Thanks largely to Blake Griffin, the Pacific Division-leading Los Angeles Clippers are enjoying their longest winning streak of the season.
The second-place Golden State Warriors have put together an impressive run of their own.
Both teams try to keep their runs going as Los Angeles and visiting Golden State close their season series Wednesday night.
The Clippers (45-20) have won eight in a row while averaging 115.5 points and continued their surge Monday by beating Phoenix 112-105 behind 37 points from Griffin.
"He is one of those players that you can’t stop," teammate Danny Granger told the Clippers’ official website. "He had a jump shot going on tonight, and a lot of times he just bullies people. Push them under the rim and lay the ball up or dunk it. That makes some people mad, when you have a force like him."
Griffin, who had 22 points in the first quarter, shot 14 of 16. The four-time All-Star has scored at least 20 in a career-high 23 straight games, a stretch over which he is averaging 27.8.
"Blake has been doing it all year long, dominating all year long, he’s being consistent," guard Darren Collison said. "I think we’re used to it which is a good thing. … He’s just reading the defense, if they’re pressing on him, he’s using his strength. If they’re playing off him, he’s taking that shot. He’s playing with a lot of confidence right now."
Griffin will try to keep rolling against the Warriors (41-24), who have won five straight after easily getting by Dallas 108-85 on Tuesday. Jordan Crawford came off the bench to lead five Warriors in double figures with 19 points, and Golden State shot 51.3 percent while holding the Mavericks to 36.6 percent.
The Warriors are four games behind Los Angeles in the division and sit three games ahead of Dallas and Memphis for sixth place in the Western Conference.
"It’s a big-time win for us," coach Mark Jackson said. ”If you lose this game, then all of the sudden there’s three teams again within striking distance. I think this gave us some breathing room, especially with the fact that we have a big game (Wednesday) night against a red-hot Clippers team."
Golden State’s last four wins have come by an average of 15.7 points.
"It’s fun," Crawford said. "To be on a streak like this heading into the playoffs and to move up the standings, it brings the competitive spirit out in everybody."
While the Warriors have thrived of late, leading scorer Stephen Curry (23.3 points per game) has been relatively quiet while playing through a quadriceps injury. He has gone 6 of 23 from 3-point range while averaging 14.8 points during the winning streak.
Curry has shot 28 of 45 (62.2 percent) from long distance and put up 24.0 points per game in his last six against the Clippers.
The Warriors have taken seven of 10 in the series but are 2-6 in their last eight visits to Los Angeles. The Clippers won 126-115 in the last matchup at Staples Center on Oct. 31 as Chris Paul led the way with 42 points and 15 assists while Curry scored 38.
Clippers guard Jamal Crawford, second on the team with 18.7 points per game, is uncertain to be available after missing four of the last five games with a strained left calf.