Tuesday night in the NBA included LeBron James dropping 25 points and 17 assists as the Cavaliers cruised to victory. Joel Embiid dominated the Timberwolves with 28 points and 12 rebounds after missing the two previous games, while the Pistons lost their seventh straight. The Wednesday night matchups on the NBA slate feature Paul George returning to his old stomping ground, and Giannis Antetokounmpo battling DeMarcus Cousins.

NBA Wednesday marquee matchups

Thunder (12-14) vs. Pacers (16-11)

Former Pacers star Paul George comes back to Indiana with a new uniform and a worse team.

Oklahoma City remains last in the Northwest Division. The Thunder have gotten beat in two of their three previous games and need to turn things around soon.

The Pacers' new star Victor Oladipo (one of the players George was traded for) is on the cusp of an All-Star berth, averaging 24.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 4.0 assists. Indiana has won four games in a row and is in fifth place in the Eastern Conference.

Bucks (15-10) vs. Pelicans (14-14)

The Bucks have won six of their last seven games to move into fourth in the Eastern Conference. Giannis Antetokounmpo continues to make his MVP case. Over his last five games, he’s averaging 32.4 points on 54.2% shooting and hauling down 11.4 rebounds.

The Pelicans got into a track meet against the Rockets on Monday (Dec. 11), which is a recipe for defeat.

Despite Jrue Holiday and E’Twaun Moore combining for 73 points, Houston came back in the fourth quarter to beat New Orleans 130-123. Anthony Davis has been battling injuries recently, but expected to play against Milwaukee.

Nuggets (15-12) vs. Celtics (23-6)

Denver has been extremely average over their past 14 games, winning seven and losing seven.

They remain fifth in the Western Conference despite an injured front court (Paul Milsap and Nikola Jokic).

The Celtics may have lost the most shocking game of the NBA season on Monday (Dec. 11). Boston, the top team in the Eastern Conference, lost to the lowly Chicago Bulls, one of the worst teams in the league. The Celtics were playing without Kyrie Irving, but it was still a surprise upset.

The other NBA matchups

Trail Blazers (13-13) vs. Heat (13-13)

Damian Lillard has been on fire of late. Lillard has scored at least 30 points in each of his last three games, but the problem is that Portland has lost five straight games heading into this matchup against Miami.

The Heat have clawed their way to sit on the cusp of a playoff spot. They’ve won their last two games versus the Nets and Grizzlies, and Miami held those teams to 89 and 82 points, but neither are exactly offensive juggernauts.

Jazz (13-14) vs. Bulls (6-20)

After reeling off six wins to get back in the playoff picture, the Jazz have dropped their last three. Rookie Donovan Mitchell has been sensational all season, but struggled recently against the Bucks.

He shot just 4-17, scoring just 12 points.

Somebody stop the Bulls! After winning three games all season, Chicago has won three straight since Nikola Mirotic returned from injury. In last two games, Mirotic is averaging 21.5 points and 5.5 rebounds.

Hornets (10-16) vs. Houston (21-4)

The Hornets defeated the Thunder on Monday (Dec. 11), but have still lost seven of their last nine. If Charlotte is going to turn things around, they need Dwight Howard to continue to play at a high level. Over his last five games, Howard is averaging 19 points and 11 rebounds.

James Harden has been on a tear all season. Despite incredible stats from LeBron James, Harden has an edge on him in the MVP race, in part because the Rockets have the best record in the league.

Harden is averaging 32.0 points and 9.5 assists.

Raptors (17-8) vs. Suns (9-20)

After winning six straight, the Raptors lost a close one to the Clippers on Monday (Dec. 11). This Phoenix game caps off a four-game road trip before they get some home cooking against Brooklyn and Philadelphia.

The Suns lost a very winnable game versus the Kings on Tuesday (Dec. 12). With Devin Booker out with an injury, TJ Warren is their only consistent offensive threat. He's averaging 20.2 points over his last five games on 46.7% shooting.

Grizzlies (9-19) vs. Wizards (14-13)

If the Grizzlies weren’t able to pull out a win over the Timberwolves on December 5th, they would be on a 16-game losing streak. Other than point guard Mike Conley returning from injury, there is no magical formula to turn things around.

All Memphis can do is keep playing hard and hope to knock down shots in the fourth quarter.

The Wizards are coming off two close losses to the Clippers and Nets to finish their road trip 2-3. All-Star John Wall has missed nine games, but may make his return against the Grizzlies. Washington has gone 4-5 without him, but he'll be an obvious boost moving forward.

Clippers (10-15) vs. Magic (11-17)

The Clippers have come back to win two games in a row, which, after losing Blake Griffin, didn’t seem possible. Lou Williams has stepped up offensively, averaging 23.2 points and 7.4 assists over his last five games.

The Magic's expectations were low to start the season, but after beginning the year 5-3, there was some hope in Orlando. However, a nine-game losing streak put that optimism to bed, as the Magic have dropped to the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings.