Surprise package in the Western Conference continue winning ways.
With the top NBA teams all expected to make quick starts to the regular season this year, the Portland Trail Blazers were arguably not included in that group tipped for initial success.
However, with the likes of Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge leading the charge, the Blazers made it seven consecutive wins on Monday night following their 108-98 triumph over the Brooklyn Nets.
Their latest win moves them to 9-2 for the season, and trailing only the San Antonio Spurs at the top of the Western Conference with Wesley Matthews scoring a game-high 24 points at the Barclays Center.
In contrast, it was Brooklyn’s seventh defeat of the season, and the early pressure continues to mount on Jason Kidd and his superstar line-up.
Injuries robbed the rookie coach of the services of Deron Williams and Brook Lopez, but despite Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce returning to the line-up they were unable to end their disappointing start to the season.
Meanwhile, there were no such problems for the Chicago Bulls who made it five straight wins of their own and extended their unbeaten run at home.
Luol Deng had a game-high 21 points, while Carlos Boozer chipped in with a double-double of 12 points and 17 rebounds.
All five of the Bulls starters were able to get into double figures, with Derrick Rose going 4-of-13 from the field on his way to 12 points.
Over in the Western Conference, the Los Angeles Clippers fell to a disappointing 106-102 home defeat at the hands of the Memphis Grizzlies.
Zach Randolph appears to be getting into his rhythm as he had another successful night with 26 points and 15 rebounds, while Marc Gasol helped him win the battle of the bigs with 23 points as the visitors outscored their opponents 42-36 inside the paint.
Blake Griffin had 23 points while Chris Paul added 18, but Clippers coach Doc Rivers will be frustrated with the 11 turnovers which directly resulted in 14 points.
Elsewhere, the Golden State Warriors continued their fine start to the season with a 98-87 win over the Utah Jazz, while the Oklahoma City Thunder won their fourth straight home game with a closely fought 115-113 win over the Denver Nuggets, with Kevin Durant dropping 38 points on their rivals.
Portland Trail Blazers 108-98 Brooklyn Nets
Charlotte Bobcats 81-86 Chicago Bulls
Denver Nuggets 113-115 Oklahoma City Thunder
Philadelphia 76ers 94-97 Dallas Mavericks
Golden State Warriors 98-87 Utah Jazz
Memphis Grizzlies 106-102 Los Angeles Clippers