The only other Western Conference game outside of the Warriors' loss at Chicago saw the Nuggets rallying to beat the Lakers in Denver, 118-112. The Nuggets (5-4) rode an 11-0 run late in the game and outscored the Lakers 33-19 in the 4th quarter to hand the Lakeshow (8-1) their first loss of the season. Leading the way for Denver was Carmelo Anthony, who double-doubled with 32 points and 13 rebounds. Kobe scored a season-high 34 to lead the Lakers, while Shannon Brown chipped in 19 off the bench. Pau Gasol had an off shooting night (6-for-17 from the field) but pulled down 20 boards.
Check back here Saturday for the latest edition of Mapping the Western Conference after the Warriors wrap up their road trip at Milwaukee. Friday's games featuring Western Conference teams:
Utah (5-3) @ Atlanta (6-3). Will the Jazz put together their 4th big rally in a row, this time in A-Town? ATL F/perennial tease Marvin Williams remains out with a bone bruise in his right knee.
New York (3-5) @ Minnesota (2-7). The T-Wolves try to string together consecutive wins against a Knicks team that has lost 3 in a row. MIN F/perennial tease Michael Beasley, fresh off a career-high 42 point night, tries to prove to fantasy owners that THIS will be his breakout season.
Sacramento (3-4) @ Phoenix (3-4). The Kings bring a 3-game skid into US Airways Center, a building in which they have won only once in their past 10 contests with the Suns. (Their last win @ PHO was Nov. 6, 2005). The Suns, meanwhile, are still trying to figure things out in the post-Amare era. Channing Frye is following up last season's breakout campaign with 4.9 points per, while Robin Lopez is averaging just 5.7.
Detroit (2-6) @ LA Clippers (1-8). No BD, no Kaman, no Eric Gordon... no problem? The Clips' rookie trifecta of Blake Griffin, Al-Farouq Aminu, and Eric Bledsoe will attempt to put the franchise on their collective back and end their 4-game losing streak against an aging Pistons team that got handled 100-78 @ Portland on Tuesday.
Houston (1-6) @ Indiana (3-3). Indiana somehow made its first 20 shots in the 3rd quarter of its last game. Yao is out a week with a left ankle sprain. Aaron Brooks is out for a bit longer. I don't expect Houston to earn their first road victory of 2010-11 on Friday.
Philadelphia (2-6) @ Dallas (5-2). Dallas looks for their 3rd win in a row while Caron Butler (back spasms) attempts to make it back out on the floor. The 76ers' Andre Iguodala is also questionable, while Louis Williams suffered a separated AC joint in Wednesday's game. I'm looking for Jrue Holiday, who is averaging 21.7 ppg over his last 3, to step up again.
Portland (6-3) @ Oklahoma City (4-3). Perhaps the most intriguing matchup of the night, Portland visits the Thunder having beaten them in their last 3 matchups in Oklahoma City. Trailblazers leading scorer Brandon Roy might be hurting again after experiencing some swelling in his twice-surgically repaired left knee. I don't expect Kevin Durant or Russell Westbrook to take it easy on Roy.
At the end of Thursday night, here's what Mapping the Western Conference looks like: