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                ***** NBA Previews from The Sports Network *****
                             Saturday, February 28
                              (All times Eastern)
 
 
 DETROIT PISTONS (23-35) AT WASHINGTON WIZARDS (33-26), 7 P.M.
 
 (SportsNetwork.com) - The Washington Wizards are sinking like a stone, but
 they'll try to rebound on Saturday when the Detroit Pistons pay a visit to the
 Verizon Center.
 
 The Wizards have lost six in a row and are 2-11 in their last 13, including
 back-to-back home setbacks to the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland
 Cavaliers.
 
 Washington has fallen hard in the Eastern Conference standings. The Wiz stand
 a half-game ahead of the Milwaukee Bucks, who could have tied them with a road
 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday.
 
 Against the Sixers, who snapped a five-game losing streak, John Wall scored 21
 points on 26 field-goal attempts with 11 assists, and Otto Porter contributed
 19 points.
 
 Ramon Sessions chipped in 14 off the bench for a Wizards team that shot 32.3
 percent from the field.
 
 "You gotta keep playing. There is frustration out there. No question. We need
 guys to step up," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said.
 
 Washington was without starters Bradley Beal (stress reaction in lower right
 leg) and Paul Pierce (bruised right knee) as well as key bench contributor
 Kris Humphries (strained left hamstring).
 
 The Pistons have dropped two in a row and have fallen one game off the pace
 for the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference, which is currently held by the
 Indiana Pacers, Charlotte Hornets, Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets.
 
 After a two-game winning streak during their four-game homestand, the Pistons
 dropped the final two legs. They fell to the super-hot Cavaliers, then allowed
 the New York Knicks to halt an eight-game slide in double-overtime Friday
 night.
 
 The Pistons squandered an 18-point lead in a 121-115 setback.
 
 Greg Monroe led Detroit with 28 points and added 13 rebounds, but he missed a
 key free throw late in the first OT. Andre Drummond also recorded a double-
 double with 21 points and 15 boards.
 
 Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 19 points for the Pistons, who received 16
 apiece from Reggie Jackson and Jodie Meeks.
 
 The Pistons failed to finish it off in regulation, going scoreless over the
 final three minutes. New York opted to play defense down three with 31.4
 seconds to play, and after Jackson missed an elbow jumper, Langston Galloway
 raced down and drained a 3 from well beyond the arc with 6.3 ticks showing.
 
 New York double-teamed Jackson and forced Anthony Tolliver into a contested
 28-footer that had no chance of going in at the buzzer.
 
 Neither team led by more than two in the first OT, and Lou Amundson's tip-in
 of a Galloway miss broke a 103-103 tie with 29.6 seconds remaining.
 
 After a timeout, Monroe muscled Amundson on the left block and was fouled
 while hitting a turnaround. Monroe missed the subsequent free throw, however,
 and Tim Hardaway Jr. was long on a baseline jumper at the other end.
 
 Shane Larkin put New York ahead 115-111 with a three-point play with 28.0
 seconds left in the second OT, and the Knicks held on from there.
 
 The Pistons shot 12.5 percent from the field in the third quarter, which is
 where the tide turned for the Knicks.
 
 "That's two games in a row when we've come out at halftime and our starters
 have not been any good," Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said. "We just didn't
 try defensively at the start of the third quarter."
 
 The Pistons visit New Orleans and Houston on this road trip.
 
 The Wizards won the season's first meeting in Washington, then the Pistons
 prevailed on Sunday in Motown.
 
 
 ATLANTA HAWKS (46-12) AT MIAMI HEAT (25-32), 7:30 P.M.
 
 (SportsNetwork.com) - The Atlanta Hawks are rounding back into form and
 they'll take that momentum to South Beach Saturday night in a Southeast
 Division clash with the Miami Heat.
 
 The Hawks, who own a nine-game lead over the Toronto Raptors for Eastern
 Conference supremacy, have won three in a row, which is tied for the best
 current winning streak in the conference.
 
 Atlanta prevailed over the Milwaukee Bucks, Dallas Mavericks and Orlando Magic
 during this run. After Saturday's tilt at American Airlines Arena, the Hawks
 return home to host the Houston Rockets and Cleveland Cavaliers.
 
 On Friday, Atlanta won a seesaw matchup with the Magic, 95-88.
 
 Jeff Teague scored all 17 of his points in the second half and added seven
 assists to lead the Hawks. Paul Millsap totaled 20 points and Al Horford
 chipped in 17 points with 13 rebounds for Atlanta.
 
 "Their pick-and-roll defense gave us a lot of trouble," Hawks coach Mike
 Budenholzer said of the Magic. "They really came after it defensively."
 
 Atlanta was up as many as 10 in the fourth before the Magic closed within
 89-86 on Vucevic's jumper with 1 1/2 minutes left. Orlando then caught a break
 when Millsap lost the ball in the lane was called for an offensive foul for
 plowing into Victor Oladipo.
 
 Nikola Vucevic, though, missed a short bank shot at the other end, and Teague
 drained a floater in the lane with 44.4 seconds left.
 
 Following an air ball 3-pointer from Channing Frye, Horford cemented the win
 when he slammed home Teague's miss with 19.4 seconds remaining.
 
 The Heat had a two-game winning streak end on Friday with a 104-102 loss in
 the Big Easy to the New Orleans Pelicans.
 
 Luol Deng and Goran Dragic went for 22 and 20 points, respectively, in the
 loss. Dwyane Wade totaled 11 points on 4-of-16 shooting to go along with eight
 assists.
 
 "We gotta move on tomorrow and show some grit to win against the best team the
 East," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.
 
 New Orleans' Eric Gordon nailed a 3-pointer with 2:23 left to tie it up once
 more.
 
 The Pelicans forced a shot clock violation with 36 seconds left, then Gordon
 found Alexis Ajinca inside for a layup to give the hosts a 104-102 lead. Omer
 Asik came up with a block of Hassan Whiteside on the ensuing Heat possession,
 but he threw it away to give the Heat another chance.
 
 Wade went for the win from 3-point range, but his attempt hit back iron and
 the Pelicans held on.
 
 Miami will also host the Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Lakers on this stay.
 
 The Hawks have won both encounters this season and four in a row in the
 series. Atlanta's win in Miami on Dec. 3 snapped a five-game road losing
 streak versus the Heat.
 
 
 TORONTO RAPTORS (37-21) AT NEW YORK KNICKS (11-46), 7:30 P.M.
 
 (SportsNetwork.com) - The Toronto Raptors will try to make up for an
 embarrassing loss on Saturday when they visit Madison Square Garden to face
 the New York Knicks.
 
 The Raptors have lost four in a row, but the fourth was the worst.
 
 On Friday, Toronto fell at home to the Golden State Warriors, 113-89.
 
 "That was just a good, old-fashioned, wood-shed butt whooping," Raptors coach
 Dwane Casey said.
 
 Terrence Ross led the Raptors with 18 points and DeMar DeRozan chipped in 14
 on 4-of-16 shooting. Toronto starting point guard Kyle Lowry scored four
 points on 1-of-7 shooting and did not record an assist in under 19 minutes.
 
 This game was over early as the Raptors went 1-for-19 from the field in the
 first quarter. That 5.3 percent shooting saw Toronto trail 27-11 after the
 first and it got worse from there.
 
 Golden State ended the final 7 1/2 minutes of the half on a 19-8 burst for a
 54-31 lead at the break. Klay Thompson netted the first 11 points for the
 Warriors to begin the third quarter. He hit three straight treys before
 Draymond Green converted a layup for a 67-33 lead and the Warriors led by as
 many as 41 over the final 21 minutes.
 
 The Raptors will stop by Philadelphia on this short road trip through the
 Atlantic Division.
 
 The Knicks snapped an eight-game losing streak with a 121-115, double-overtime
 victory over the Detroit Pistons Friday night at The Palace of Auburn Hills.
 
 New York trailed by 18 in the first half, but battled back for its first road
 victory since Jan. 24 versus the Charlotte Hornets.
 
 Langston Galloway forced the first OT with a 3-pointer, Shane Larkin scored
 nine of his 16 points in the second OT and Andrea Bargnani finished with 25
 points and 12 rebounds as the Knicks snapped their skid in unlikely fashion.
 
 "It shows the character we have in the locker room," Knicks coach Derek Fisher
 said. "We kept coming back."
 
 The Pistons failed to finish it off in regulation, going scoreless over the
 final three minutes. New York opted to play defense down three with 31.4
 seconds to play, and after Reggie Jackson missed an elbow jumper, Galloway
 raced down and drained a 3 from well beyond the arc with 6.3 ticks showing.
 
 New York double-teamed Jackson and forced Anthony Tolliver into a contested
 28-footer that had no chance of going in at the buzzer.
 
 Neither team led by more than two in the first OT, and Lou Amundson's tip-in
 of a Galloway miss broke a 103-103 tie with 29.6 seconds remaining.
 
 After a timeout, Greg Monroe muscled Amundson on the left block and was fouled
 while hitting a turnaround. Monroe missed the subsequent free throw, however,
 and Tim Hardaway Jr. was long on a baseline jumper at the other end.
 
 Larkin put New York ahead 115-111 with a three-point play with 28.0 seconds
 left in the second OT, and the Knicks held on from there.
 
 The Raptors have won two straight in this series, but the two teams have split
 the last eight meetings at MSG.
 
 
 MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES (41-16) AT MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES (13-44), 8 P.M.
 
 (SportsNetwork.com) - The Memphis Grizzlies are in the midst of a two-game
 losing streak and will try to snap out of it Saturday night against the
 Minnesota Timberwolves at the Target Center.
 
 The Grizzlies haven't lost two in a row since early January and remain in
 second place in the Western Conference. Memphis' consecutive losses came on
 the road against the Sacramento Kings, then at home versus the Los Angeles
 Clippers on Friday.
 
 Chris Paul scored 11 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter as he and the
 Clippers avenged their loss to the Grizzlies earlier this week with a 97-79
 win.
 
 "Chris Paul dominated the game," Grizzlies head coach Dave Joerger said. "They
 set the tone."
 
 Zach Randolph led Memphis with 20 points and 10 boards, while Mike Conley
 scored just four points on 2-of-11 shooting in the Grizzlies' second straight
 loss. Courtney Lee added 12 and Marc Gasol managed 11 points as the Grizz shot
 37.9 percent from the field and 25 percent from long range.
 
 The Grizzlies had a seven-game home winning streak halted.
 
 The Timberwolves open a four-game homestand and they've won two in a row as
 the host, including Kevin Garnett's re-debut with Minnesota on Wednesday
 night.
 
 The veteran forward, who was reacquired by Minnesota in a trade with Brooklyn
 last week, played 19 minutes in an emotional 97-77 home victory over
 Washington.
 
 On Friday, the T-wolves fell in Chicago to the Bulls, 96-89, with Garnett out
 of the lineup. Minnesota coach Flip Saunders decided to rest Garnett in the
 first part of back-to-back games for the Timberwolves.
 
 Kevin Martin ended with 18 points for the Timberwolves, who fell to 5-23 on
 the road this season. Ricky Rubio had 15 points and 10 assists, Nikola Pekovic
 recorded 12 points and 11 rebounds and Andrew Wiggins scored 14 points.
 
 The Bulls trailed 85-84 before Kirk Hinrich made a layup to spark a late 9-1
 run. Mike Dunleavy added a 3-pointer and Hinrich made another layup before
 Jimmy Butler converted a bank shot to give Chicago a 93-86 edge with 1:17 to
 play.
 
 "I thought we played hard defensively," said Saunders. "For the Bulls, they
 have All-Stars who performed down the stretch. Butler made plays and Noah made
 plays and that's what you want your All-Stars to do."
 
 The two squads split two meetings this season with the home team prevailing
 each time. The Timberwolves have won two in a row as the host, but Memphis had
 taken the seven previous encounters in Minnesota.
 
 
 BROOKLYN NETS (23-33) AT DALLAS MAVERICKS (39-21), 8:30 P.M.
 
 (SportsNetwork.com) - The Dallas Mavericks return home Saturday and they'll
 also try to return to the winner's circle when the Brooklyn Nets visit
 American Airlines Center.
 
 The Mavs had a three-game winning streak end Wednesday on the road versus
 the Atlanta Hawks. Dallas fell, 104-87, in a game that Rajon Rondo missed due
 to suspension. In the Mavs' win over Toronto on Tuesday, Rondo and head coach
 Rick Carlisle were caught in a heated exchange and Rondo sat the final 20-plus
 minutes. Then, the former All-Star point guard was suspended Wednesday.
 
 "Everything is back to normal," Rondo said after Friday's practice. "We just
 had a little discussion on the court, and it led to a suspension. I think he
 had some frustration with me and vice versa, so communication is definitely
 key in this situation. You know, we've had a couple of talks since then, and
 we're going to move forward."
 
 The Mavs led the Hawks by 12 after the first quarter, but were outscored by 29
 the rest of the way.
 
 Chandler Parsons missed his third straight game with an ankle injury and Tyson
 Chandler was out with a hip injury. Parsons is out of Saturday's game and
 Chandler is listed as questionable.
 
 Newly acquired forward Amar'e Stoudemire (rest) was also out.
 
 Monta Ellis scored 19 points, J.J. Barea had 13 with seven assists and Bernard
 James grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds in a rare start.
 
 "We were moving it good and everybody was knocking down shots, but as the game
 went on we were having trouble making them," said Carlisle.
 
 The Mavs will host the Pelicans on Monday.
 
 The Nets mercifully end their eight-game road trip on Saturday and are 2-5
 thus far. They opened with three straight losses, then consecutive victories,
 but the trip is winding down poorly.
 
 Brooklyn lost to New Orleans on Wednesday, then fell to the Houston Rockets,
 102-98, on Friday.
 
 Deron Williams and Mason Plumlee each scored 15 points for the Nets. Markel
 Brown had 14, followed by 13 apiece from Alan Anderson and Joe Johnson. Brook
 Lopez registered a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds.
 
 Brooklyn held a 95-90 lead with 2:35 to play after Lopez's tip-in, but
 Terrence Jones followed that with a jumper and Patrick Beverley hit a 3-
 pointer to tie the game with 1:11 left.
 
 After a miss from Brown, James Harden was fouled away from the play and made a
 free throw, then hit a jumper with 27 seconds left for a 98-95 lead. Williams
 countered with a layup at the other end before Jason Terry made two from the
 line with 14.7 left.
 
 Johnson then made 1-of-2, but Trevor Ariza grabbed the rebound and Jones
 sealed the victory with a pair of free throws.
 
 "I thought Markel (Brown) did an outstanding job on Harden throughout the
 game," Nets coach Lionel Hollins said of the rookie. "We just didn't close it
 out."
 
 The Nets return to Brooklyn for five games, starting Monday versus the Golden
 State Warriors.
 
 The Mavs beat the Nets by eight in overtime Jan. 5 in Brooklyn to snap a
 three-game series losing streak. The Nets have won three straight in Big D.
 
 
 MILWAUKEE BUCKS (32-26) AT UTAH JAZZ (22-35), 9 P.M.
 
 (SportsNetwork.com) - The Milwaukee Bucks started their western road trip
 poorly, but will try to get back on track Saturday night at EnergySolutions
 Arena versus the Utah Jazz.
 
 Milwaukee opened its four-game trek with a 101-93 setback Friday to the Los
 Angeles Lakers. After its stop in Salt Lake City, Milwaukee will challenge the
 Denver Nuggets and Golden State Warriors.
 
 Ersan Ilyasova had 17 points and 12 rebounds for the Bucks, who have lost
 three of their last four games. They shot just 4-of-19 from the field in the
 fourth, compared to 14-of-23 for the Lakers.
 
 Giannis Antetokounmpo had 13 points and Jerryd Bayless 12 for Milwaukee.
 
 "We have to make them drive the ball. We just didn't do that," Bucks coach
 Jason Kidd said of his team's defense.
 
 John Henson's one free throw gave Milwaukee an 11-point advantage, but the
 Lakers scored the next 10 points, capped by Wayne Ellington's shot from beyond
 the arc. His layup gave the hosts the lead for good at 85-83 with 5:09 to go.
 
 A layup from Bayless cut the margin to 94-91 with 1:25 left, but Jordan Hill's
 jumper made it a two-possession game. Bayless then lost the ball on a drive
 toward the hoop. That led to a breakaway jam from Wesley Johnson with a minute
 left that sealed the outcome.
 
 The Jazz have won five of their last seven, but lost last time out at home to
 the Lakers on Wednesday. Utah rebounded with a 104-82 thrashing of the Nuggets
 at Pepsi Center on Friday.
 
 Derrick Favors scored 21 points and pulled down 10 rebounds to lead the Jazz.
 Trey Burke chipped in 19 points off the bench and Gordon Hayward scored 15 for
 the hot-shooting Jazz. Rodney Hood had 14 points in a reserve role for Utah,
 which shot 57.4 percent from the field.
 
 "It was good to see over the course of the game our team had a really good
  focus," Jazz coach Quinn Snyder said.
 
 Rudy Gobert had a big night for the Jazz. He scored 10 points, grabbed eight
 rebounds and blocked six shots. Utah blocked 15 shots as a team and held the
 Nuggets to 33.3 percent shooting and 25 percent from long range.
 
 The Jazz committed 23 turnovers, which led to 23 Denver points.
 
 The Jazz hit the road for four straight following Saturday's contest. Utah
 visits the Memphis Grizzlies, Boston Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn
 Nets.
 
 The Bucks and Jazz have traded wins in their last four meetings, but the Jazz
 have been dominant at home in this series. Utah has won 12 in a row over
 Milwaukee in Salt Lake City. The Bucks haven't beaten the Jazz on the road
 since Oct. 30, 2001.
 
 
 SAN ANTONIO SPURS (35-23) AT PHOENIX SUNS (31-28), 9 P.M.
 
 (SportsNetwork.com) - The San Antonio Spurs finally got back into the winner's
 circle last time out and go for two in a row Saturday night when they visit
 the Phoenix Suns.
 
 The Spurs finally conclude their annual rodeo trip and are 3-5 on the odyssey.
 Following Saturday's tilt in Phoenix, the Spurs play six in a row in Alamo
 City.
 
 The defending champs halted a four-game slide on Friday with a 107-96 victory
 over the Sacramento Kings.
 
 Kawhi Leonard and Tony Parker both broke out of slumps versus the Kings. They
 received 17 points from Leonard - his highest point total in three weeks --
 and 19 from Parker, who scored just nine over his previous three games.
 
 "It starts with your head. When you're in a little shooting slump and the
 whole team is not playing well, it's easy to have low energy," Parker said of
 the recent losing streak.
 
 Manu Ginobili chipped in with 16 points off the bench for the Spurs. San
 Antonio committed only six turnovers and forced 17 miscues from Sacramento,
 which the Spurs turned into 24 points.
 
 The Spurs needed a late push to knock off a Kings team that was without All-
 Star forward DeMarcus Cousins and starting point guard Darren Collison.
 
 The Suns have won two in a row after a five-game losing streak. Phoenix is
 just a game behind the Oklahoma City Thunder for the eighth playoff spot in
 the Western Conference.
 
 In fact, the Suns trail the Spurs by 4 1/2 games for the seventh seed in the
 West.
 
 Phoenix's most recent victory came Thursday night at home against the Thunder.
 The Suns escaped with a 117-113 overtime triumph even though Russell Westbrook
 recorded a triple-double.
 
 Eric Bledsoe nearly posted a triple-double of his own with 28 points, 13
 rebounds and nine assists. Markieff Morris led Phoenix with 29 points to go
 along with 11 rebounds, and Alex Len deposited 12 points with 11 rebounds in
 the win.
 
 Bledsoe converted a pair of baskets in a two-minute span to give the Suns a
 115-111 lead with 1:51 left in overtime. Westbrook then made it a one-
 possession game with a layup that ended a drought of over three minutes
 without a bucket from Oklahoma City.
 
 Westbrook drove the lane in the closing seconds and missed an open layup
 before P.J. Tucker knocked down a pair of free throws with under a second left
 to seal the win.
 
 These squads have split two meetings this season and the home team triumphed
 both times. The Spurs are 4-2 in their last six trips to Phoenix.
 
 
 02/28 09:53:05 ET