Friday's NBA schedule is highlighted by a matchup of the league's two hottest teams in Houston and a tough test for the league's longest winning streak.
Indiana's three-game run has moved the Pacers into the Central Division lead. Phoenix is just 2-11 on the road this season.
Orlando has lost three straight. Washington's in danger of doing that three times in a row.
After a sluggish start, Miami is rounding into championship form and looking for a seventh consecutive win. Detroit managed to overcome a 19-point fourth quarter deficit against Atlanta Wednesday, only to lose in overtime.
After a 5-23 start, Cleveland has won its last two games. Atlanta's getting 17.0 points and 2.1 blocks per game from Josh Smith, and remains only three games behind Miami in the Southeast Division.
Brooklyn's newly-minted intrerim coach, P.J. Carlesimo, makes his debut against one of the league's worst teams. After a shocking 7-5 start, Charlotte has lost 16 straight games.
Toronto is just 2-15 on the road so far this season. New Orleans is 6-22 and being outscored by 6.2 points per game.
Arguably the game of the night: San Antonio takes a three-game winning streak and first place spot in the Southwest Division to Houston, where James Harden and company have won five in a row. Houston leads the league in scoring (105.3 ppg), followed closely by San Antonio (104.9 ppg).
Dallas has to recover quickly from an overtime loss to Oklahoma City Thursday night, its fourth straight defeat. Denver has struggled on the road, going just 7-13 so far this season.
The Clippers have won their last fourteen games, building a 3.5-game lead over Golden State in the Pacific Division, while the Jazz are 9-3 at home. Something has to give.
Sacramento is 9-19 on the season, but is a surprisingly good 8-7 at home. New York is just 3-3 in their last six games, and has gone just 3-4 in road games against Western Conference opponents.
After a fast start, the Sixers have faded in December, going just 4-9. Golden State has gone just 3-2 since returning from a highly-successful Eastern Conference road swing earlier this month.
Trail Blazers at Lakers, 10:30 p.m. ET, KGW Portland
The Lakers offense has rebounded since a slow start, averaging 102.9 points per game. It has not yet translated to consistent winning, as LA's five-game winning streak was broken at Denver Wednesday. Portland had their own five-game streak snapped Sunday against Sacramento.