National Basketball Association
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                ***** NBA Previews from The Sports Network *****
                               Monday, January 26
                              (All times Eastern)
 ( - LaMarcus Aldridge is putting off surgery on his injured
 left thumb in order to keep the Portland Trail Blazers afloat in the Western
 Aldridge is dealing with a torn ligament in his non-shooting hand and will be
 in action Monday against the Brooklyn Nets in the opener of a four-game road
 trip at Barclays Center.
 The Trail Blazers lost both games Aldridge missed after he went down Jan. 19
 in a win over the Sacramento Kings. It was expected that Aldridge would miss
 6-8 weeks following surgery. He recorded 26 points and nine rebounds in
 Saturday's 103-96 triumph over the Washington Wizards.
 "I felt OK," said Aldridge. "There were a few moments where I got hit and it
 was kind of tender but for the most part it was OK."
 Damian Lillard scored 20 points with seven assists and Wesley Matthews added
 19 points for Portland, which won for the second time in the last seven games
 and improved to 18-3 against Eastern Conference foes.
 The Blazers will also visit Cleveland, Atlanta and Milwaukee on the trek, and
 are 12-8 away from home this season.
 Brooklyn went 1-2 on a recent western road trip and dropped a 108-73 decision
 to the Utah Jazz Saturday in Salt Lake City.
 Jarrett Jack scored 16 points and Mason Plumlee added 11 points. No other Nets
 player scored in double figures.
 The Nets lost for the 10th time in 12 tries and are 6-10 against the West.
 "We just need a win, man," said Brooklyn's Mason Plumlee. "Collectively we
 need to put more into the game effort wise. It's not really a strategic thing
 anymore, we just need to give more."
 Brooklyn will visit red-hot Atlanta Wednesday.
 The Blazers defeated the Nets, 97-87, on Nov. 15 in Rip City and were led by
 Lillard's 28 points and 10 assists. Aldridge did not play in that one for the
 Blazers and Brook Lopez paced the Nets with 21 points.
 Portland has won the last three games in this series.
 ( - The Sacramento Kings look to stop a six-game slide when
 they resume a five-game road trip Monday against the New York Knicks.
 The slide continued for the Kings with Friday's 126-101 loss to Klay Thompson
 and the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena. Thompson set an NBA record for
 most points in a quarter with 37 in the third stanza and finished with 52.
 "He was getting it off so quick we couldn't get any help to him," Sacramento
 coach Tyrone Corbin said.
 Thompson went 13-of-13 from the field overall in the quarter and was 9-of-9
 from downtown. Golden State, which erased a 64-63 deficit, scored 41 points in
 the third quarter and held the Kings to 22 points in the period. The Warriors
 were 17-of-40 on 3-pointers.
 DeMarcus Cousins recorded his usual double-double with 28 points and 11
 rebounds, while Darren Collison and Quincy Miller scored 15 and 13 points,
 respectively, for the Kings, who trailed by as many as 34 in the fourth.
 Cousins has recorded double-doubles in 22 of the last 24 games he has played
 in, including the last nine.
 Sacramento, which is winless in the last three as the guest, is 6-12 on the
 road and has stops in Cleveland and Indiana scheduled on this road swing.
 The Knicks had a three-game winning streak stopped with Saturday's 76-71
 setback to the Charlotte Hornets, as Tim Hardaway, Jr. posted a game-high 25
 points on 9-of-17 shooting to go with six rebounds and five assists.
 Lance Thomas scored 16 points for New York, which played without star Carmelo
 Anthony (knee/rest) and made only 35.4 percent from the field. The Knicks held
 a 23-16 lead after the first 12 minutes, but scored 14, 17 and 17 points over
 the next three quarters.
 "We just couldn't generate enough offense down the stretch," said Knicks coach
 Derek Fisher.
 The Knicks are only 3-17 in the last 20 games, but have won back-to-back
 contests at Madison Square Garden. They are 5-17 as the host this season and
 will welcome the Oklahoma City Thunder to town on Wednesday.
 Anthony is questionable Monday, while Jose Calderon (knee) and Amare
 Stoudemire (ankle/wrist) are doubtful.
 New York suffered a 135-129 overtime loss in Sacramento on Dec. 27 and Cousins
 led the charge with 39 points and 11 rebounds. Rudy Gay and Collison scored 29
 and 27 points, respectively, in that one and Anthony countered with 36.
 The Knicks and Kings have split the last six matchups.
 ( - The New Orleans Pelicans will try for a fourth straight
 win when they resume a six-game homestand Monday versus the Philadelphia
 The Pelicans opened the stay with a 109-106 victory over the Dallas Mavericks,
 as All-Star Anthony Davis provided 28 points and 10 rebounds for the victors.
 Davis is averaging 27.3 points and 10.1 rebounds in his last seven games.
 Tyreke Evans also had a double-double with 24 points and 12 assists, while
 Ryan Anderson netted 18 points off the bench. Omer Asik added 10 points and 11
 boards for New Orleans, which made 50.6 percent for the game and improved to
 14-5 in the Big Easy.
 "We talked about how if we can beat a team like this it would be a big step
 for our program," Pelicans head coach Monty Williams said.
 New Orleans has won three straight and six of its last seven home games, and
 will also welcome Denver, the LA Clippers, Atlanta and Oklahoma City to
 Smoothie King Center.
 The Sixers are mired in a five-game losing streak and fell to 1-7 in the past
 eight games with Saturday's 101-83 loss at the hands of the Memphis Grizzlies.
 Jerami Grant and Michael Carter-Williams scored 16 and 10 points,
 respectively, for Philadelphia, which made 38.3 percent for the game and have
 failed to score 100 or more points in each of the last 21 games. The 76ers are
 last in the NBA with 89.8 ppg.
 "Memphis was Memphis in the second period," Sixers coach Brett Brown said.
 "(The Grizzlies) are men. They are physical."
 Brown's squad turned the ball over 24 times for 17 Memphis points and is
 averaging an NBA-high 17.8 turnovers.
 Philadelphia is winless in its last four road games and has a 5-18 record away
 from home. The Sixers will host Detroit and Minnesota next.
 The 76ers recently defeated the Pelicans, 96-81, on Jan. 16 in south Philly
 and were paced by Carter-Williams, who scored 22 points. Davis rested in that
 game for New Orleans, which had a three-game winning streak in this series
 come to an end.
 ( - The Oklahoma City Thunder will try to get back on track
 Monday night when they welcome the Minnesota Timberwolves to Chesapeake Energy
 The Thunder dropped the last two on a five-game road trip, which started with
 three straight wins. OKC can be forgiven for the setbacks as they came against
 the Atlanta Hawks and Cleveland Cavaliers.
 On Sunday, the Thunder fell to LeBron James and company, 108-98.
 James finished with 34 points, seven rebounds, five assists and two blocks in
 the victory.
 Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook both neared triple-doubles in the loss, but
 Westbrook's 7-for-26 shooting and just six combined points from starters
 Kendrick Perkins and Andre Roberson were too much for Oklahoma City to
 "We missed some shots," said Durant. "We had some good looks but we missed
 them. I think we played a good game. We pretty much did whatever we wanted,
 but they came out on top. They hit some big shots."
 Durant posted 32 points, nine assists and six rebounds and Westbrook finished
 with 22 points, 11 assists and nine boards.
 Dion Waiters, who spent the first two-plus seasons in Cleveland before a trade
 on Jan. 7 sent him to the Thunder, added 14 points on 5-of-15 off the bench in
 his return to Quicken Loans Arena.
 The Thunder hit the road again, following Monday's tilt. They visit the New
 York Knicks and Memphis Grizzlies on this quick trip.
 The Timberwolves have dropped four straight and two of those came on the road.
 On Sunday, the T-wolves became the latest victim of the Hawks. Minnesota fell,
 112-100, in Atlanta.
 Thaddeus Young recorded 26 points, seven assists and six rebounds to lead the
 Wolves. Mo Williams finished with 20 points, followed by 15 from Nikola
 Pekovic and 12 out of Andrew Wiggins.
 The Hawks led by 14 at the half, then the gap was cut to nine after three
 quarters. Minnesota never sliced the deficit below six in the final frame.
 "This is a game that shows our guys how we have to compete," Minnesota head
 coach Flip Saunders said.
 The Thunder won the first matchup this season on Dec. 12 in Minnesota.
 Oklahoma City has taken four straight in this series and nine in a row as the
 ( - The Memphis Grizzlies will try to run their winning
 streak to three games on Monday when they welcome the Orlando Magic to
 The Grizzlies will complete a five-game homestand on Monday night which
 started with a victory against the Portland Trail Blazers, then led to a loss
 to the Dallas Mavericks.
 Following the loss, the Grizz have rattled off two straight wins. Memphis
 bested the Toronto Raptors and Philadelphia 76ers and following Monday's tilt
 with the Magic, it will head to Dallas for a rematch with the Mavericks.
 On Saturday, the Grizzlies defeated the 76ers with relative ease, 101-83.
 Zach Randolph registered 17 points with 14 rebounds to pace the Grizzlies.
 Jeff Green led the Grizzlies with 18 points and Vince Carter added 13 points
 off the bench.
 "Honestly I don't think we dominated that much," Grizzlies center Marc Gasol
 said. "I felt that we could have done a better job."
 The Grizzlies shot 46.8 percent from the field and forced 24 Philadelphia
 turnovers. All 11 Memphis players who saw action on Saturday scored at least
 four points.
 The Magic are in a rut, losing five straight and two in a row on the road.
 On Sunday, the Magic blew a nine-point lead with eight minutes to go en route
 to a 106-99 loss at home to the Indiana Pacers.
 Nikola Vucevic finished with 27 points and Victor Oladipo recorded 18 in the
 Magic's defeat, which dropped Orlando to 5-15 at home. Tobias Harris scored 11
 in a reserve role and Elfrid Payton added 10.
 The Pacers were trailing 88-79 when Damjan Rudez began to catch fire, with the
 Croatian forward burying two 3-pointers around a triple from teammate C.J.
 Watson before driving the lane for a game-tying uncontested dunk with 5:51
 Rudez sank another trey a minute later, and Ian Mahinmi finished off a 16-3
 Indiana run with a slam off a Watson feed to give the Pacers a 95-91 lead with
 4:28 to go.
 Back-to-back baskets from Payton then pulled Orlando back even, but Hill got
 into the lane to sink a tie-breaking layup shortly thereafter and put down a
 run-out slam after David West forced a Magic turnover for a 101-97 edge with
 1:45 to play.
 "You can't have the mistakes we had late in the game," Vucevic said. "Those
 mistakes cost us."
 Rudez came through with the dagger in the final moments, draining another 3-
 pointer that put Indiana up 105-99 with 21.2 seconds showing.
 Following Monday's contest, the Magic play two straight at home.
 The Grizzlies defeated the Magic by nine in Orlando on Jan. 16 and have won
 six straight in this series as the host. Memphis' winning streak overall
 against Orlando is at seven.
 BOSTON CELTICS (15-27) AT UTAH JAZZ (16-28), 9 P.M.
 ( - The Utah Jazz will defend their two-game winning streak
 Monday night when they take on the Boston Celtics at EnergySolutions Arena.
 The Jazz finished off their recent road trip with a win over the Milwaukee
 Bucks, then returned home to demolish the Brooklyn Nets, 108-73, on Saturday
 Utah will host the Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warrior on this
 Against the Nets on Saturday, Gordon Hayward scored 24 to lead the Jazz.  Trey
 Burke added 19 points and Joe Ingles scored 16 for the Jazz, who have won
 three of their last five.
 Dante Exum started for the Jazz and tallied 13 points and four assists. The
 Jazz posted 23 assists on 42 made field goals.
 "Generally when you do that, good things will happen," said Jazz head coach
 Quin Snyder. "And we played pretty good on top of that tonight."
 Enes Kanter had 10 for the Jazz, who shot 53.2 percent from the field,
 including 13-of-29 on 3-pointers. Ingles and Burke each made four 3s. Exum
 finished 3-for-5 from long range.
 The Celtics will play game four of a five-game road trip on Monday. They
 started with back-to-back wins over the Portland Trail Blazers and Denver
 Nuggets, then fell to the juggernaut known as the Golden State Warriors.
 The Celtics were competitive in defeat, losing, 114-111, at Oracle Arena on
 Jared Sullinger was the leading scorer for Boston, scoring 26 points, while
 Evan Turner filled the stat sheet with 19 points, seven rebounds and seven
 assists in the loss.
 "They played great overall as a team," said Turner. "We didn't do a good job
 of matching their runs sometimes."
 Boston trailed by 12 at the start of the fourth quarter, and the Celtics could
 not get within striking distance in the fourth as Golden State maintained a
 healthy advantage throughout the frame until late.
 Turner's 3-pointer cut the deficit to seven in the final minute, but Klay
 Thompson answered at the other end with a wing trey.  Boston followed with
 seven points over a 33-second span to close the gap to three, 112-109.
 However, Thompson sealed it at the line on a pair of free throws with 3.3
 seconds left.
 The Celtics finish this trek on Wednesday against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
 Boston had a six-game series winning streak snapped by the Jazz on Feb. 24 of
 last year. The two squads have split the previous eight encounters in Salt
 Lake City.
 ( - The Los Angeles Clippers will put their four-game
 winning streak on the line Monday night when they host the Denver Nuggets.
 The Clippers haven't lost since Jan. 16 at home against the Cleveland
 Cavaliers. Two of their wins during this run came at home, but the Clippers
 hit the road in a big way following Monday's contest.
 LA will go on an eight-game road trip which starts on Wednesday versus the
 Utah Jazz and finishes Feb. 9 against the Dallas Mavericks.
 On Sunday, the Clippers knocked off the Phoenix Suns in Los Angeles, 120-100.
 Chris Paul nearly recorded a triple-double and the Clippers beat the Suns for
 the sixth straight time. Paul posted 23 points, 12 assists and eight rebounds.
 Blake Griffin also contributed 23 points, while J.J. Redick chipped in 20
 points and DeAndre Jordan deposited an 18-point, 14-rebound double-double.
 Spencer Hawes finished with 11 off the bench and Jamal Crawford added 10 for
 the second unit.
 It was a two-point spread following a Gerald Green 3-pointer just over a
 minute into the fourth quarter. However, the Clippers made sure they claimed
 victory by ripping off 15 straight points. Redick closed the surge with a pair
 of free throws that pushed Los Angeles ahead 111-94 with under four minutes
 "(The Suns) are one of those teams that are never out of a game," Paul said.
 "It was good that we put them away."
 The Nuggets have lost six straight and two in a row on the road. They start a
 three-game trek on Monday with stops in New Orleans and Memphis following
 their date with the Clippers.
 On Sunday, Denver's skid reached six with a 117-115 overtime loss at home to
 the Washington Wizards.
 Wilson Chandler hit a trey from the top of the key with 3.8 seconds left to
 make it a two-point game in overtime, and Paul Pierce threw a lazy inbounds
 pass, which Ty Lawson easily intercepted. Lawson could have forced double
 overtime, but his uncontested mid-range jumper missed short as time expired.
 Lawson returned from a one-game absence following a DUI arrest and paced
 Denver with 31 points and 12 assists. Chandler added 20 and nine boards,
 followed by 12 from Darrell Arthur, 11 from Arron Afflalo and 10 out of J.J.
 "Things just aren't going our way," Nuggets coach Brian Shaw said.
 The Nuggets beat the Clippers by three in Denver on Dec. 19. The Nuggets have
 won three of the last four meetings with the Clippers, but LA has taken four
 straight as the host in this series.
 01/26 09:50:56 ET