The NBA: Leading Los Angeles

Chris Paul and the Clips rebounded from their loss to the
Lakers by beating the Memphis Grizzlies.

*All images are from the Associated Press.

"I've got a son of my own. I don't know if Pau has kids, but don't touch the top of my head like I'm one of your kids. I don't know if he's got kids, but I'm not one of them." – Chris Paul on Pau Gasol tapping his head.

A little more than a month ago, Chris Paul was raring to go to the Lakers.

Now it seems like he’s raring to take them down.

And, lo and behold, the feeling is mutual.

Chris Paul resented Gasol’s head tap. Kobe traded barbs with Paul. Paul called Gasol soft. Metta World Peace wasn’t exactly living up to his name, too. Ts were called left and right. There was an ejection.

It was awesome drama.

It was awesome TV basketball. (details here)

The Clips still hold an edge in the head-to-head matchup dating back to the preseason, but the Lakers might have finally figured them out. How? Because Mike Brown may have finally figured the Lakers out – he needs to give Peace a chance (pardon the pun), and pound the ball inside to his twin bigs. Those are luxuries he didn’t have in Cleveland, and he should go to them more. Kobe’s awesome as a scorer and he’s has improved as a facilitator, but the Lakers have so many other underutilized weapons, too.

Both LA teams will meet once more in the regular season, and that promises to be another rock ‘em sock ‘em showdown. I’ll put my money on the Lakers, simply because I think they’ll stay true to their trajectory and continue improving.

As of now, however, based on their record and despite this loss, it’s the Clippers who are leading Los Angeles.

After the JUMP, key stat-stuffers for today’s games:

BOS over ORL, 91-83 – Nobody on Orlando has probably ever heard of E’Twaun Moore (honestly, have you?), so they probably weren’t counting on him to lead the 44-15 Boston run in the final 17 minutes that decimated their mighty lead, which stood as high as 27 points. Orlando scored just 56 points a few days ago, and they lost a 27-point lead at home. Do you still see any reason for Big D to stay?
LAC over MEM, 98-91 – CP3, BGTV, Mo Will, and Caron Butler (nickname?) all scored at least 17 points to help the Clips recover after the tough loss to the Lakers yesterday.

Super Scorers (Top scorers of the night!)
Rudy Gay (MEM) & Paul Pierce (BOS) – 24
Blake Griffin (LAC) – 20

Ragin’ Rebounders (Top rebounders of the night!)
Dwight Howard (ORL) – 16
Marc Gasol (MEM) – 11
Kevin Garnett (BOS) – 10

Dwight Howard should really be thinking of
where he'll be come the trade deadline.

Dynamic Dishers (Top playmakers of the night!)
Paul Pierce (BOS) – 10
Blake Griffin (LAC) – 8
Hedo Turkoglu (ORL), Chris Paul (LAC) & Mike Conley (MEM) – 7

Terrific Thieves (Top thieves of the night!)
Mo Williams (LAC) & Mike Conley (MEM) – 4
Kevin Garnett (BOS), Glen Davis (ORL) & Jason Richardson (ORL) – 3

Boomin’ Blockers (Top blockers of the night!)
Keving Garnett (BOS) – 4
DeAndre Jordan (LAC) – 3
Blake Griffin (LAC), Brandon Bass (BOS) & Greg Stiemsma (BOS) – 2

KG and the Celtics did really well despite the absence
of Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen.

Sharpshooters (Top 3-point shooters of the night!)
E’Twaun Moore (BOS) – 4
Rudy Gay (MEM), Michael Pietrus (BOS), OJ Mayo (MEM) & Caron Butler (LAC) – 3

Jan. 26, 2012 First Five
C – Marc Gasol (MEM) – 18pts, 11rebs, 6asts, 2stls
F – Kevin Garnett (BOS) – 12pts, 10rebs, 4asts, 4blks, 3stls
F – Blake Griffin (LAC) – 20pts, 9rebs, 8asts, 2blks
G – Paul Pierce (BOS) – 24pts, 10asts, 6rebs, 1blk
G – Chris Paul (LAC) – 18pts, 7rebs, 7asts, 2stls

Blake Griffin continues to be a formidable
inside force for the new-look Clippers.

Honorable Mention:
Rudy Gay (MEM) – 24pts, 7rebs, 3 treys, 2asts, 1blk
Mo Williams (LAC) – 18pts, 4stls, 3rebs, 2asts
Dwight Howard (ORL) – 16pts, 16rebs, 1blk

For a full summary of the day, here’s today’s NBA Daily Zap:

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