NBA Game Previews
Key notes from NBA game previews, on one page. Also see NBA daily recaps, NBA video highlights and daily stat leaders, as well as daily fantasy basketball notes.
NBA Game Previews for Saturday, March 1
Magic at Heat, 7:30 p.m. ET -- STATS reports: While everyone wants to talk about LeBron James' new protective mask, it's important not to forget about the Miami Heat's recent play.
James tries to lead the Heat to a seventh consecutive win and ninth in a row over the visiting Orlando Magic on Saturday night.
Playing with a dark carbon-fiber mask to protect his broken nose, James stayed hot with 31 points in Thursday's 108-82 rout of New York. The four-time NBA MVP sat out the previous game after sustaining the injury in last Thursday's 103-81 win at Oklahoma City... The Magic had dropped a franchise worst-tying 16 consecutive road games before winning 101-90 at lowly Philadelphia on Wednesday. Nikola Vucevic had 21 points and 13 rebounds, Victor Oladipo added 17 and 11 and Jameer Nelson scored 16 to go along with 12 assists.
Wizards at Sixers, 7:30 p.m. ET -- STATS reports: The Philadelphia 76ers are on the verge of matching the franchise's longest home losing streak, set in Allen Iverson's rookie season.
While the surging Washington Wizards don't appear likely to slip up against Philadelphia, they could have some tired legs following a historic triple-overtime victory.
The 76ers hope to avoid their 12th straight home loss Saturday night when they retire Iverson's No. 3 against a Wizards team looking for its sixth consecutive win.
Philadelphia (15-43) shot just 36.8 percent from the field and 5 for 22 from 3-point range in a 101-90 loss to visiting Orlando on Wednesday... The Wizards improved to 2-0 since losing Nene for approximately six weeks to a knee injury. Now they're hoping one day of rest is enough to recover from the marathon as they look to take this season series for the first time since 2009-10.
Pistons at Rockets, 8 p.m. ET -- STATS reports: The Dwight Howard-Andre Drummond duel proved to be a major mismatch in the first meeting between the Houston Rockets and Detroit Pistons this season.
More than two months later, Drummond will get to see how far he's come when the teams meet again Saturday night.
Howard and the Rockets are shooting for their 11th win in 13 games while Drummond and the Pistons try to avoid their seventh straight road loss.
Houston's eight-time All-Star certainly had his way with Detroit's second-year center when he finished with a season-high 35 points and 19 rebounds in a 114-97 road win Dec. 21... After averaging a season-low 11.8 points on 56.1 percent shooting in January, Drummond put up a career-best 14.8 points per game and a 64.9 field-goal percentage in February. Howard, who averaged a season-best 22.8 points in February, is the only player with at least 100 attempts to post a better field-goal percentage (65.4) that month.
Pacers at Celtics, 8 p.m. ET -- STATS reports: Despite owning the best record in the NBA, the Indiana Pacers have had some trouble getting up for games against the league's lesser teams recently.
They'll try to find the necessary motivation as they continue a stretch of schedule that's heavy on sub-.500 clubs when they visit the Boston Celtics on Saturday night.
The Pacers (44-13) have won three in a row, but they haven't been dominant in their last eight games, during which they've faced one team with a winning record. After facing Boston, Indiana hosts last-place Utah on Sunday.
The Pacers blew a 17-point first-half lead against NBA-worst Milwaukee on Thursday and had to rally for 101-96 win... The Pacers may be without point guard George Hill, as he suffered a bruised shoulder on a fall against Milwaukee. Vogel said Hill is day-to-day.
The Celtics are banged up as well, with Avery Bradley, Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk sidelined because of injuries.
Nets at Bucks, 8:30 p.m. ET -- STATS reports: The Brooklyn Nets followed one of their worst efforts of all-time with a lopsided win their last time out.
Consistency hasn't been an issue against the Milwaukee Bucks of late.
Looking to inch closer to .500, the Nets go for a fifth consecutive victory over Milwaukee as they conclude a season-high seven-game road trip Saturday night.
While Brooklyn (27-29) has alternated wins and losses over a seven-game stretch, coach Jason Kidd's team has proven especially unsteady over the last two. After getting blown out 124-80 at Portland on Wednesday to match the fourth-worst loss in franchise history, the Nets bounced back the following night with an easy 112-89 win at Denver... While Milwaukee (11-46) owns the NBA's worst record, it's held its own of late. The Bucks posted their highest scoring total of the season in Monday's 130-110 win at Philadelphia, then came up just short at league-leading Indiana on Thursday.
Cavs at Grizzlies, 9 p.m. ET -- STATS reports: With Kyrie Irving leading the way, the Cleveland Cavaliers have earned a pair of victories despite a rash of injuries.
The Cavaliers will try to extend that run Saturday night by denying the Memphis Grizzlies a season-high fifth straight home win.
Anderson Varejao has experienced the longest absence among Cleveland's trio of injured contributors, missing nine games due to a sore back. Dion Waiters (knee) has sat out the last six and C.J. Miles (ankle) has missed the past five for the Cavaliers (24-36).
All three players participated in Friday morning's shootaround, but they all remain out indefinitely.
Nuggets at Blazers, 10 p.m. ET -- STATS reports: The Portland Trail Blazers have continued to flourish despite the absence of multiple rotation players, including leading scorer and rebounder LaMarcus Aldridge.
The injury bug also has hit the Denver Nuggets, but they haven't been nearly as successful with Ty Lawson still nursing a fractured left rib.
Aldridge could return Saturday night as Portland seeks a fifth straight victory while looking to hand visiting Denver a fifth consecutive defeat.
The Blazers (40-18) continued their run with a 124-80 blowout of Brooklyn on Wednesday to open a four-game homestand. Their current tear has been all the more impressive given that they've played the last five games without Aldridge, who is averaging career bests of 23.9 points and 11.4 rebounds... The Nuggets (25-32) have dropped nine of 10 and went winless on a three-game homestand. They've dropped five of six on the road.