National Sports

Conference leaders clash in Memphis…76ers look to end season-opening skid

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(AP) — The NBA’s two conference leaders square off tonight in Toronto as the Raptors host the Memphis Grizzlies.

The Raptors top the East at 8-2 after winning the Atlantic Division title last season. Toronto has gone 4-1 in the first five games of a seven-game homestand, including a 111-93 rout of Utah in the Raptors’ last contest on Saturday. DeMar DeRozan is the Raptors’ top scorer, averaging 21.2 points a game this season.

The Grizzlies are the best in the West at 10-1 and come off Monday’s convincing 119-93 rout of the 9-2 Houston Rockets. Memphis has won four straight since a one-point loss at Milwaukee on Nov. 8. Marc Gasol (gah-SAHL’) is averaging 17.6 points and 7.4 rebounds a game for the Grizzlies, while Zach Randolph is contributing 16.5 points and 11.2 boards per night.

Will this be the night the Philadelphia 76ers finally win a game?

The Sixers are the NBA’s only winless team at 0-10 and come off Monday’s 100-75 loss to San Antonio. That game was a nail-biter compared to their 53-point loss in Dallas last Thursday.

The good news for the 76ers is that the Boston Celtics haul a 3-6 record into Philadelphia for tonight’s game. The Celtics have dropped three straight since a five-point win at Chicago on Nov. 8.

This is the first meeting between the two teams this season. Philly took three of four from Boston last season on its way to a 19-63 campaign.

Also in the NBA tonight:

— Dallas takes on the 7-2 Wizards in Washington. The Mavericks carry an 8-3 record and a four-game winning streak into Verizon Centre.

— San Antonio visits Cleveland in the Spurs’ first meeting against LeBron James since last season’s NBA Finals.

— Houston puts its 9-2 record on the line against the visiting Los Angeles Lakers, who are at the bottom of the Western Conference at 2-9 despite last night’s victory in Atlanta.

— Orlando hosts the 5-4 Los Angeles Clippers, who have alternated losses and wins since opening the season 2-0.

— Indiana entertains Charlotte in a matchup of 4-7 teams.

— Phoenix is at Detroit, Brooklyn entertains Milwaukee, New York visits Minnesota and Denver hosts Oklahoma.


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