DET @ NYK: Last time these teams met, it was a “home” game for Detroit in London, England, and the “visiting” Knicks won easily. Tonight, with the Pistons tired from yesterday’s furious comeback that fell just short, the Knicks are in even better shape. Carmelo Anthony is no longer a one-man team; not only is Raymond Felton back, but Amare Stoudemire has been terrific off the bench. It remains to be seen if Calderon can play; if his visa issues are settled in time for shootaround, he might even start.
POR @ MIN: The Blazers are banged up, but Minnesota is devastated by injuries. Wesley Matthews is hoping to return from a sprained ankle and Nicolas Batum is playing with a sore wrist. It will be fun to watch Ricky Rubio guard Damian Lillard, and the battle up front between Nikola Pekovic and J.J. Hickson is also interesting. The Wolves can’t stop LaMarcus Aldridge, but their bench is better than Portland’s and this could go either way.
DAL @ OKC: Good news for Mavs fans and Dirk Nowitzki owners — he practiced yesterday and may be ready to return after missing only two games with a strained adductor muscle. The Thunder blew a big lead in Cleveland when they were unable to stop Kyrie Irving late; they are back home after playing 12 of the last 15 on the road. Former UCLA teammates Darren Collison and Russell Westbrook always get up for these meetings, so you can expect an entertaining, high-scoring contest and leading MVP candidate Kevin Durant will probably be the difference.
SAC @ UTA: At least back in their own time zone, but still on the road, it’s hard to like the Kings, who have lost seven of their last eight, the latest a 39-point humiliation in New York. Utah is 17-5 at home, and Al Jefferson is at least as good as DeMarcus Cousins. That leaves Tyreke Evans as the main offensive threat for Sacramento. No idea what happened to Jason Thompson, who has been awful for a month and lost his starting job. Rookie Thomas Robinson has been getting more minutes recently, but unpredictable coach Keith Smart might also go small. For the Jazz, Gordon Hayward (shoulder) is doubtful, so Randy Foye and Marvin Williams will get extra run.
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