming whether we
like it or not, whether we exhaled or not. We've got to fight human nature and
be ready for a big game against a team that's going to come in hungry because
we beat them pretty good at their place."
The Bulls topped the Spurs by 10 on Jan. 29, but San Antonio is 8-3 in its
last 11 in Chicago.
DALLAS MAVERICKS (38-26) AT GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS (40-24), 10:30 P.M.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Golden State Warriors will put their four-game
winning streak on the line Tuesday night when they welcome the Dallas
Mavericks to Oracle Arena.
Golden State started its run with back-to-back victories at the end of a long
road trip. Upon return, the Warriors have won two straight at home, including
a pivotal Pacific Division showdown Sunday with the Phoenix Suns.
David Lee scored 26 points with nine rebounds to help the Warriors to a
113-107 win over the Suns. Klay Thompson was 4-for-6 from beyond the arc and
netted 22 points, while Stephen Curry deposited 18 points with nine assists in
the win, Golden State's fourth straight at home.
The Warriors held a 16-point lead heading into the fourth quarter, but the
Suns rebounded. The margin was four with 38.1 seconds on the clock, but the
Warriors hung on, despite four missed free-throws in the waning seconds of the
"They're (Suns) a streaky team that can put a lot of points on the board
quickly," said Lee. "We probably could have played a little bit better with a
lead than we did, but (I'm) happy we closed it out and got stops when we
The Mavs have won two straight since a three-game losing streak. Dallas is
safely in the seventh spot in the Western Conference playoff race, but begins
a three-game road trip Tuesday.
The Mavs' two-game winning streak came against very strong opponents, but both
were at home. On Friday, Dallas toppled the Portland Trail Blazers by five,
then, two days later, the Mavericks bested the Indiana Pacers, 105-94.
Dallas squandered a 17-point lead in the first half and needed a late push to
sweep the home-and-home series from the Pacers, who lost four in a row for the
first time all season.
Devin Harris and Monta Ellis each scored 20 points, while Dirk Nowitzki needed
14 shots to net 14 points for the Mavs, who also received double-digit scoring
efforts from Shawn Marion, Jose Calderon and Vince Carter.
"We started off well and ended well, but had some trouble in between, and we
had to fight throughout the game," Harris said.
The Mavericks will visit the Utah Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder and after
that, play eight straight at American Airline Center.
The two teams have split two matchups this season, with the home team
defending serve each time. The Warriors have won four of their last five as
the host in this series.
03/11 10:10:47 ET