Its New Years Day and Jack Armstrong is here with his first thoughts of 2015 on the high-flying Portland Trail Blazers, the Toronto Raptors current road trip, the return of Kevin Durant, Jared Dudleys impressive first year in Milwaukee and the injury to Al Jefferson. USWNT Jerseys 2020 . Greetings from San Francisco! I can think of a lot worse places to be, thats for sure. Happy New Year! My Best Wishes to each of you and I hope you have a wonderful 2015. FIVE QUICK NBA THOUGHTS: 1. PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS: Im really impressed. They have a very nice team and a big factor that jumps out at me is that they have four above-average perimeter defenders in Damian Lillard, Steve Blake, Nicholas Batum and Wesley Matthews. All do a solid job in making you earn everything you get. Not many teams in the league that have a perimeter corps that prides itself on being two-way players. This team is sound on both sides of the ball. 2. GREAT CHALLENGES FOR THE RAPTORS: It was a sensational game in Portland on Tuesday night between the #2 and #3 teams in the NBA in overall record. There was a terrific atmosphere and, even though Raps ran out of gas late, it once again proved to me that theyre growing as a team and are capable of playing with anyone. Another awesome test awaits on Friday against the top team in Association and the Golden State Warriors. I cant wait. These are the games that Raptors fans having been waiting to experience for years. Enjoy it - win or lose. Its all part of the journey of this team figuring out how to become a contender. Its not there yet, but this is what shapes and tests you for future improvement. There are many more ups and downs coming, but its nice to have true meaning each time game night arrives. 3. KEVIN DURANT (Thunder): A quiet night for Durant against the Suns on Wednesday with only 44 points, 10 boards and with seven assists. Eh, the guy is decent. The Thunder are only a game-and-a-half back from the final playoff spot in the West. If these guys stay healthy, watch out. Imagine being a top-three seed and having a sensational season and then being stuck having to play the Thunder as a bottom-three seed. Itll be fun to watch the elite Western teams in early April try to avoid a first-round match-up with these guys. Scary opponent. 4. JARED DUDLEY (Bucks): Ive always been a huge fan of his. Dudleys a no-frills, hard-working guy, who gets a lot out of his abilities. He does whatever you need to win. The Bucks second unit has been a huge plus this season and a big reason is his team-first approach. A winning player, Dudleys bounced back from a tough year and Im sure the Clippers miss him. 5. AL JEFFERSON (Hornets): What a nightmare season. Josh McRoberts bolts to Miami (and they miss him), Lance Stephenson has been a bust, chemistry has been shaky and now the big fella is going to miss some time with a groin injury. Jeffersons a force inside that you cant replace. Its a tough blow for Coach Steve Clifford, one of the talented young coaches in our game. Its been a brutal year for Charlotte after such a fun one last season. Winning, health and chemistry are a very fragile thing. USWNT Pro Shop . -- Jane Kish stopped all 25 shots she faced as the Weyburn Gold Wings blanked the Sudbury Lady Wolves 3-0 on Friday to advance to the gold-medal game at the Esso Cup. USWNT Gear .Y. - For once, Clayton Kershaw was glad to see a long shutout streak end.Oklahoma City, OK (SportsNetwork.com) - Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant combined to score 45 points with 13 assists to lead the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 103-94 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday. In what would have been a matchup of the last two NBA MVPs, Durant was the only one to play as Clevelands LeBron James sat out with left knee discomfort. Westbrook paced the Thunder with 26 points to go along with eight assists and Durants 19 points closed out their fourth straight win. Kyrie Irving had to pick up the offensive load with James on the bench, and he accounted for 20 points on 7-of-21 shooting. Kevin Love netted 18 points with 16 rebounds for the Cavs, who had their eight-game winning streak halted. Final Score: Houston 113, Sacramento 109 Sacramento, CA (SportsNetwork. Custom USWNT Jerseys. com) - James Harden put the Houston Rockets on his back and willed them to an overtime victory on Thursday. Harden scored a season-high 44 points to lead the Rockets in a 113-109 decision over the Sacramento Kings. Harden, who scored 34 points in a loss to Golden State on Wednesday, sent the game to overtime with a deep 3-pointer, then scored the first 10 Houston points in the extra session. Trevor Ariza and Patrick Beverley each netted 15 points and Donatas Motiejunas added 14 points for Houston, which has won five of its last six. Darren Collison had 24 points with seven assists and Ben McLemore tallied 21 points for the Kings. ' ' '