Tonight in the NBA: Shorthanded Celts host Bulls

Tonight in the NBA: Shorthanded Celts host Bulls
February 13, 2013, 12:45 pm
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The 76ers are back in action tonight as they travel to Milwaukee to take on the Bucks (see preview).

It is the team’s first road game in its last nine contests, and its final game before the All-Star break. The Sixers finished 5-3 on their homestand and now look to head into All-Star Weekend on a positive note with a win.

All four other Atlantic Division teams are on the schedule tonight. Here is a look at those and other notable matchups in the NBA on Wednesday:

Bulls at Celtics, 7:30 p.m.

Two of the most injury-riddled teams in the NBA will meet in Boston when the Celtics host the Bulls.

Boston (27-24) lost another key player for the season in its last game against Charlotte. Guard Leandro Barbosa tore his ACL and will sit out the rest of the year alongside Rajon Rondo and Jared Sullinger. To make matters worse, the Celtics saw their seven-game win streak snapped as they fell 94-91 to the NBA's worst team, the Bobcats.

Kevin Garnett had 16 points and 13 rebounds for Boston but allowed opposing big man Byron Mullens to explode for 25 points and 18 boards.

The Bulls (30-21) are coming off a 103-89 loss to the Spurs on Monday. Despite outrebounding San Antonio by an incredible plus-23 margin, Chicago committed 19 turnovers, shot just 2 for 12 from three, and 13 for 20 from the line. Luol Deng had a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds, but shot just 4-for-13.

These two teams have already met three times this season, with the Bulls taking two of the three. Marco Belinelli hit the game-winner with 3.1 seconds left in overtime, and Carlos Boozer had 19 points and a game-high 20 boards in the last matchup. The three injured Celtics (Rondo, Barbosa, Sullinger) combined for 42 points and 20 rebounds.

Nuggets at Nets, 7:30 p.m.

Brooklyn will be without Deron Williams for a second straight game Wednesday. The Nets (30-22) pulled out an 89-84 overtime victory over Indiana on Monday behind 25 points from Brook Lopez and 22 rebounds from Reggie Evans. The victory prevented a three-game losing skid.

After nine consecutive victories, Denver (33-20) has lost its last two including a 109-108 loss Tuesday night to the Raptors. Rudy Gay hit the game-winning shot with four seconds remaining to sink the Nuggets, who were without Andre Iguodala, Danilo Gallinari, and Wilson Chandler.

Ty Lawson had 29 points, nine assists, and three steals for a Denver team that shot 51.8 percent from the floor.

This is the first meeting between these two teams this season. Denver took the only matchup last season 123-115, but both teams have made significant roster changes since then.

Raptors at Knicks, 7:30 p.m.

After a five-game winning streak where they looked nearly unbeatable, the Knicks (32-17) have suddenly cooled off and dropped two of three.

Their most recent loss came at home against the Clippers in a game where nobody but Carmelo Anthony could get shots to fall. Anthony had 42 points, his third game in a row with 30 or more, but only one other Knick (Raymond Felton) reached double figures. Los Angeles clamped down on Anthony in the fourth, limiting him to just four points in the final period.

Toronto (20-32) has quietly started a three-game winning streak with impressive victories over Indiana and Denver. DeMar DeRozan’s 22 points, Kyle Lowry’s 10 assists, and Rudy Gay’s game-winning jumper with four seconds to go led the Raptors to a 109-108 victory Tuesday against the Nuggets.

Toronto has scored at least 100 points in each of their last three wins.

The Knicks and Raptors have yet to meet this season but will play four games in the span of 5½ weeks. The two teams split the season series last year.

Rockets at Clippers, 10:30 p.m.

After eight straight on the road, the Clippers (37-17) return home to the Staples Center for their second meeting this season with the Rockets (29-25).

In the previous meeting on Jan. 15, Los Angeles defeated Houston 117-109 without the services of Chris Paul. Jamal Crawford filled in nicely, contributing a season-high 30 points. James Harden had 23 points for the Rockets.

Tonight, however, Houston may be without Harden, the team’s leading scorer. He twisted his ankle in Tuesday night’s 116-107 victory over Golden State, but still had 27 points and seven rebounds. If Harden cannot suit up, the NBA’s highest scoring team will have to make up for his 26.1 points per game.

The Clippers enter this game after two straight double-digit victories against the Knicks and Sixers.

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