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Trail Blazers Midseason Report, Starring Lamarcus Aldridge As Mvp, Damian Lillard As Silent Assassin

For years, hes vowed to be more of a playmaker, more of a facilitator and more of a scorer. Well, hes proving himself prophetic this season. Matthews is averaging career highs in scoring (16.6 points per game), rebounding (4.1), three-point shooting (42 percent) and field-goal shooting (48 percent). Hes hit big shots, played tough defense and been a major presence in the locker room, where his leadership and work ethic continue to stand out.

Pacers, Blazers dominating in very different ways

But the two do share some common ground once you look closer. Indiana and Portland both feature 23-year-old stars who are continuing to improve in Paul George and Damian Lillard . They both have All-Star big men in Roy Hibbert and LaMarcus Aldridge . They both have veteran leaders making understated contributions in David West and Wes Matthews. And in the case of the rich getting richer, they both have added talented players recently to an already loaded mix, with veteran forward Danny Granger rejoining the Pacers and rookie guard CJ McCollum debuting for the Blazers. There's a reason why Indiana and Portland are 1-2 in this week's NBA Power Rankings: They dominate their craft.

NBA schedule: Blazers visit OKC in battle of toko jaket jepang online keren West's elite

Indiana now has a 4.5-game lead in the standings. The Celtics always seem to play the Heat hard, as evidenced by their 111-110 win in Miami in early November. Remember Jeff Green's buzzer-beater? It's always worth watching these two teams battle, even if Boston isn't what it once was.

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