National Basketball Association
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                ***** NBA Previews from The Sports Network *****
                               Wednesday, March 4
                              (All times Eastern)
 
 
 NEW YORK KNICKS (12-47) AT INDIANA PACERS (25-34), 7 P.M.
 
 (SportsNetwork.com) - The Indiana Pacers will try to run their winning streak
 to three games Wednesday night when the New York Knicks pay a visit to Bankers
 Life Fieldhouse.
 
 Indiana has been on fire beyond this recent run of excellent play. The Pacers
 are 8-2 since the beginning of February and own a three-game home winning
 streak.
 
 The Pacers have vaulted into the mix for the eighth and final playoff spot in
 the Eastern Conference, just a half-game off the pace. Things could get
 interesting if Paul George returns in mid-March as expected.
 
 Indiana's recent outing was a 94-74 pasting of the Philadelphia 76ers at home
 on Sunday.
 
 Roy Hibbert was sensational on Sunday with 14 points and 15 rebounds.
 
 "I thought he was as active as he's been in weeks," Indiana coach Frank Vogel
 said of Hibbert. Vogel was named the Eastern Conference Coach of the Month for
 February.
 
 George Hill posted 17 points, nine rebounds and four assists, while Luis Scola
 added 15 points and six boards off the bench for the Pacers, who have won five
 of their last six games.
 
 The Pacers led by as many as 17 in the third quarter, but the Sixers chipped
 away and an Isaiah Canaan 3-pointer cut the deficit to 77-71 with 9:07
 remaining.
 
 Indiana, though, netted the last 13 points of the game to close it out
 comfortably.
 
 The Knicks had a two-game winning streak snapped in ugly fashion Tuesday
 night. In a makeup game that was postponed for weather, the Sacramento Kings
 stormed into Madison Square Garden and left with a 124-86 victory.
 
 "It was definitely not the level of character and integrity that this group
 has been showing," said Knicks coach Derek Fisher.
 
 Alexey Shved led the Knicks with 15 points, while Jason Smith and Shake Larkin
 each tallied 13 points off the bench.
 
 New York had a tough time on the offensive end throughout the night, shooting
 36.6 percent for the game as no starter scored in double figures.
 
 The Kings brought a 26-point lead into the locker room and had no trouble
 closing out the lowly Knicks in the second half, leading by as many as 44 down
 the stretch in the lopsided victory.
 
 The Pacers won this season's only meeting in Indianapolis and the two teams
 will jump it up again on Saturday at Madison Square Garden. Including the
 postseason, the Pacers have won eight straight over New York as the host.
 
 
 PHOENIX SUNS (31-30) AT ORLANDO MAGIC (19-42), 7 P.M.
 
 (SportsNetwork.com) - Someone's losing streak will come to an end Wednesday
 night when the Phoenix Suns continue their road trip at the Amway Center
 against the Orlando Magic.
 
 The Suns have lost two in a row, including the opener of this four-game swing
 in Miami on Monday night. Phoenix still has stops in Brooklyn and Cleveland
 before returning home.
 
 On Monday, in quite a chippy affair, the Heat prevailed, 115-98.
 
 Goran Dragic scored 21 points in just 15 minutes in his first action against
 his former team. His involvement in an ugly play led to a temper-filled third
 quarter.
 
 Markieff Morris had 13 points for Phoenix, but it was his flagrant-2 foul on
 Dragic early in the third that led to problems. Dragic stole the ball from
 P.J. Tucker and was going in for a breakaway layup when Morris fouled him hard
 at full speed. Morris was ejected from the game.
 
 "It was a hard foul," Morris said of the foul. "Both of our momentum, it was a
 basketball play I thought, but the refs thought otherwise."
 
 Four minutes later, Hassan Whiteside grabbed an offensive rebound and dunked
 over Alex Len. The duo got tangled as they landed and Len shoved Whiteside,
 who retaliated by tackling Len to the ground. Both players were thrown out.
 
 Henry Walker and Marcus Morris then received double technical fouls following
 Walker's flagrant-1. Johnson scored four quick points after that to extend
 Miami's lead to 11.
 
 The Suns only got as close as seven the rest of the way.
 
 Eric Bledsoe and Tucker paced Phoenix with 20 points apiece, and Len posted 10
 with 11 boards before his ejection.
 
 The Magic have dropped three straight, including two in a row at home. They
 still expect Sacramento and Boston on this stay.
 
 On Sunday, the Charlotte Hornets came to Orlando and left with a 98-83
 victory.
 
 Victor Oladipo led Orlando with 21 points. Tobias Harris added 13 points and
 nine rebounds, while Willie Green and Andrew Nicholson chipped in 11 apiece.
 Nikola Vucevic only managed 10 points.
 
 "Tough game overall," said Oladipo. "We just have to move on to the next one."
 
 The Magic trailed by only one at halftime, but fell behind by 15 in the third
 quarter because of poor shooting. They went 6-of-19 from the floor (31.6
 percent) in the game's penultimate 12-minute segment.
 
 Charlotte took a 71-60 advantage into the fourth quarter and had its lead
 trimmed to four twice. Ben Gordon hit a pullup jumper to draw Orlando within
 74-70 with 7:16 remaining. The Hornets, however, responded with an 8-0 run to
 regain control.
 
 The Magic defeated the Suns in Phoenix on Nov. 30 to stem a two-game series
 slide. The Magic are 5-1 in their last six versus the Suns in Orlando.
 
 
 CLEVELAND CAVALIERS (38-24) AT TORONTO RAPTORS (38-22), 7:30 P.M.
 
 (SportsNetwork.com) - The Cleveland Cavaliers got back into the win column
 last time out and will try for consecutive victories Wednesday when they
 travel north to face the Toronto Raptors at Air Canada Centre.
 
 Wednesday's matchup features the No. 2 and No. 4 teams in the Eastern
 Conference standings. Toronto is only a half-game ahead of the Chicago Bulls
 and one game in front of the Cavs for second in the conference. Atlanta is
 almost out of reach for eastern supremacy.
 
 After a tough loss to the Houston Rockets on Sunday where LeBron James missed
 two free throws under five seconds to go in overtime, down one, the four-time
 MVP carried the Cavs in a 110-79 thrashing of the Boston Celtics in Cleveland
 on Tuesday.
 
 James scored 27 points with five rebounds.
 
 "We've been sound defensively," James said. "We also shared the ball and got
 the ball moving from side to side."
 
 Kyrie Irving returned from a two-game absence and added 18 points for the
 Cavs, while Kevin Love and J.R. Smith gave 12 points apiece.
 
 Timofey Mozgov, Tristan Thompson and James Jones all had 10 in the lopsided
 win.
 
 Cleveland finished the first quarter on a 24-7 spurt, and the lead grew to 25
 following nine straight Cleveland points late in the first half. The Cavs
 ended any hope of a comeback early in the third quarter, when James capped an
 11-0 burst with a layup that extended the lead to 76-42.
 
 The Raptors snapped a five-game slide last time out with a 114-103 road
 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday.
 
 DeMar DeRozan had a season-high 35 points with nine rebounds and five assists
 to lead Toronto. Former Sixer Lou Williams netted 21 points off the bench for
 the Raptors, who snapped a season-high losing streak.
 
 Patrick Patterson scored 15 off the bench, followed by 12 apiece from Greivis
 Vasquez and Terrence Ross. The four players who got off the Raptors' bench
 accounted for 54 points.
 
 "I don't care who you are, it's hard to win in this league," Toronto coach
 Dwane Casey said. "I thought we had it tonight."
 
 All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry sat again on Monday due to lingering injuries.
 He should be back in uniform on Wednesday.
 
 The Sixers never led in the second half, but pulled within one on three
 occasions. Ish Smith's driving layup got them within 69-68 with 4:25 remaining
 in the third quarter, but the Raptors answered with an 11-3 run and were never
 challenged again.
 
 Ross jump-started and capped the surge with 3-pointers to stake Toronto to an
 80-71 advantage. The Raptors took an 83-76 margin into the fourth and
 Philadelphia never trimmed the gap below seven in the final frame.
 
 The Cavs won two of three meetings with the Raptors this season and the two
 teams have split the last eight encounters in Canada.
 
 
 UTAH JAZZ (24-35) AT BOSTON CELTICS (23-35), 7:30 P.M.
 
 (SportsNetwork.com) - The Utah Jazz have won three in a row and will try to
 keep the momentum going Wednesday when they continue their road trip at TD
 Bank Garden against the Boston Celtics.
 
 The Jazz have won five of their last six and two straight on the road. They'll
 visit the Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets on this sojourn, which began
 brilliantly Tuesday night.
 
 Utah handed the Memphis Grizzlies, the second-best team in the loaded Western
 Conference, a 93-82 thumping at FedExForum.
 
 Rudy Gobert scored 15 points and set a career high with 24 rebounds in the
 triumph. Gobert pulled down 18 defensive rebounds as Utah established a new
 season-high for consecutive victories.
 
 "I think everybody played great defense," Gobert said. "We did a good job
 communicating."
 
 Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors each scored 21 points and Rodney Hood added
 13 points off the bench in the win.
 
 Utah put the game away with an 11-1 run midway through the fourth. Gobert
 scored the final four points of the spurt that put the Jazz up 85-71.
 
 The Celtics lost their second in a row after a three-game winning streak.
 After blowing a 26-point lead against the vaunted Golden State Warriors on
 Sunday, Boston got blown out by the Cleveland Cavaliers, 110-79, Tuesday at
 Quicken Loans Arena.
 
 "I told them it wasn't good enough," Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said.
 "Individual basketball against these guys doesn't work."
 
 Brandon Bass netted 15 points and reigning Eastern Conference Player of the
 Week Isaiah Thomas added 11 off the bench. No other Celtics player managed
 double figures and the team shot 35.2 percent from the floor.
 
 Avery Bradley capped a 9-0 Boston run early in the contest that gave the
 visitors a 9-5 edge. From there, Cleveland finished the first quarter on a
 24-7 spurt, and the lead grew to 25 following nine straight Cleveland points
 late in the first half.
 
 The Cavs ended any hope of a comeback early in the third quarter, when James
 capped an 11-0 burst with a layup that extended the lead to 76-42.
 
 Kelly Olynyk didn't return to the lineup due to a sprained right ankle. He is
 listed as questionable.
 
 The Celtics hit the road following Wednesday's game with trips to New Orleans,
 Orlando and Miami on the docket.
 
 Boston defeated the Jazz in Salt Lake City on Jan. 26 and have won seven of
 the last eight meetings. The Celtics have taken six straight over the Jazz in
 Boston.
 
 
 CHARLOTTE HORNETS (25-33) AT BROOKLYN NETS (25-33), 7:30 P.M.
 
 (SportsNetwork.com) - Two teams battling for the eighth and final playoff spot
 in the Eastern Conference square off Wednesday at the Barclays Center when the
 Brooklyn Nets host the Charlotte Hornets.
 
 After the Hornets prevailed Tuesday night, the Nets and Hornets are tied for
 the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference.
 
 The Nets have won two in a row and the victories have been impressive. They
 closed out an eight-game road trip with a 10-point triumph over the Dallas
 Mavericks, then returned home to knock off the Golden State Warriors on
 Monday.
 
 Jarrett Jack hit the game-winning shot with just 1.1 seconds remaining to stun
 the Warriors, 110-108.
 
 "It's all about being ready," said Jack. "I didn't have a huge game shooting
 the ball."
 
 Golden State's Steph Curry scored 11 of his 26 points during a 12-2 run that
 knotted the score at 108-108 entering the final minute, but the MVP
 candidate's reverse layup attempt missed the mark and left his hand after the
 buzzer to send the Warriors to defeat.
 
 Brook Lopez racked up 26 points and Deron Williams added 22 for Brooklyn,
 which went 10-of-21 from 3-point range and held Curry and fellow All-Star Klay
 Thompson in check for most of the night.
 
 While Curry was able to overcome some early struggles, Thompson made just 3-
 of-17 field goal attempts and finished 1-of-9 from beyond the arc while
 mustering just seven points.
 
 Alan Anderson finished with 16 points and Thaddeus Young scored 14 off the
 bench for Brooklyn
 
 The Nets have won three consecutive home games, which is their longest streak
 of the season.
 
 The Hornets have won two in a row and three of their last four. After a 2-2
 road trip, Charlotte returned home and pulled out a difficult 104-103 victory
 Tuesday over the Los Angeles Lakers.
 
 Al Jefferson had 21 points and 16 rebounds to pace the Hornets, while Mo
 Williams posted 20 points and 13 assists.
 
 "When the game gets tight, people are going to double me. When you have a
 chance to kick it out to a knockdown shooter, it takes the pressure off me,"
 Jefferson said of Williams.
 
 Gerald Henderson added 21 points and five assists for the Hornets. Michael
 Kidd-Gilchrist chipped in 12 and Cody Zeller was the fifth starter in double
 figures with 10.
 
 After two Ed Davis free throws pulled the Lakers within 91-90 with 3:45
 remaining, the Hornets went on a 7-1 spurt to put the game away. Williams
 capped the flurry with a 3-pointer to stake Charlotte to a 98-92 edge with
 1:00 to go.
 
 Jordan Clarkson's layup with nine seconds left clawed LA within 101-98, but
 Williams sunk 3-of-4 foul shots to seal the outcome.
 
 Lance Stephenson did not play in the second half. It was a coach's decision.
 
 The Nets beat the Hornets by 27 in Charlotte on Dec. 13. Charlotte has not
 beaten the Nets in four tries since the team moved to Brooklyn, and the road
 losing streak in this series stands at six games.
 
 
 DENVER NUGGETS (21-39) AT MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES (13-46), 8 P.M.
 
 (SportsNetwork.com) - The Brian Shaw era is over in Denver, but the Nuggets
 continue on Wednesday night at the Target Center versus the Minnesota
 Timberwolves.
 
 Shaw was fired Tuesday morning and interim coach Melvin Hunt guided the team
 to a 106-95 home win over the Milwaukee Bucks that night.
 
 Shaw, who went 56-85 in Denver, had his trouble over his tenure with the
 Nuggets and even admitted earlier this season that he needed coaching books to
 help him with ways to handle the players.
 
 "I'm going to ad lib and play it by ear," Hunt said during a pregame
 interview. "It's a regular day. This is our business, so let's do it."
 
 Danilo Gallinari posted a season-high 26 points to lead the Nuggets.
 
 Ty Lawson finished with 16 points and 10 assists for Denver, which snapped a
 10-game losing streak at home -- including a six-game skid overall. Kenneth
 Faried netted 14 points with 14 rebounds in the win
 
 J.J. Hickson had 10 rebounds off the bench for the Nuggets.
 
 The Timberwolves have dropped three straight, including two in a row at home.
 
 On Monday, the T-wolves fell to the Los Angeles Clippers, 110-105, in a
 spirited affair that featured seven technical fouls and an ejection.
 
 The Clippers accounted for five of those technical fouls - one each for head
 coach Doc Rivers, Spencer Hawes and Austin Rivers, and two for J.J. Redick,
 who was ejected after a back-and-forth with Minnesota coach Flip Saunders.
 Kevin Garnett got the other tech after his altercation with Austin Rivers.
 
 Ricky Rubio tallied his fourth career triple-double and first this season,
 compiling 18 points with 12 rebounds and 11 assists in the loss.
 
 Gary Neal paced Minnesota with 19 points to go along with nine rebounds and
 Andrew Wiggins added 18 points. Zach LaVine had 14 off the bench, while
 Garnett and Adreian Payne chipped in 12 apiece. Gorgui Dieng registered a
 double-double with 10 points and 11 boards.
 
 Kevin Martin (illness) and Nikola Pekovic (right ankle) both missed the
 contest for the Timberwolves.
 
 Minnesota had a chance late. The Timberwolves were down three with 14.9
 seconds left, but Neal's off-balance 3-pointer was off the mark.
 
 The Timberwolves went the final 10:18 of the game without a field goal to lose
 their sixth straight at home in the series.
 
 "We ran out of gas really. We played really hard," Minnesota coach Flip
 Saunders said. "Basically when we went to our bench, we ran into trouble, we
 couldn't score."
 
 Minnesota's homestand comes to an end Saturday with Portland in town.
 
 The Nuggets have won two of three matchups this season with the Wolves and are
 4-2 in their last six in Minnesota.
 
 
 DETROIT PISTONS (23-36) AT NEW ORLEANS PELICANS (32-28), 8 P.M.
 
 (SportsNetwork.com) - The New Orleans Pelicans had a five-game winning streak
 snapped last time out, but they return home Wednesday for a three-game stay,
 starting with the Detroit Pistons.
 
 The Pelicans are back at the Smoothie King Center, where they've won three
 straight. They'll entertain the Boston Celtics and Memphis Grizzlies on this
 homestand.
 
 On Monday, New Orleans lost to the Dallas Mavericks, 102-93, in Big D.
 
 The Pelicans did not have Anthony Davis, and without the All-Star center, the
 Mavs won the battle in the paint, 50-24. Dallas also only turned the ball over
 seven times and forced 13 turnovers.
 
 "The points in the paint certainly hurt us," Pelicans head coach Monty
 Williams said. "I thought we got a bit tired tonight."
 
 Norris Cole led the Pelicans with 19 points, Eric Gordon scored 18 and Tyreke
 Evans added 17 in a losing effort. Alexis Ajinca recorded the only double-
 double of the night with 13 points and 12 boards.
 
 New Orleans' Dante Cunningham scored on the opening possession of the third
 quarter, but the Pelicans missed their next 12 shots. Dallas' subsequent 16-0
 run, highlighted by seven points from Richard Jefferson, gave the hosts the
 lead for good.
 
 The Pistons have dropped three in a row and Wednesday's game is the second of
 a three-game road trip. Detroit will visit the Houston Rockets on Friday
 night.
 
 On Saturday, the Pistons fell to the Washington Wizards, 99-95.
 
 Greg Monroe tallied 21 points and 10 rebounds and Spencer Dinwiddie supplied
 20 points and eight helpers for Detroit. Andre Drummond was the only other
 double-figure scorer for the Pistons with 13 points.
 
 "We've been having problems at the beginning of games and that's something we
 have to work on," said Monroe. "I think we just have to come out and trust in
 what we do, trust the guys behind us."
 
 The Pistons trailed by 10 after one quarter and 16 at the half. Detroit erased
 its 21-point deficit following a 15-4 run to start the fourth. Dinwiddie
 netted 10 points during the surge, including a putback dunk to give the
 Pistons an 85-84 edge with 6:48 remaining.
 
 After Dinwiddie drove in for a finger roll with 18.9 seconds left to get
 Detroit within 96-95, Bradley Beal split a pair of foul shots, but Marcin
 Gortat secured the offensive rebound on the second miss.
 
 John Wall then sealed the outcome following two free throws with 7.3 ticks on
 the clock.
 
 The Pelicans have won five straight over the Pistons and five straight in the
 Big Easy.
 
 
 LOS ANGELES LAKERS (16-43) AT MIAMI HEAT (26-33), 8 P.M.
 
 (SportsNetwork.com) - The Miami Heat are holding steady at the seventh spot in
 the Eastern Conference and hope that continues Wednesday versus the Los
 Angeles Lakers in the finale of a three-game homestand.
 
 The Heat ended a two-game slide and evened their mark on this stay with
 Monday's 115-98 victory over the Phoenix Suns. Heat guard Goran Dragic
 couldn't escape the Valley of the Sun fast enough prior to the trade deadline
 and landed in South Beach with a fresh start.
 
 Dragic scored 21 points and talked about facing his former teammates.
 
 "It means a lot," Dragic said. "You always want to play well against your old
 teammates."
 
 Phoenix big man Markieff Morris was slapped with a Flagrant Foul 2 during a
 fast break play against Dragic and was ejected from the game.
 
 Tyler Johnson scored 11 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter and Hassan
 Whiteside recorded a double-double of 17 points and 10 rebounds. Dwyane Wade
 netted 16 with nine assists for the Heat, who exploded for 39 points in the
 second quarter and won for the third time in five tries.
 
 The Heat scored 22 points off 19 turnovers and made 52.4 percent.
 
 Whiteside was tossed from the game for getting into a scuffle with Suns big
 man Alex Len just minutes after the Morris incident. Whiteside has been
 valuable for Miami this season and has compiled 11 double-doubles over the
 previous 15 contests (14.8 ppg, 13.9 rpg).
 
 Miami will visit Washington Friday before another three-game homestand versus
 Sacramento, Boston and Brooklyn.
 
 The Lakers are winless in back-to-back games since a season-high three-game
 winning streak and dropped a 104-103 decision against the Charlotte Hornets
 Tuesday in the opener of a three-game road trip.
 
 Jeremy Lin posted 23 points, eight assists and six rebounds off the bench and
 Carlos Boozer chipped in 15 points and 11 boards for Los Angeles, which has
 dropped nine of its last 12 contests. Lin is averaging 18.0 ppg since the All-
 Star break and has scored 10 or more points in eight of the last 11 games.
 
 LA had a 30-27 lead after 12 minutes of play, then the Hornets won the next
 two quarters (47-40). Charlotte allowed 33 points in the final stanza and its
 solid play bridging the second and third quarters held up.
 
 Three Hornets scored 20 or more points.
 
 "We come out lackadaisical and the other team comes out with more
 aggressiveness," Lakers coach Byron Scott said.
 
 Jordan Clarkson scored 19 points in defeat. Lakers guard Nick Young has missed
 the last four games with a sore knee and is questionable Wednesday.
 
 The Lakers are only 7-23 on the road and will wrap up this journey Friday
 against the Memphis Grizzlies. They are 1-12 in the past 13 as the guest.
 
 Los Angeles lost to Miami at home, 85-78, on Jan. 13 and has dropped five
 straight and nine of the last 10 games in this series.
 
 The Heat have defeated the Lakers six straight times in south Florida.
 
 
 PHILADELPHIA 76ERS (13-47) AT OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER (33-27), 8 P.M.
 
 (SportsNetwork.com) - The Oklahoma City Thunder could get All-Star Game MVP
 Russell Westbrook back in the lineup Wednesday versus the Philadelphia 76ers.
 
 Westbrook missed one game after undergoing surgery Saturday to repair a facial
 fracture suffered in a loss at Portland the previous night. Westbrook did not
 play in Sunday's 108-101 win against the Los Angeles Lakers in the finale of a
 three-game trip.
 
 He is expected to wear a protective mask and has recorded a triple-double in
 each of his last three games. Westbrook owns 13 career triple-doubles, five
 this season, and is the first player since Michael Jordan (1988-89) to
 register six consecutive games of 20-plus points, 10-plus assists and five or
 more rebounds.
 
 The Thunder halted a two-game slide with the victory at Staples Center, where
 Serge Ibaka powered his way to 18 points, 14 rebounds and three blocks. D.J.
 Augustin scored 18 points as Westbrook's replacement and Enes Kanter made an
 impact with 16 points to go along with 15 boards.
 
 "I thought D.J. did a good job of stepping in," OKC coach Scott Brooks said.
 "Russell's been on a great level."
 
 Oklahoma City is without superstar Kevin Durant (foot surgery) and won for the
 10th time in the last 13 games.
 
 The Thunder are clinging to the eighth playoff spot in the West and have a
 19-8 record at home this season. They are unbeaten in the past five games at
 Chesapeake Energy Arena and have a 12-1 mark in the last 13 in OKC.
 
 Oklahoma City will visit Chicago on Thursday.
 
 Philadelphia has played poorly on the road this season as evidenced by a 5-26
 record, and hopes to stop a 12-game slide as the guest in OKC.
 
 The 76ers lost 13 straight road games twice last season and were handed a
 114-103 setback by the Toronto Raptors Monday night. Raptors guard DeMar
 DeRozan scorched the Sixers for 35 points, while the hosts were led by Ish
 Smith's 19 points off the bench.
 
 Nerlens Noel had 17 points and seven rebounds, Isaiah Canaan added 14 points
 and Thomas Robinson netted 13 in a reserve role for Philadelphia, which shot
 an above average 52.6 percent for the game and allowed 31 points in the fourth
 quarter.
 
 Noel is averaging 13.4 points, 9.4 rebounds and 2.4 blocks in his last five
 games, and has stepped up his game since the trade of Michael Carter-Williams.
 
 "I'm so proud of his evolution and development," Sixers coach Brett Brown said
 of Noel.
 
 The Sixers have lost seven of eight games overall and will start a five-game
 homestand Friday versus Utah, Atlanta, Chicago, Sacramento and Brooklyn.
 
 Sixers forward Robert Covington (elbow) is probable Wednesday.
 
 Philadelphia suffered a 103-91 loss at home to Oklahoma City, as Westbrook
 poured in 27 points. Covington countered with 21 points for the Sixers, who
 are winless in the last 11 games in this series and have lost all five trips
 to the Sooner State.
 
 Over the past three meetings between the Sixers and Thunder, OKC is averaging
 110.3 points and Philadelphia is posting 91.3 ppg.
 
 
 MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES (42-17) AT HOUSTON ROCKETS (41-19), 8 P.M.
 
 (SportsNetwork.com) - A Southwest Division showdown is on the card Wednesday
 between the Memphis Grizzlies and Houston Rockets at the Toyota Center.
 
 The Grizzlies have a 1 1/2-game lead over the Rockets in the division and the
 two teams are separated by that many games for the second and third spots in
 the Western Conference standings.
 
 Memphis hasn't played well of late, losing three of the past four games, and
 dropped a 93-82 decision versus the Utah Jazz Tuesday at FedExForum. Courtney
 Lee led the hosts with 18 points, Marc Gasol had 17 and eight rebounds, and
 Jordan Adams led the reserves with 13 points.
 
 "Tough night for us," said Grizzlies coach David Joerger. "We had a couple of
 defensive breakdowns in the second half."
 
 Joerger's squad shot 40.2 percent and played without Zach Randolph and Beno
 Udrih because of an illness. Tony Allen was suspended for the Jazz game
 because of a violation of team policy and is probable Wednesday.
 
 Randolph is averaging 16.5 points and 11.7 rebounds this season.
 
 The Grizzlies are 19-10 on the road and will play five of the next six games
 outside of Beale Street.
 
 Houston will try to bounce back from Tuesday's 104-96 loss in Atlanta and will
 have NBA leading scorer James Harden back in the lineup. Harden (27.1 ppg) was
 suspended one game for kicking LeBron James in the groin during Sunday's
 overtime win versus the Cleveland Cavaliers.
 
 Former Hawk Jason Terry led the Rockets with 21 points off the bench, making
 4-of-8 3-pointers, and Terrence Jones scored 18 with rebounds and three
 blocks. Donatas Motiejunas and Josh Smith scored 14 points apiece for the
 Rockets, who were outscored, 32-15, in the fourth quarter.
 
 "They came out and got us on our heels in the fourth quarter," Rockets head
 coach Kevin McHale said.
 
 The Rockers are still 13-6 in the last 19 games and have won five in a row at
 home. They will also host Detroit on Friday and are 23-8 at the Toyota Center.
 
 Houston is 2-1 against Memphis this season and has won back-to-back meetings
 in this series following a three-game slide.
 
 
 SACRAMENTO KINGS (21-37) AT SAN ANTONIO SPURS (36-23), 8:30 P.M.
 
 (SportsNetwork.com) - The San Antonio Spurs are back in the Alamo City and
 enjoyed a nice break following their annual Rodeo trip.
 
 The Spurs will begin a six-game homestand Wednesday versus the Sacramento
 Kings and were last in action Saturday against the Phoenix Suns, posting a
 lopsided 101-74 victory.
 
 Kawhi Leonard scored 22 points and pulled down 10 rebounds, while Danny Green,
 Boris Diaw and Aron Baynes posted 12 points apiece. The Suns set a franchise
 low for scoring in a half (24) and were on pace for record lows in points and
 shooting percentage before San Antonio eased off in the fourth quarter.
 
 "I take pride in every aspect of my game, but I was out there trying to pick
 up energy for my team," said Leonard, whose team is 27-14 with him in the
 lineup. "I guess the energy carried on through everybody."
 
 San Antonio ended the third quarter with a 75-41 advantage.
 
 Tim Duncan ended with six points and 10 boards for the Spurs, who went 4-5 on
 the road trip and scored 44.6 percent from the floor. San Antonio also had a
 56-42 advantage in rebounds.
 
 Duncan moved into 12th place in NBA history for games played, passing Buck
 Williams with his 1,308th career contest.
 
 The Spurs have won eight of their last nine home games and are 20-7 at the
 AT&T Center this season. They will also entertain Denver, Chicago, Toronto,
 Cleveland and Minnesota on the stay.
 
 Sacramento kicked off an eight-game odyssey with Tuesday's 124-86 demolition
 of the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden, as Rudy Gay led six players
 in double figures with 25 points.
 
 DeMarcus Cousins returned from a two-game absence because of ankle and hip
 ailments to post 22 points and 10 rebounds, and Ben McLemore scored 20 points
 for the Kings, who shot 49.4 percent from the floor and had a 35-19 lead after
 the first quarter. The Kings scored 100 points over the first three quarters
 and led by as many as 44.
 
 "Those guys play hard no matter what the scoreboard is," said Gay. "We came in
 with the mentality that we couldn't let them get into the game."
 
 The Kings, who are playing the third eight-game road trip in the Sacramento
 era, improved to 8-18 as the visitor and halted a four-game road losing
 streak. They still have visits to Orlando, Miami, Atlanta, Charlotte,
 Philadelphia and Washington on the docket.
 
 Kings coach George Karl is 3-3 since taking over during All-Star weekend.
 
 Sacramento has won five of its last 21 games overall, but has dropped two of
 three meetings with San Antonio this season. San Antonio is 23-2 in its last
 25 games versus Sacramento and unbeaten in the previous five at home.
 
 
 MILWAUKEE BUCKS (32-28) AT GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS (46-12), 10:30 P.M.
 
 (SportsNetwork.com) - The Golden State Warriors are back at Oracle Arena after
 their lengthy trip and will start a three-game homestand Wednesday versus the
 Milwaukee Bucks.
 
 The Warriors went 3-3 on their eastern sojourn, which culminated with Monday's
 last-second 110-108 loss to the Brooklyn Nets. Nets guard Jarrett Jack hit the
 game-winning shot with just 1.1 seconds remaining and stopped Golden State's
 two-game winning streak.
 
 Warriors All-Star guard Stephen Curry scored 11 of his 26 points during a 12-2
 run that knotted the score at 108-108 entering the final minute, but the MVP
 candidate's reverse layup attempt missed the mark and left his hand after the
 buzzer to send the Warriors to defeat.
 
 "They deserved to win," said Warriors coach Steve Kerr. "I'm really proud of
 our guys... We were right there, we had our chances."
 
 Andrew Bogut scored a season-high 16 points and Festus Ezeli ended with 14 off
 the bench in defeat.
 
 Curry is averaging 27.4 ppg in his last 14 games for Golden State.
 
 The top-seeded Warriors will also host Dallas and the LA Clippers, and are
 24-2 as the host this season. They will shoot for a fourth straight win at
 home and have the best record in the West.
 
 Milwaukee will close out a four-game western road trip (0-3) Wednesday and has
 lost three in a row and five of the last six games.
 
 In a 106-95 setback against the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday, Ersan Ilyasova led
 the Bucks with 21 points, Khris Middleton had 20 points with seven rebounds
 and six assists, and Giannis Antetokounmpo added 19 points with 11 rebounds.
 
 "There is a lot of good stuff that we can look at tonight," said Bucks coach
 Jason Kidd. "Defensively, we have to get better."
 
 The Bucks, who currently sit sixth in the East, are 15-17 as the visitor and
 will commence a three-game homestand Saturday versus Washington, New Orleans
 and Orlando.
 
 Bucks guard O.J. Mayo (hamstring) is questionable Wednesday.
 
 Milwaukee and Golden State will play the first of two meetings this season and
 are slated to tangle March 28 in Brew City. The Bucks are 7-3 in the past 10
 encounters with the Warriors.
 
 
 PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS (39-19) AT LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS (40-21), 10:30 P.M.
 
 (SportsNetwork.com) - A heavyweight battle between Western Conference
 opponents is on tap Wednesday in the City of Angels, as the Los Angeles
 Clippers entertain the Portland Trail Blazers at Staples Center.
 
 This could be a possible playoff preview with the Blazers currently a half-
 game ahead of the Clippers for the fourth seed in the West.
 
 Los Angeles and Portland have both won three in a row, and the Clippers are
 back on familiar ground after a four-game road trip (3-1). The Clippers closed
 the sojourn with a 110-105 victory at Minnesota on Monday and were led by
 Chris Paul's 26 points and 14 assists.
 
 J.J. Redick scored 18 points, DeAndre Jordan added 12 to go along with 18
 rebounds, and Austin Rivers ended with 13 points in the win. Los Angeles made
 47.8 percent of its shots and outscored the Timberwolves, 24-18, in the fourth
 quarter.
 
 "This is the hardest of the three (wins). Considering the injuries, the back-
 to-back, the last game of a road trip... (I) was very concerned all day about
 this game," Clippers coach Doc Rivers said.
 
 One injury in particular is the elbow issue of All-Star forward Blake Griffin.
 Griffin has been sidelined prior to the All-Star break and underwent a
 procedure to remove a staph infection from his right elbow. Griffin is
 expected to return some time this week.
 
 "I know he's running and sweating and going full-tilt now," Rivers said of
 Griffin, who is averaging 22.5 ppg. "That's good. I'm not sure what that
 means, not being there, but I know he's working, and that's all you can hope
 for. It's a good sign."
 
 Clippers forward Matt Barnes missed Monday's game against Minnesota with a
 hamstring injury suffered in Sunday's win at Chicago and is doubtful. The
 defensive presence is averaging 9.6 points. Top reserve Jamal Crawford (16.4
 ppg) is questionable Wednesday with a balky calf.
 
 The Clippers are 23-8 at home and have a tough road test ahead Sunday against
 the Golden State Warriors.
 
 Portland will try to push its winning streak to four games and is coming off a
 110-99 road victory over the Sacramento Kings on Sunday.
 
 LaMarcus Aldridge had 26 points and 15 rebounds for his third straight double-
 double and 30th of the season. Aldridge is 10 double-doubles away from
 matching his most double-doubles in a single season (40, 2013-14) and is
 posting 23.6 points and 11.6 rebounds in his last 13 games.
 
 Damian Lillard scored a game-high 31 points with seven assists, while Wesley
 Matthews added 17 points for the Blazers, who have won seven of 10 games and
 are 31-5 when scoring 100 or more points. The Blazers have a 30-7 mark when
 holding teams under 100 points.
 
 "The last two or three games, I've felt really good out there," said Lillard.
 "It's time to win. It's time to play winning basketball."
 
 Portland is 14-13 on the road and will play three of their next four games in
 Rip City.
 
 Wednesday's game between the Blazers and Clippers will feature two of the more
 prominent big men in Jordan and Aldridge. Center Robin Lopez gives Portland
 the advantage because Griffin is still absent and Spencer Hawes is mediocre at
 best inside.
 
 The Clippers are averaging 106.6 ppg and the Blazers are scoring at a 102.5
 ppg clip. Los Angeles has beaten Portland twice this season and the two powers
 will collide again April 1 in the Rose City. The Clippers have prevailed eight
 times in the past 11 games in this series.
 
 Portland is winless in the last six games as the guest in this series.
 
 03/04 10:10:21 ET

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