The Houston Rockets halted a four-game slide and look to record a signature victory when they visit the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night. Houston ended its season-worst-matching skid with a 117-111 home win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday while the Lakers are coming off a 104-102 home loss to the Brooklyn Nets from the same night.
The Golden State Warriors and the Brooklyn Nets will become the first teams to play in an NBA arena without fans on Thursday following an order from the San Francisco Health Office that prohibited gatherings of more than 1,000 people due to concerns about the spread of the coronavirus. The Nets will visit the empty Chase Center looking for their fourth straight victory after a thrilling triumph over the Lakers on Tuesday.
The Portland Trail Blazers are trying to chase down Memphis in the playoff race and get a chance to make up some ground when they host the Grizzlies on Thursday. The Trail Blazers are eight games below .500 with only 16 games remaining and trail eighth-place Memphis by 3 1/2 games for the final Western Conference playoff spot.
The Arizona Coyotes sit four points out of a Western Conference wild card spot and open a crucial five-game homestand Thursday against the owners of one of those spots entering Wednesday, the Vancouver Canucks. Arizona will play eight of its remaining 12 contests at home, where it has an 8-2-3 record since the beginning of January, and will have to make up for the 3-11-1 road mark its produced during the same period.
The Calgary Flames are trying to hold onto third place in the Pacific Division while the New York Islanders find themselves on the outside looking in following the team's longest losing streak in two years. The Islanders will look to avoid an eighth consecutive defeat when they continue their four-game road trip with a visit to Calgary on Thursday night.
The Dallas Stars have gone from contending for a Central Division title to fighting for their playoff lives with a six-game losing streak and look to begin changing course Thursday night against the visiting Florida Panthers. The Stars fell to 0-4-2 during their streak with Tuesdayâ€™s 4-2 home loss to the New York Rangers and scored just three goals in the past four games.
Reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo is a questionable participant due to his left knee injury when the Milwaukee Bucks host the Boston Celtics on Thursday. Antetokounmpo, who returned to practice on Wednesday, suffered the injury in Friday's loss to the Los Angeles Lakers and the NBA-best Bucks dropped their first two games without him.
The Minnesota Wild sit just outside playoff position in the Western Conference but a difficult three-game stretch - beginning Thursday against the visiting Vegas Golden Knights - could make it tough to break through. An 8-3-0 run has elevated Minnesota to within one point of a wild-card spot in the West, but games against first-place Vegas along with playoff-positioned Philadelphia and Nashville will add to the challenge.
The Philadelphia Flyers resume their quest for a Metropolitan Division title Thursday night when they visit the Tampa Bay Lightning after seeing their nine-game winning streak come to an end last time out. The Flyers have crept within one point of first-place Washington in the Metro, but could not solve Boston goalie Tuukka Rask despite 36 shots in a 2-0 setback against the Bruins at home Tuesday.
The Orlando Magic found themselves on the final three games of a four-game trip and come home feeling good about the way the team is playing heading down the stretch. The Magic will try to push their winning streak to four in a row when they open a two-game homestand by hosting the Chicago Bulls on Thursday.
Even a night when they honored a franchise icon was not enough to end the home woes of the Montreal Canadiens, who will miss the playoffs for a third straight season barring a miraculous finish. Coming off a third consecutive defeat, the sputtering Canadiens take aim at their first regulation home win in more than a month against the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday night.
While the Washington Capitals are comfortably in playoff position, they are in a dogfight for first place in the Metropolitan Division following a stretch of pedestrian hockey dating to the All-Star break. Holding a one-point edge over Philadelphia atop the division, the Capitals will kick off a three-game homestand on Thursday against the league-worst Detroit Red Wings.
Justin Williams is performing swimmingly for the Carolina Hurricanes after taking a bit of time getting his feet wet since returning from retirement. The 38-year-old Williams looks to extend his five-game goal-scoring streak on Thursday when the Hurricanes conclude a six-game trek against the New Jersey Devils.
The Columbus Blue Jackets' home game against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday will be the first major league sporting event in North America to be played without fans due to the coronavirus outbreak. The Blue Jackets' decision comes on the heels of Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine declaring that he will issue an order banning spectators from games in the state.
The Toronto Maple Leafs put a halt their three-game winless skid (0-2-1) in their last outing, but the victory did little to stop the questions about their lackluster offense. The Maple Leafs continue their quest to find those answers on Thursday when they host the Nashville Predators.
Colorado went from Pac-12 title contender to sixth place, courtesy of a four-game losing streak to wrap up the regular season. The Buffaloes will try to regain their form in the conference tournament, beginning with Wednesday nightâ€™s first-round clash with 11th-seeded Washington State at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
The New Orleans Pelicans are receiving more attention as they make a run at the No. 8 spot in the Western Conference due to the hype surrounding rookie forward Zion Williamson, but the Sacramento Kings have just as good a shot at jumping up and grabbing a postseason berth. The two teams will square off Wednesday when the Kings host Williamson and the Pelicans.
The Los Angeles Kings sit in last place in the Western Conference standings but will put their league-best six-game win streak on the line Wednesday against the visiting Ottawa Senators. The Kings won the first three contests of a rare nine-game homestand and have outscored their opponents at Staples Center 90-85 this season, while being outscored 122-84 away from home.
The Colorado Avalanche have encountered a swarm of injury bugs this season and may have absorbed their biggest bite yet in the form of Nathan MacKinnon. The Hart Trophy contender sustained a lower-body injury Monday and could miss his first game of the season when Colorado - already without six key contributors - hosts the New York Rangers on Wednesday.
The St. Louis Blues have cooled off with losses in two of three after enjoying an eight-game winning streak and look to start moving forward again when they visit the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday night. The Blues lost at New Jersey on Friday before blanking Chicago 2-0 and could not get the job done Monday in a 2-1 loss at home against Florida to remain two points up on second-place Colorado in the Central Division.