Game of the Night – L.A. Lakers at Golden State (CSN-Bay Area, 10:35 ET)
Nick Young kept the Lakers from falling below .500 for the first time since early November by intercepting a pass that was meant for point guard Lou Williams and immediately firing up a go-ahead 3-pointer with five seconds left in a 111-109 win over Oklahoma City at Staples. Los Angeles had fumbled away a significant lead down the stretch but managed to avoid the collapse after Young’s heroics.
It undoubtedly made for a more enjoyable Lakers (8-7 SU, 9-5-1 ATS) flight to Oakland, where the Warriors (12-2 SU, 6-7-1 ATS) await for the final game before the league takes a one-day Thanksgiving hiatus. Despite Golden State’s historic success over the past few seasons, the Lakers have had their number during the last two encounters.
The Warriors were 55-5 last March when they went into Staples and were handed a 112-95 loss as a 17.5-point favorite. They were 4-1 earlier this month when L.A. got over at home again, winning 117-97. Golden State hasn’t lost since. It has suffered only one home loss since Kevin Durant came on board, faltering in that season-opening debacle against San Antonio. That’s a little misleading, since the Warriors have only played three games at Oracle since, winning each by double-digits while averaging 121.7 points per game. Despite that, they covered only once due to sizeable spreads.
The Lakers are 3-4 on the road this season and haven’t won at Oracle since Dec. 22, 2012, losing seven straight. This will be Luke Walton’s first visit since leaving his assistant coaching post on Steve Kerr’s staff to take the head job in L.A. His team won’t be at full strength. D’Angelo Russell remains out with a knee injury, while Julius Randle’s availability in doubt due to a hip ailment. Randle posted season-highs with 20 points and 14 rebounds in the 117-97 win on Nov. 4 and averaged 9.5 points and 9.5 rebounds against them last year, so the Lakers would miss a double-double’s worth of production if he’s unable to play. Luol Deng, Larry Nance Jr. and rookie Brandon Ingram would be in line for more minutes if he can’t go.
Point guard Jose Calderon made his second start of the season with Russell out and figures to start again tonight.
Durant scored a season-low 14 points in Indiana on Monday night, shooting just 3-for-9. It was only the second time in 14 games with the Warriors that he shot less than 50 percent. Klay Thompson started slow, but has scored 20 or more points in six of the last eight games. He was held to a season-low 10 points in the loss to the Lakers, shooting 4-for-18. That game also marked the only time Golden State was held below 100 points, something it will be well aware of in what’s become a revenge game.
The 76ers (4-10 SU, 8-6 ATS) have won consecutive games for the first time since March of 2015 and are looking for their first winning streak of at least three games since a run of four straight that ended in January of ’14. Joel Embiid will presumably be back in the lineup against Memphis (9-5 SU, 8-6 ATS) since there’s no back-to-back situation involved here. The rookie center has averaged 24 points and shot 16-for-27 in Philly’s wins, including 4-for-7 from 3-point range.
Embiid has been the driving force for Philadelphia, which makes this head-to-head matchup with former Defensive Player of the Year Marc Gasol one of the night’s best. Philadelphia is likely going to need forwards Ersan Ilyasova, Robert Covington and Dario Saric to take the pressure off Embiid given Gasol’s presence and the likelihood that the Grizzlies will bring double-teams to try and limit his effectiveness.
Memphis has won five consecutive games, all in different arenas including its own. It has only allowed over 100 points once during the streak, currently third-best in the NBA behind the Warriors and Spurs. Mike Conley has scored 30 or more points twice in the last four games and comes off a season-high 31-point outburst in a 105-90 win at Charlotte where he shot 5-for-8 from 3-point range and made and took more shots (11-for-21) he had in all but one game since December of ’14.
The Grizzlies have beaten the Sixers in seven straight games, last losing in Dec. ’12. They’ve won 11 of 12 in the series and haven’t lost in Philly since ’09, Gasol’s rookie year.
Notable Head-to-Head Trends
— The Blazers (8-8, 5-11) are looking for their first win in Cleveland (10-2, 4-7-1) since LeBron James returned. There was a rumor he’d sit this game out, so be sure to check closer to tip-off before laying double-digits.
— The first half of ESPN’s double-header features San Antonio visiting Charlotte after a disappointing Monday night effort that sickened Gregg Popovich since the Spurs almost lost outright as a 13.5-point favorite. Look for LaMarcus Aldridge to return to the mix as the Spurs look to avoid a second consecutive loss in Charlotte after winning 10 straight games in this series. Hornets center Cody Zeller will miss another game with a shoulder injury.
— The Raptors (8-6, 8-5-1) were swept in last year’s series against the Rockets (9-5, 10-4) in games that both went over the posted total. The Rockets hold an 18-3 career record against Toronto in Houston.
— Count on the boo birds being out in full force for DeAndre Jordan, whose decision to stay with the Clippers (13-2, 9-6) and not join the Mavericks in 2015 continues to haunt the franchise. Dallas (2-11, 4-9) has lost an NBA-worst six consecutive games and went 1-3 against the Clips last season, but did win 118-108 the first time Jordan showed his face at American Airlines Center last November.
Illness and injuries have led to a number of guys listed anywhere from questionable to out for tonight’s games. Suns (4-11, 9-6) center Tyson Chandler remains out as he grieves the loss of his mother, while T.J. Warren is still too sick to play at Orlando (6-8, 5-8-1). The Magic are favored by 4.
Paul George and Myles Turner both missed Monday’s loss to Oklahoma City due to ankle injuries but will suit up and play at home against Atlanta (9-5, 8-6). C.J. Miles remains out for the Pacers (7-8, 5-10), but Jeff Teague, who left the Thunder game with an ankle injury, intends to take part in his first meeting against the only team he’d known prior to signing back in his hometown via free agency this offseason.
Wing Justise Winslow remains out for the Heat (4-9, 6-6) with a wrist injury, missing his fifth game in a row as Stan Van Gundy and former assistant Erik Spoelstra get together again. Miami guard Dion Waiters overcame a groin injury to participate last time out and should be present for this road game at the Pistons (6-9, 6-9). Detroit point guard Reggie Jackson(knee) hasn’t played all season but is participating in practice for the first time and should return by December.
Pelicans star Anthony Davis left last night’s win in Atlanta with a knee contusion but is likely to play at home against the Timberwolves (4-9, 4-9). New Orleans (5-10, 7-7) has won three straight since Jrue Holiday returned from an excused absence and are expected to get Tyreke Evans back from a knee injury that has kept him out all season within the next week. Davis’ likely inclusion means the highly anticipated meeting with fellow Kentucky product Karl-Anthony Towns can go on as planned. The teams split last season’s meeting 2-2 and all four games went over the posted total.
Jazz point guard George Hill may return from a thumb injury that has cost him the last eight contests as Utah (7-8, 6-9) has fallen below .500 by losing four straight. If Hill can’t go, 21-year-old Aussie Dante Exum will get another start after playing a season-high 35 minutes in a loss to Denver on Sunday, two off his career best. Joe Johnson is dealing with an illness and considered a game-time decision, while Derrick Favors (knee) and Alec Burks (ankle) remain out. Denver held off Chicago on Tuesday behind rookie Jamal Murray’s career-best 24 points.