August 8,2020 at 1:30 PM
8/14/2020 1:30 PM
Raptors, Nuggets Face Last Chance To Fine Tune
The Denver Nuggets play the Toronto Raptors on Friday at Orlando. This marks the final regular-season action for both teams, which also means it is their last chance to get sharp before the playoffs, as the Nuggets are set to face the Jazz in the first round, and the Raptors will face the Nets. The Nuggets come into the contest on a two-game losing streak and with a 3-4 record in the bubble, but they have seen many positives over the last seven games, most notably the emergence of Michael Porter Jr., who came up some very impressive performances. Porter Jr. is averaging 22.0 points and 8.6 rebounds so far since the restart, including two outings where he topped 30 points and two outings where he topped 40 minutes of action. Jamal Murray missed the first four games of the restart but burst on the scene with 23 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists in his first game back. The Nuggets are one of the most offensively efficient teams in the league, as they are shooting an average of 47.4 percent from the field, which is fourth-best, and they average 26.4 assists per game, which is also fourth-most in the league. Meanwhile, the Raptors are rolling, as they have won three in a row and have a 6-1 record in the restart. Throughout the last seven games, they have had great performances from all of the starters, and most recently, it was Chris Boucher who came up huge in the last two contests. Boucher finished with 25 points, 11 rebounds, two steals and two blocks to lead the way in a win over the Bucks, followed up by 19 points and nine rebounds to lead the way in their most recent win over the 76ers. The Raptors thrive off a balanced attack, as they are the first team in 46 years to have five players average at least 15 points per game in a season.
August 8,2020 at 4:00 PM
8/14/2020 4:00 PM
Heat and Pacers Tangle in Regular-Season Finale
The Miami Heat takes on the Indiana Pacers in an NBA seeding game finale in Orlando on Friday afternoon. The Heat (44-28) and Pacers (44-28) are already set to face off in the upcoming quarterfinal round as the No. 4 and No. 5 seeds, respectively, so the fact they have to face each other in their last seeding game certainly carries some irony and also seems to portend a game with two makeshift rosters. Miami has gone 3-4 in their seeding games thus far, but with one of those victories coming over Indiana two games ago, they locked in a head-to-head advantage in the season series. The Heat's most recent stumble in Orlando came against the Oklahoma City Thunder, which edged them by a 116-115 score on Wednesday night. Tyler Herro led Miami with 30 points, adding six rebounds, two assists, one steal and one block. Duncan Robinson supplied 19 points, three assists and two boards. Goran Dragic registered 16 points, six assists, five rebounds and two steals. Solomon Hill contributed 10 points off the bench. The Heat will list Jimmy Butler (foot), Dragic (rest) and Bam Adebayo (rest) as out for Friday's game. Derrick Jones (knee), Jae Crowder (knee) and Andre Iguodala (not injury related) will be listed as questionable. The Pacers (44-28) will enter the playoffs as the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference after forging a strong 5-2 record over their first seven seeding games, with several of their early victories coming on the strength of spectacular performances from T.J. Warren, who's now dealing with a case of plantar fasciitis. Their most recent success came at the expense of the Houston Rockets, which they toppled by a 108-104 margin on Wednesday afternoon. Myles Turner and Justin Holiday co-led the Pacers with matching 18-point tallies while pulling down 12 and six rebounds, respectively. Edmond Sumner delivered 17 points, four rebounds, four assists and one block. Victor Oladipo and Doug McDermott each recorded 16 points, and Oladipo also posted six boards and dished out five assists. The Pacers will list Oladipo (ankle), Warren (foot), Turner (wrist) and Domantas Sabonis (foot) as out for Friday's game. Goga Bitadze (knee) will carry a questionable tag. Friday's game marks the fourth and final regular-season meeting between the teams. The Heat own a 3-0 series lead, having notched 113-112, 122-108 and 114-92 wins on Dec. 27, Jan. 8 and Aug. 10, respectively.
August 8,2020 at 6:30 PM
8/14/2020 6:30 PM
Thunder, Clippers Face In Regular-Season Finale
The Oklahoma City Thunder will play the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday at Orlando. The Thunder (44-27) still have a chance at finishing as the fourth seed in the Western Conference, although it wouldn't matter much if they finish in fourth of fifth place in the standings -- they're still bound to play the Houston Rockets in the first round of the playoffs. Oklahoma City has struggled with consistency during the Orlando bubble, however, and they have gone 4-3 in seven games while being unable to record two equal back-to-back results since play restarted July 30. The Thunder is coming off a 116-115 tight win over the Miami Heat the last time out, so the recent trend might indicate they're bound to lose here against the Clippers. OKC will do everything in their power to avoid that outcome, though, as they will attempt to end the regular season on a strong note and, possibly, a winning streak. Chris Paul (hand), Dennis Schroder (personal), Luguentz Dort (knee) and Isaiah Roby (foot) are all ruled out for this contest. Roby will miss the remainder of the 2019-20 NBA season. The Clippers (48-23) are coming off a big 124-111 win over the Denver Nuggets the last time, and that result clinched them the second seed in the Eastern Conference as well as a meeting with the Dallas Mavericks in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs. The Clippers are on the rise following a slow start to life at Orlando and arrive into this contest after winning three of their last four contests. Los Angeles has posted a 4-3 record in Orlando so far. Patrick Beverley (calf), Montrezl Harrell (personal) and Landry Shamet (foot) have all been ruled out for Friday's contest. There has not been an announcement on the availability of star players such as Paul George and Kawhi Leonard, but it wouldn't be crazy to think they might receive rest in the season finale considering the Clippers do not have anything to play for.
August 8,2020 at 9:00 PM
8/14/2020 9:00 PM
Sixers, Rockets Collide To Close Out Regular Season
The Philadelphia 76ers will play the Houston Rockets on Friday at Orlando. The Rockets (44-27) still have a chance at finishing as the fourth seed in the Western Conference, although it wouldn't matter much if they finish in fourth of fifth place in the standings -- they're still bound to play the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round of the playoffs. Houston is coming off back-to-back losses, however, as they dropped their past two games against the San Antonio Spurs and the Indiana Pacers, respectively. As such, the Rockets will attempt to close out the regular season on a strong note to build some sort of momentum ahead of another postseason run for the Texas-based franchise. The Rockets have posted a 4-3 record in the Orlando bubble. Russell Westbrook (quadriceps) has been ruled out for Friday's contest and he's expected to miss the beginning of the series against the Thunder as well. David Nwaba (Achilles) and Thabo Sefolosha (personal) will miss the remainder of the season. The 76ers (42-30) will end the regular season as the sixth seed of the Eastern Conference and will face the Boston Celtics in the first round of the playoffs, so they're playing for nothing but their honor ahead of this contest. That can't be taken for granted, however, as the Sixers will attempt to end the regular season on a strong note but have left a poor impression in Orlando. They are coming off a 125-121 loss against the Toronto Raptors and that defeat pushed their losing streak to three contests. As if that wasn't enough, the Sixers have posted a disappointing 3-4 record in the Orlando bubble. This is clearly not the way they'd like to end their regular season campaign, let alone finishing it with a four-game losing run. Joel Embiid (ankle) and Glenn Robinson (hip) are both questionable for Friday's contest, while Ben Simmons (kneecap), Zhaire Smith (knee) and Ryan Broekhoff (personal) are all out for the remainder of the season.