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The Trail Blazers got 21 points from Wesley Matthews in topping Memphis to maintain a half-game lead over Minnesota for second place in the Northwest division. Denver is tied with the Timberwolves, eight games behind division leader Oklahoma City.
The Timberwolves were idle Friday, coming off a 101-97 win over Denver Jan. 3. They maintained ground on Portland, who escaped with an 86-84 win over Memphis in the Northwest division.
The Wolves and Blazers square off Satruday at 7 p.m. CT from Target Center in Minneapolis. The game will help clear the logjam among the followers of Oklahoma City in the Northwest. The Nuggets and Blazers trail by eight games, tied for second, with Minnesota trailing them by a half-game. Utah is in last, just one game behind Denver and Portland.
The Jazz defeated Phoenix 87-80 Friday, and have won two in a row, including a 106-84 thrashing of the Timberwolves Jan. 2.
The division-leading Thunder rebounded from a loss to crush Philadelphia 109-85 Friday. It was their fourth win in their past five games, having fallen to Brooklyn 110-93 Jan. 2.