Western Powers Collide 12/26/13
UNDATED - A pair of Western Conference division leaders meet up tonight as part of a four-game post-Christmas NBA schedule tonight.
Portland puts its high-scoring offense on display at home against the Los Angeles Clippers. The Trail Blazers are one of the surprise teams of the early portion of the season with a 23-5 mark that matches the best record in the league. Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge head up an offense that has scored 105 or more points in 13 consecutive games. Portland leads the league in 3-point shooting and is third in attempts. The Pacific Division-leading Clippers are 20-10 but are smarting after a testy home loss to Golden State last night that saw star Blake Griffin ejected with nearly 11 minutes to go after a second technical foul.
San Antonio will try to get back on track at Dallas tonight, after dropping a home decision to Houston last night. Despite the defeat, the Spurs are still tops in the Southwest Division by 3 1/2 over the Rockets and 5 1/2 over the third-place Mavericks.
The Rockets have looked inside this season with Dwight Howard manning the post. Memphis can expect plenty of that tonight when they visit Houston. The Rockets have scored 60 or more points in the paint in each of their last three games. The Grizzlies have won two in a row for the first time in more than a month. Memphis has been struggling after losing big man Marc Gasol to a sprained ligament in his left knee Nov. 22. The league's reigning defensive player of the year was averaging 16 points and 7.1 rebounds per game. Since Gasol's injury Memphis is 5-10.
Atlanta at Cleveland is the other game on the schedule.