The NBA's Christmas benchmark remains three weeks away yet two of the better teams from each conference will get a chance to see how they measure up when standing side by side.
The Eastern Conference-leading Milwaukee Bucks will bring a 13-game winning streak into a home matchup Friday against the Los Angeles Clippers, who reside in second place in the West. The Clippers have nine victories in their last 10 games.
Christmas typically is the season's unofficial starting line when teams can begin digging in their heels for the four-month grind toward the regular-season finish line. The Bucks and Clippers are fairly certain of their regular-season destiny. They are expected to be title contenders when the playoffs arrive.