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List of Articles by Nicholai R. Roska



An NBA Civil War in Los Angeles

By Nicholai R. Roska
PhilBoxing.com
17 Jan 2012



LOS ANGELES -- It was one of the NBA's most anticipated games in the shortened season thus far: Lakers vs Clippers in a hoops version of Battle Los Angeles last January 14 at Staples Center.

The purple and gold Lakers have 16 championships under their belt, while the red, white and blue clad Clippers have 16 less. But for the first time in ages, this match-up was must-see TV because, finally, the indomitable Kobe Bryant and friends now have stiff resistance from high-flying Blake Griffin, assists-happy Chris Paul and friends.

And PhilBoxing.com had media credentialed seats to the event.

The menu had a Cinco De Mayo feel to it when I fueled up at the media dining room prior to tip-off ---- Grilled lime chili rubbed chicken, cheese enchiladas, Mexican red rice, grilled chayote squash, sweet corn, pico de gallo and salsa. Also lying defenseless on the buffet table were ingredients for a build-your-own salad and tacos.

The main course, of course, was the basketball game. And it did not disappoint.

Kobe Bryant put up a show, the 42-point variety, the kind that won him 5 NBA titles, an MVP award, multiple All-Star appearances and the adulation of millions of fans around the globe.

But it wasn't enough to stop the Clippers from running away with an impressive 102-94 triumph.

The aforementioned Blake Griffin was spectacular with 22 points and 14 rebounds while the 6-foot court general that is Chris Paul towered above the competiton with 6 assists and 33 points. Veteran Chauncey Billups, who left Detroit for L.A. in the off-season, joined the Clippers assault with 19 points while ex-Mavs Caron Butler chipped in 13.

Before a a predominantly partisan crowd of 19,895 at Staples Center, the Clippers made 35 of 85 field goals, 9 of 21 triples, and 23 of 30 free throws. It's not exactly a masterpiece of good shooting percentage, but the Clippers made up for it by outrebounding the Lakers 50-32 and by playing hard and aggressive on both ends of the floor.

Round 2 of the Lakers vs. Clippers rivalry takes place on Jan. 25 with Kobe and company playing host. So far, though, it's the Clippers who are shaping up as the flavor of the month in hoops-crazy Los Angeles.

Either way, the Clippers rise is a boon for Los Angeles sports. This, after all, is a town where David Beckham bends soccer balls, where Albert Pujols will soon will soon light the baseball diamond as an Angel, and where Filipino sensation Manny Pacquiao trains for his mega fights at the unpretentious sweat shop that is Wild Card along Vine St.

Mark your calenders for Lakers vs Clippers Part II in just over a week. Until then, a rivalry simmers.


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