Friday marks a great slew of games that shouldn't disappoint, including two national games on ESPN. There will be plenty of meaty, marbled action as some of the top teams in the Western Conference square off against one another as everyone is hungry for homecourt advantage in the playoffs. Let's dig in.
Appetizer: Los Angeles Clippers vs. New York Knicks
7:00 p.m ET (ESPN)
The Knicks have started to right their sinking ship since the beginning of the year and are challenging for a playoff spot in the Eastern conference as we approach All-Star Weekend. It is likely the Knicks will be short-handed against L.A. as both Kenyon Martin and Amare Stoudemire were injured in Thursday night's loss to the Indiana Pacers.
The Clippers continue to play well despite the absence of Chris Paul, who likely won't return until sometime in the middle of February. The return of guard J.J. Redick has been crucial, and on Friday, the Duke product poured in a career-high 33 points. The Clippers are battling for homecourt advantage in the West and will have a hard time against the Knicks, who have won their last three games at home.
Main Course: Portland Trail Blazers vs. San Antonio Spurs
8:30 p.m. ET (League Pass)
Portland is starting a tough four-game roadtrip in which the team will be battling the Spurs, Rockets, Mavericks and Thunder in a span of five days. The Blazers are finding their legs after dropping games to the 76ers and Kings earlier in the month, and Friday night's matchup will be a big test for them as they try to clinch home-court advantage in the playoffs.
San Antonio will be looking to extend its six-game winning streak in the absence of Danny Green, who is out for a month with a broken hand. The Spurs have seen Tony Parker increase his production in Green's absence on the offensive end of the floor, and he will be a handful for Blazer defenders.
Dessert: Golden State Warriors vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
9:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Oklahoma City hosts the Warriors on Friday night and needs a crucial conference win. Without Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City's offense has relied on Kevin Durant to a fault. Although his scoring is up, his field goal attempts have in kind and the Thunder efficiency has suffered.
Meanwhile, Golden State is 5-2 in the month of January and is one of the hottest teams in the NBA. The Warriors are 12-3 since Andre Iguodala returned to the lineup on Dec. 17 and they are making a strong push to crack the top-four in the Western Conference playoff race. Getting a win against the Thunder would be a big step for the rising Warriors.
The rest of the games:
Kings vs. Grizzlies, 8:00 p.m. ET
Mavericks vs. Suns, 9:00 p.m. ET