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March 20, 2012
INDIANA SPORTS PAGE



LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS (26-18) AT INDIANA PACERS (25-18), 7 P.M.

The Los Angeles Clippers are set to become a victim of the
NBA's condensed schedule and will play three straight road games in as many
nights, starting with Tuesday's matchup with the Indiana Pacers.

The Clippers will also visit the Thunder and Hornets on the back-to-back-to-
back set and completed a six-game homestand with two straight victories over
Houston and Detroit. Los Angeles went 3-3 on the residency and is coming off
Sunday's 87-83 overtime win over the Pistons, as Nick Young made his debut by
scoring nine points and recording two steals in 28:30.

Indiana has stumbled a bit since ripping off six straight wins and has dropped
six of eight games, including Saturday's 102-88 loss to the New York Knicks in
the back end of a home-and-home series.

Roy Hibbert had 24 points and 12 rebounds, while Paul George totaled 18 points
for Indiana, which shot 40.5 percent and committed 15 turnovers for 20 New
York points. The Pacers lost at New York the night before. Darren Collison and
Danny Granger scored 15 and 11 points, respectively, in a losing cause.

PHOENIX SUNS (23-22) AT MIAMI HEAT (33-11), 7 P.M.

It's been almost two months since the Miami Heat lost a
game at home and the star-studded squad will try to extend their impressive
run in South Beach with tonight's showdown versus the improved Phoenix Suns.

Miami has reeled off 13 consecutive victories at AmericanAirlines Arena and
improved to an NBA-best 19-2 as the host with Sunday's 91-81 triumph over the
Southeast Division-rival Orlando Magic. Dwyane Wade led the way with 14 of his
game-best 31 points in the fourth quarter and Chris Bosh tallied 23 points and
seven rebounds for the Heat, who have won two in a row overall and five of
their last seven games.

Phoenix has turned up the heat lately with four straight wins and 11 over the
last 14 games, and will begin a four-game road trip tonight against Miami,
Orlando, Indiana and Cleveland. It is 8-12 as the guest this season.

The Suns recorded their third straight win in the desert with Sunday's 99-86
decision versus the Houston Rockets, as Michael Redd poured in 25 points on 10
of 13 shooting from the bench and Marcin Gortat added 15 points and 10
rebounds for Phoenix, which shot 47.1 percent for the game and moved over the
.500 mark for the first time.


TORONTO RAPTORS (15-30) AT NEW YORK KNICKS (21-24), 7:30 P.M.

It's been so far, so good for the New York Knicks under
interim head coach Mike Woodson, and the team will try to make it four
straight wins for the new bench boss tonight versus the Toronto Raptors at
Madison Square Garden.

Woodson took over the team when Mike D'Antoni stepped down from the post and
the Knicks have responded with three straight wins, including a home-and-home
sweep of the pesky Indiana Pacers. In Saturday's 102-88 victory at Indiana,
Jeremy Lin scored a team-high 19 points and both Carmelo Anthony and Amare
Stoudemire netted 16 for the Knicks, who suffered through a six-game losing
streak before Woodson took over.

The Raptors will close out a five-game road trip (2-2) Tuesday and has lost
five of their last seven games overall. They suffered a 107-103 setback to the
lowly Charlotte Bobcats on Saturday, as Jerryd Bayless paced the Raptors with
29 points to go with six assists and DeMar DeRozan added 20 points.


LOS ANGELES LAKERS (28-17) AT HOUSTON ROCKETS (24-22), 8 P.M.

Kobe Bryant will try to regain his shooting touch when he
leads the Los Angeles Lakers on a tour through Texas, starting with tonight's
matchup with the Houston Rockets at the Toyota Center.

Bryant shot just 3-for-20 from the floor for 15 points in Sunday's 103-99 loss
to the Utah Jazz.

It was one of Bryant's worst shooting performances and he went 2-for-16 for 11
points in a loss to the Grizzlies on Dec. 20, 2004.

Houston hopes Bryant stays off his game for the foreseeable future when it
begins a four-game homestand tonight versus the Lakers, Warriors, Mavericks
and Kings. It is 16-6 at home this season (8-16 on the road).

The Rockets have dropped two in a row and eight of 11 games, including
Sunday's 99-86 loss at Phoenix in the conclusion of a quick road trip. Luis
Scola scored 18 points and Goran Dragic added 16 for Houston, which is just a
half-game ahead of the Suns and Jazz for the final postseason spot in the
Western Conference.

OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER (34-11) AT UTAH JAZZ (23-22), 9 P.M.

Inconsistent is not an adjective often used to describe the
Oklahoma City Thunder until now.

The Western Conference-leading Thunder will try to get back to their steady
ways of winning when they pay a visit to the Utah Jazz tonight. The Thunder
have alternated wins and losses over their previous seven games, and posted a
111-95 win versus Portland on Sunday in the OKC. Russell Westbrook and Kevin
Durant scored 28 and 26 points, respectively, and James Harden added 14 off
the bench for the Northwest Division-leading Thunder.

Utah has climbed back over the .500 mark, and has won three in a row and eight
of its last 12 games. It kept the winning streak intact Sunday with a 103-99
victory against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center thanks to Paul
Millsap's 24 points.


MILWAUKEE BUCKS (20-24) AT PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS (21-24), 10 P.M.

The red-hot Milwaukee Bucks take their playoff push to Rip
City on Tuesday to battle Kaleb Canales and the Portland Trail Blazers.

The Bucks, who are one-half game behind New York for the eighth and final
playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, won their fifth straight contest in
Oakland last Friday when Monta Ellis scored 18 points against his former team,
leading Milwaukee to a 120-98 rout of the Golden State Warriors.

Ellis, who came over from Golden State in a five-player trade last week, was
on the court for almost 39 minutes in his Bucks debut, adding four rebounds,
four assists and three steals.

Portland lost for the first time under interim coach Canales, who replaced
Nate McMillan last week, by dropping a 111-95 decision in Oklahoma City on
Sunday.

Jamal Crawford paced the Blazers with 23 points. Raymond Felton had 19, Wesley
Matthews netted 16 and LaMarcus Aldridge chipped in 15 and six rebounds for
Portland, which had defeated the Bulls last Friday in Canales' debut.

Things were much different in OKC and the Western Conference-leading Thunder
led from start to finish.


MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES (25-18) AT SACRAMENTO KINGS (16-29), 10 P.M.

The playoff-hopeful Memphis Grizzlies will start a key
four-game road trip in Sacramento on Tuesday.

The Grizzlies, who will also visit Portland, the LA Clippers and the LA Lakers
on their trek, are currently the fifth seed in the Western Conference and will
be aiming to improve on their 9-11 mark as the visitor on the season.

Memphis halted a two-game slide on Sunday, bouncing back from two straight
overtime losses to salvage the finale of a three-game homestand by topping the
lowly Washington Wizards, 97-92.

Rudy Gay scored a season-high 27 points and pulled down nine rebounds against
the Wizards. Mike Conley tallied 17 points and handed out six assists, while
Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph grabbed nine boards apiece and scored 15 and 13
points, respectively.

Marcus Thornton scored 24 points and Isaiah Thomas had 18 in that one for
Sacramento, which will finish the lengthy homestand with a game against Utah
on Thursday.

John Salmons added 15 points, Jason Thompson scored 13 with 10 rebounds and
Charles Hayes and Donte Green combined for 23 points off the bench in a game
Sacramento led by as many as 20.

The lopsided win came on the heels of a 120-95 victory over Boston on Friday,
which had followed three straight losses in which the Kings gave up at least
106 points in each game.

Sacramento coach Keith Smart, asked what the difference was between the games,
said his team had been distracted leading up to the trade deadline by factors
like wondering if their friends would be dealt -- and also, by the rain.


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