NBA Preview 1/2/13
There are 12 games on today's NBA schedule, and the league is saving the best for last.
The Los Angeles Clippers head back onto the court less than 24 hours after their team-record 17-game winning streak ended in Denver. The loss dropped them into a virtual tie for the NBA's best record, percentage points behind the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Clippers hadn't lost since a 105-98 setback on Nov. 26 against the Hornets, who own the league's third-worst record. L.A. is 25-7 overall and 11-4 on the road.
The Clippers have just one player among the NBA's top 10 in scoring, rebounding or assists. Chris Paul is second in assists at over nine per game.
The Warriors own the fifth-best record in the Western Conference at 21-10 and are on a three-game winning streak. They've won 11 of their last 14, a streak that began with a 6-1 road trip last month.
Warriors forward David Lee is ninth in the league in scoring and tied for fifth in rebounds, while teammate Stephen Curry ranks 10th in scoring.
Another good matchup has the San Antonio Spurs visiting the Milwaukee Bucks. The Spurs have opened the season 25-8 and are chasing the Clippers and Thunder for the Western Conference lead. Spurs guard Tony Parker is among the league leaders in scoring and assists, averaging 19.3 points and 7.3 assists. The Bucks check in at 16-13, tying them for fifth in the East. Monta Ellis paces Milwaukee in scoring at 19.7 points a game.
The Thunder host the Brooklyn Nets, who won their first game under interim coach P.J. Carlesimo (kahr-LEH-sih-moh) before getting blowing out by the Spurs 104-73 on New Year's Eve. Oklahoma City has won three straight and is 24-6 overall, and 16-2 at home.
Memphis visits a Celtics team that limped back to Boston following three straight blowout losses on the West Coast. The Celtics' current 14-16 record includes a 9-5 mark at home. The Grizzlies begin the day 19-9.
Houston is 17-14 heading into its game against the 7-23 Hornets.
Indiana is fourth in the East at 18-13 as the Pacers prepare to tip off against visiting Washington. The Wizards have dropped two straight and are last in the East at 4-25.
Orlando hosts the Chicago Bulls, who come off an embarrassing loss to Charlotte that ended the Bobcats' 18-game losing streak. The Magic have dropped six in a row.
The Miami Heat will try to build on their East-leading 21-8 record when they host the Mavericks. Dallas ended a six-game skid with last night's win at Washington.
Utah hosts the Minnesota Timberwolves, who are 14-13 overall but just 5-9 on the road.
The rest of the schedule has Sacramento at Cleveland, Portland in Toronto and Phoenix hosting Philadelphia.