NOH @ SAS: Welcome back to Kawhi Leonard (8 PTS in 20 minutes) from an 18-game absence. He wasn’t needed last night, as Tony Parker (25 PTS, 5 AST) and Tim Duncan (15 PTS, 10 REB, 5 AST, 2 STL, 2 BLK) did more than enough to hand New Orleans its tenth straight loss. Ryan Anderson has struggled since returning to a sixth-man role. Both his scoring and rebounding are down. The Hornets should try Anthony Davis (18 PTS, 11 REB) or Anderson at SF, where they have a cavernous hole.
December 22 Games
UTA @ MIA: The tough road trip continues for the Jazz. They do have a size advantage, but Miami has the skill. LeBron James gets 20+ every night, Dwyane Wade is looking healthy and the whole team is turning up the defensive intensity. Al Jefferson can’t be worse than he was on Wednesday, but he’ll have as much trouble with Chris Bosh’s range as Bosh will stopping Big Al in the paint.
CHI @ ATL: Both teams played last night; the Bulls winning impressively while the Hawks got their wings clipped in Philadelphia. This is a playoff preview with third place in the East at stake, so don’t expect it to be high-scoring. Atlanta sixth man Louis Williams is a hunch play.
DET @ WAS: This may be the Wizards’ best chance in a while to win a game. If they were sufficiently humiliated in Detroit to get angry, and the Pistons are overconfident, Washington could earn a split of this meaningless home-and-home. Rodney Stuckey was hit in the mouth in the fourth quarter and is questionable tonight. Nene sat out last night with some combination of the flu and his chronic sore foot; he would be a welcome addition this evening.
IND @ NOH: Fatigue could be a bigger factor for the Hornets, who lost in San Antonio, than the Pacers, who had an easier time in Cleveland. Don’t use Gerald Green, though he’s played two good games in a row. He limped off with an ankle injury in the fourth quarter.
PHO @ POR: The Blazers may not need LaMarcus Aldridge (ankle) but he did do some light work yesterday and is a possibility to return. In his absence, J.J. Hickson has been tremendous and Nicolas Batum has shown off his versatility. Yes, the Suns are on a 4-game win streak of their own, but they don’t play nearly as well on the road. This could be wide-open and a nice source of fantasy numbers.