PORTLAND showed it is a genuine championship contender and LaMarcus Aldridge an MVP candidate on Wednesday while the NBA's return to Mexico proved to be a disaster.
There were seven matches in the NBA on Wednesday night with Cleveland beating Denver 98-88, Atlanta downing the LA Clippers 107-97, Phoenix downing Houston 97-88, Detroit beating Milwaukee 105-98, Dallas holding off New Orleans 100-97, Indiana beating Utah 95-86 and Portland beating Oklahoma City 111-104 in a battle of two of the best teams in the NBA.
It should have been eight games for the NBA, though, with the clash in Mexico City between the San Antonio Spurs and Minnesota Timberwolves forced to be cancelled after a generator malfunction in the build poured smoke into the arena that never sufficiently cleared.
It was to be the first NBA game in Mexico since Houston and Dallas played there in 1997, but the country will now miss out altogether this season with the match rescheduled for March and to be played as a T'Wolves home game in Minnesota.
Denver's impressive seven-match winning streak came to an end in Cleveland at the hands of the Cavaliers with the home side prevailing by 10 points.
Kyrie Irving top-scored for the Cavs with 23 points and four assists with power forward Tristan Thompson impressive with 17 points, 21 rebounds and three blocked shots.
Andrew Bynum also continued his resurgence with 14 points and seven boards with Anderson Varejao adding 18 points, 13 boards, three assists, three blocks and two steals off the bench.
Australian guard Matthew Dellavedova didn’t hit the floor after having recently started several games for Cleveland.
Randy Foye top-scored for the vanquished Nuggets with 16 points while JJ Hickson had 15, Nate Robinson 14 and Wilson Chandler 13.
The Hawks improved to a 500 record with a good win at home over the Clippers by 10 points with Paul Millsap leading the way for Atlanta with 25 points, nine rebounds, six assists and three blocks.
Kyle Korver hit a season-high 23 points and five assists while nailing 6-of-9 from three-point range to equal the all-time NBA record of hitting at least one triple in 89 consecutive matches.
Al Horford also added 21 points and nine boards, and DeMarre Carroll and Shelvin Mack 12 points apiece.
Blake Griffin top-scored for the Clippers with 24 points and seven rebounds with Chris Paul adding 19 points and 11 assists.
Phoenix then improved to a 10-9 record with a strong victory in Houston over the Rockets with Eric Bledsoe top-scoring with 20 points and seven assists.
Goran Dragic also had 19 points for the Suns, PJ Tucker 18 and Channing Frye 14.
Aaron Brooks had 17 points and six assists off the bench for Houston with Dwight Howard adding 14 points and 18 rebounds.
James Harden scored 14 points but shot a dismal 3-of-17 from the field and 0-of-10 from three-point territory.
Omri Casspi scored 14 points and had seven rebounds off the bench for a Houston team without Jeremy Lin, Ronnie Brewer and Chandler Parsons.
Detroit then backed up its win on the road against Miami on Tuesday with a solid seven-point victory in Milwaukee over the dismal Bucks by seven points on Wednesday.
Andre Drummond led the way with 24 points, 19 rebounds and three blocks for the Pistons with Greg Monroe adding 18 points, 17 rebounds and two blocks to form a fearsome big man duo.
Josh Smith also scored 17 points, Brandon Jennings 17 and Kyle Singler 17 for Detroit.
Ersan Ilyasova top-scored for the Bucks with 22 points and 10 rebounds with Khris Middleton adding 14 points, John Henson 12 and Brandon Knight 12 against his former team.
Dallas then improved to a 12-8 record with a three-point win over New Orleans on the road with Dirk Nowitzki top-scored again for the Mavs with 21 points, seven rebounds, four blocks, three assists and two steals.
Vince Carter added 15 points off the bench for the Mavericks with Monta Ellis scoring 14, Jose Calderon 12, DeJuan Blair 12 and Shawn Marion 10.
Jrue Holiday did all he could for the Pelicans with 26 points and nine assists with Ryan Anderson adding 18 points and 14 rebounds, Al-Farouq Aminu 16 and 20 boards, Eric Gordon 15 points and Jason Smith 12 points.
Indiana rebounded from just its second loss of the season on Tuesday to Portland by beating the Jazz by nine points in Utah on Wednesday.
Paul George again top-scored for the Pacers with 19 points while Lance Stephenson scored 15 points, Luis Scola 14, Roy Hibbert 13, David West 10 and George Hill 10.
Derrick Favors led the way for Utah with 22 points and 13 rebounds with Enes Kanter adding 20 points and 10 boards.
Portland then improved to a 16-3 record with a thrilling seven-point win over Oklahoma City at home on Wednesday on the back of some huge baskets down the stretch from LaMarcus Aldridge, and then a dagger open three-pointer from Nicolas Batum.
The Trail Blazers now hold the best record in the western conference, the second best in the NBA behind the Pacers, and it's the second best start in the franchise's history behind the 18-1 opening to the 1990/91 campaign.
Aldridge continued his remarkable individual start to the season that must have him in MVP contention so far with another 38 points, 13 rebounds and five assists on the back of 17-of-28 shooting from the field.
Batum also finished with 14 points for Portland, Damian Lillard 14, Wesley Matthews 13 and Robin Lopez 12 to go with 10 rebounds.
Kevin Durant did all he could for the Thunder with 33 points and seven rebounds with Russell Westbrook adding 21 points and five assists. Serge Ibaka had 13 points and 10 boards.
NBA Results Wednesday December 4
Denver Nuggets (11-7) 88 lost to Cleveland Cavaliers (6-12) 98
LA Clippers (12-7) 97 lost to Atlanta Hawks (10-10) 107
Phoenix Suns (10-9) 97 defeated Houston Rockets (13-7) 88
Detroit Pistons (9-10) 105 defeated Milwaukee Bucks (3-15) 98
Dallas Mavericks (12-8) 100 defeated New Orleans Pelicans (9-9) 97
Indiana Pacers (17-2) 95 defeated Utah Jazz (4-16) 86
Oklahoma City Thunder (13-4) 104 lost to Portland Trail Blazers (16-3) 111