The NBA holiday schedule starts Friday with the Mavericks traveling to Memphis and facing the Southwest Division-leading Grizzlies. The game comes one night after a home contest against Miami and is part of a brutal four-game stretch against division leaders. Memphis leads the league in defense, allowing just 89.5 points per game, and have gone 11-2 at home this season.
Elsewhere, the Chicago Bulls visit Madison Square Garden to face the New York Knicks. Despite missing star point guard Derrick Rose, the Bulls have managed to take a one-game lead in the Central Division. Forward Luol Deng, who scored 22 in Chicago's 93-85 win over the Knicks on December 8, is leading the team with 17.7 points per game. After a late November slump, the Knicks have won 10 of their last 12 games, including a 100-86 victory over the rival Brooklyn Nets Wednesday.
On Saturday, as the Mavs enjoy a much-needed off day, James Harden and the Houston Rockets host the Grizzlies. Harden's 25.4 points per game ranks fourth in the league, and the contributions of Chandler Parsons (15.0 ppg) and Patrick Patterson (13.2 ppg) have made Houston the league's second-most prolific offensive team.
The afternoon matchup between the Mavericks and San Antonio Spurs highlights the Sunday schedule. San Antonio is tied with Memphis atop the Southwest Division at 19-8, and their balanced scoring attack ranks third in the NBA. Tony Parker leads the Spurs in scoring (18.8 ppg) and assists (7.3 apg) with seven Spurs averaging more than nine points per game.
The full NBA schedule is available at Sports Illustrated.