Tonight in the NBA: All five Atlantic Divison teams in action

Tonight in the NBA: All five Atlantic Divison teams in action
February 20, 2013, 2:00 pm
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The 76ers begin their tough second-half schedule tonight against the Timberwolves, looking to snap a two-game losing streak (see preview).

Ten other NBA games are on the schedule tonight, including four featuring Atlantic Division teams.

Here is a look at those matchups:

Knicks at Pacers, 7 p.m.

Neither team entered the All-Star break playing great basketball. The Knicks (32-18) have lost three of four and have seen their offensive production go south. In the seven games since February began, New York has scored 100-plus points just twice. The team averages 100.3 points, but may have a tough time getting back on track against the best statistical defense in the NBA.

Indiana (32-21) gives up a league-best 89.9 points per game and pulls down a league-high 45.8 rebounds per game. However, the Pacers dropped two of their last three games before the All-Star weekend, with their only win coming at home against the 13-40 Bobcats.

These two teams traded wins in their two previous matchups this season. In the most recent matchup, Indiana escaped with an 81-76 win behind a 24-point, 11-rebound performance from All-Star Paul George. Carmelo Anthony did not play because of a one-game suspension.

Anthony is coming off one of his worst games of the season, a 12-point output on a dismal 5 for 24 shooting in a loss to Toronto. George ended the first half of the season with possibly his best game as a pro. He recorded his first career triple-double with 23 points, 12 rebounds, and 12 assists in a big win over Charlotte.

Grizzlies at Raptors, 7 p.m.

Rudy Gay will face his former team for the first time since being dealt three weeks ago. Since the trade, both Memphis and Toronto have strung together impressive winning streaks that will be on the line tonight.

The Raptors (22-32) have won five straight games, three of which have come against teams with records of 10 or more games above .500. Last night in a 96-88 win over the Wizards, Gay and DeMar DeRozan scored 24 points each while Kyle Lowry added 11 and 10 assists.

Memphis (34-18) has won four straight after defeating the Pistons 105-91 on Tuesday. Zach Randolph recorded his 31st double-double of the season with 15 points and 10 boards. Memphis has scored at least 99 points in all four of its consecutive wins.

In their only previous meeting this season, the Grizzlies routed the Raptors 103-82. Five different Grizzlies scored in double-figures.

Nets at Bucks, 8 p.m.

For the second night in a row, the Nets and Bucks will square off.

On Tuesday, Joe Johnson hit a game-tying three-pointer in the final seconds of regulation to send the game into overtime. Then, he outdid his own heroics by hitting the game-winning jumper at the buzzer in overtime to hand the Nets (32-22) a 113-111 victory. Johnson finished with 24 points, and Brook Lopez and Deron Williams added 19 each for Brooklyn who overcame a 34-point outburst from Brandon Jennings.

Brooklyn’s victory was its first over Milwaukee (26-26) in the last 14 games, and gave the Bucks their fifth loss in their last six contests. The Nets have won three games in a row and sit just two games behind the Atlantic Division-leading Knicks.

Celtics at Lakers 10:30 p.m.

The Lakers’ struggles this season have been no secret. Times may get even tougher for Los Angeles (25-29) after the passing of owner Jerry Buss. The team will play its first game without its long-time owner tonight against Boston in the classic East-West rivalry.

Los Angeles has alternated wins and losses in its last five games (2-3) and is coming off a 125-101 drubbing at the hands of the cross-town rival Clippers. The Lakers put themselves in a 14-point hole after the first quarter, and allowed six different Clippers to score in double-figures for the game. Kobe Bryant had 20 points and 11 assists.

The Celtics (28-25) have lost two of three following a seven-game win streak. Most recently, Boston was defeated 97-90 by Denver. Jeff Green scored 20 points for the Celtics, but it wasn’t enough to overcome 26 points each from Ty Lawson and Danilo Gallinari.

These two teams met on Feb. 7 in Boston. The Celtics easily defeated the Lakers 116-95, led by Paul Pierce’s 24 points.

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