NBA Game Previews
Key notes from NBA game previews, on one page. Also see NBA daily recaps, NBA video highlights and daily stat leaders, as well as daily fantasy basketball notes.
NBA Game Previews for Tuesday, March 3
Lakers at Hornets, 7 p.m. ET -- STATS LLC reports: The Charlotte Hornets' acquisition of Mo Williams has helped them recapture the scoring punch they've missed since losing Kemba Walker.
Williams will look to take advantage of one of the league's worst defenses Tuesday night when Charlotte hosts the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Hornets (24-33) averaged 89.1 points in their first eight games after losing Walker to a torn meniscus. He had been averaging a career-high 18.8 points while Charlotte was at 95.2 per game... The Lakers (16-42), who allow an NBA-high 106.1 points per game, lost 108-101 at home Sunday to Oklahoma City, which was without Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant. They held Oklahoma City to 41.2 percent shooting but surrendered a combined 32 points to D.J. Augustin and Jeremy Lamb.
Celtics at Cavs, 7 p.m. ET -- STATS LLC reports: After failing to come through in the clutch, LeBron James is looking to help the Cleveland Cavaliers get back on track.
He probably won't have to do it alone with Kyrie Irving expected to return as the Cavaliers go for a 12th consecutive home win Tuesday night against the Boston Celtics.
Cleveland (37-24) is coming off its first back-to-back defeats since a six-game skid Jan. 4-13, falling 93-86 at Indiana on Friday and 105-103 at Houston in overtime Sunday... Boston (23-34) appeared headed for a season-best fourth consecutive victory before blowing a 26-point lead in Sunday's 106-101 loss to Golden State. Recently acquired Isaiah Thomas had 20 points to lead six players in double figures for the Celtics, who were outscored 31-15 in the fourth quarter.
Kings at Knicks, 7 p.m. ET -- STATS LLC reports: The New York Knicks are enjoying some surprising success with a one-two punch of Andrea Bargnani and Tim Hardaway Jr.
The Sacramento Kings are searching for answers without their one-two punch of DeMarcus Cousins and Darren Collison.
The Knicks seek a third straight win Tuesday night against a Kings... Sacramento (20-37) begins an eight-game trip without Collison, who averages 16.1 points and a team-high 5.6 assists and could be out for the season with a "core muscle injury." Cousins, averaging team highs of 23.7 points and 12.2 rebounds, has missed the last two with a left ankle sprain and bruised left hip and the Kings are 2-12 without him.
Rockets at Hawks, 7:30 p.m. ET -- STATS LLC reports: The Houston Rockets opened one of the most challenging portions of their schedule with a marquee victory.
They'll have another chance to make a statement Tuesday night when they visit the Eastern Conference-leading Atlanta Hawks, but they'll be without NBA leading scorer James Harden.
Houston (41-18) opened a set of three games against some of the league's best teams by defeating Cleveland 105-103 in overtime Sunday. Tuesday's date with Atlanta (47-12) comes a day before a matchup with Memphis, which it trails by 1 1/2 games in the Southwest Division... The Hawks, who are a league-best 21-8 against opponents .500 or better, boast impressive depth as well. They won 93-91 at Miami on Saturday despite being without three starters as Al Horford, DeMarre Carroll and Jeff Teague were given the day off along with reserve center Pero Antic.
Wizards at Bulls, 8 p.m. ET -- STATS LLC reports: With their former MVP sidelined at least a month and a key reserve day to day, the Chicago Bulls are now prepared to be minus their leading scorer for possibly a month.
Looking to end their home struggles versus Washington, the Bulls will be without All-Star Jimmy Butler on Tuesday night as they try to extend the Wizards' season-high road skid to eight games.
Two days after Derrick Rose underwent knee surgery that will keep him out 4-6 weeks and backup Taj Gibson sprained his ankle later that evening in a seven-point win over Minnesota, Butler hurt his elbow in Sunday's 96-86 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers... Washington's Paul Pierce scored a team-high 22 at the United Center in January.
The veteran returned from a two-game absence with a bruised knee to score 14 and help Washington snap a season-high six-game skid with Saturday's 99-95 win over Detroit. John Wall scored 22, Nene 21 and Bradley Beal added eight but six rebounds, five assists and three steals in 32 minutes after missing eight straight with a leg injury.
Jazz at Grizzlies, 8 p.m. ET -- STATS LLC reports: A matchup with one of the league's worst teams came at just the right time for the Memphis Grizzlies' sputtering offense.
Tuesday night's matchup with visiting Utah figures to be more challenging given the Jazz's defensive progress.
The Grizzlies had averaged 89.2 points on 40.7 percent shooting during a 2/3 stretch prior to shooting a season-best 59.4 percent in a 101-97 win at Minnesota on Saturday. The Timberwolves own the NBA's worst field-goal defense (48.7 percent)... The Jazz (23-35) have limited opponents to 85.9 points per game on 39.1 percent shooting while winning six of eight. In that stretch, they held Dallas, Portland and San Antonio -- which all average at least 100.6 points -- to 81.3 per game.
Bucks at Nuggets, 9 p.m. ET -- STATS LLC reports: Beginning with a loss at Milwaukee, the Denver Nuggets have gone winless since the All-Star break.
Their current struggles at home began well before.
The Nuggets can avoid matching the club record of 11 consecutive homes defeats by extending the Bucks' season-high road skid to five games Tuesday night.
Denver (20-39) entered the break off a 106-96 win over the Los Angeles Lakers but after trading second-leading scorer Arron Afflalo to Portland, had its eight-game winning streak over Milwaukee end with an 89-81 loss on Feb. 20... INSIDE HOOPS UPDATE: The Nuggets fired head coach Brian Shaw today. Melvin Hunt takes over as interim head coach.