Tonight in the NBA: Knicks aim for 6th straight

Tonight in the NBA: Knicks aim for 6th straight
February 6, 2013, 2:00 pm
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The 76ers are back in action tonight as they play their sixth in a row at home.

Winners of three straight, the Sixers welcome in an opponent with a streak of its own. The Pacers have won four in a row, including Tuesday night’s victory against Atlanta (see game notes).  

With a full, 13-game slate tonight in the NBA that includes all five Atlantic Division teams, here is a preview of the notable matchups:

Knicks at Wizards, 7 p.m.

Two teams on opposite ends of the Eastern Conference standings clash in the Nation’s Capital, as the Wizards host the red-hot Knicks.

New York (31-15), winners of five straight and eight of 10, looks to improve to 2-0 against Washington this season. The Knicks are second in the East, just a half-game behind Miami. Tyson Chandler has recorded 20 rebounds in three straight games, tying a franchise record.

John Wall, who is averaging 14.8 points and 6.8 assists in the 14 games since returning from injury, did not play in the last meeting with the Knicks. He and the Wizards (12-35) are in 14th place out of 15 teams in the East, and have lost four of their last five.

Celtics at Raptors, 7 p.m.

Back on Nov. 17 the Celtics defeated the Raptors, 107-89, behind a 20-assist performance from Rajon Rondo.

This time around, the Celtics (24-23) will not have their star point guard, who will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL. Since Rondo has been out, the Celtics are surprisingly undefeated, and look to extend their winning streak to five games Wednesday night in Toronto.

The Raptors (17-31) will also send out a different looking squad for this meeting with the Celtics. Last week, Toronto acquired forward Rudy Gay, who has averaged 24.5 points since joining the team. Toronto is 1-1 since the trade.

Nets at Pistons, 7:30 p.m.

The Nets started off strong when P.J. Carlesimo took over as head coach. However lately, they have cooled off.

Brooklyn (28-20) has lost four of six, including a home loss to the shorthanded Lakers on Tuesday night. The Nets will try to get back to their winning ways Wednesday in Detroit against a Pistons team they defeated 107-105 in overtime earlier this season.  

Despite the team’s recent struggles, center Brook Lopez has played exceptionally well of late. He has 20-plus points in three consecutive games, including a 30-point, 11-rebound performance against the Lakers.

Detroit (18-31) has also had difficulties lately, losing six of its last eight. The Pistons have only broken the 100-point mark once during that span.

New point guard Jose Calderon -- sent to Detroit from Toronto as part of the three-team Rudy Gay deal -- played well in his first game as a Piston. He scored 15 points on 7-for-12 shooting in a 99-85 loss to the Knicks.

Warriors at Thunder, 8 p.m.

Oklahoma City comes into Wednesday’s game looking for consecutive wins for the first time since their six-game winning streak in mid-January.

The Thunder (36-12) have alternated wins and losses for nine straight games (5-4), but are coming off a 112-91 win over Dallas. Kevin Durant leads the league in scoring at 29.4 points per game, and has averaged exactly 29 points against Golden State this season (Thunder are 1-1).

Golden State (30-18) had won four in a row heading into last night’s battle with the Rockets. The Warriors gave up a season-high 140 points and an NBA-record 23 three-pointers in a 140-109 loss to Houston. The Warriors will obviously have to shore up their defense before Wednesday night, as the Thunder lead the NBA in points per game at 105.9

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