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News  


Santa Chris Paul's giving spree


PhilBoxing.com




LOS ANGELES -- I was at the Staples Center here in L.A last Dec.19. as an officially credentialed NBA writer. And I had the good fortune of covering the pre-season civil war between the mighty Lakers and the rising Clippers.

Over the years, this match-up was owned by the jaded Lakers. But not anymore. In a quick, almost cruel, reversal of fortune, it's the perenially-bullied Clippers who are dishing out the punishment, running and flying, and slam-dunking their way to an easy 114-95 rout.

The Clippers stepped on the gas early and often. They seized an 18-point lead in the 2nd quarter and never looked back. The Clips made 48.8 percent of their field goals (40-of-82). They were outrebounded by the bigger Lakers, 41-34, but the Clippers had more assists, 25-22, and far less turnovers, 21-10.

The star of the show was Chris Paul. The freshman Clipper stole the spotlight from LA's resident superstar, Kobe Bryant, whose Lakers briefly acquired Paul from New Orleans before the NBA intervened and shipped the 2-time All-Star to the other side of town instead

The 6-foot, 175-pound Paul was good as advertised. A true and dynamic point guard, he showed a maturity beyond his 26 years. He's a philantrophist disguised as a point guard. He effeciently ran the offense with 9 assists while lighting up the scoreboard for 17 points. He also stood up against Lakers enforcer Matt Barnes, sending a loud and clear message that dirty plays have no place in the NBA.

With Paul dribbling merrily up and down the court, everyday is like Christmas in Los Angeles.

Other Clips had their moments, too. Blake Griffin finished with 12 points, 5 rebounds and a few highlight reels, while veteran Chauncey Billups, acquired from New York through waivers, showed off his shooting touch and lit up for 23 points.

Kobe led the Lakers with a routine 22 points while Pau Gasol, rumored to be in the trading block, soldiered on with 16 points and 7 rebounds. Center Andrew Bynum had an impressive 15-point, 10-rebound output.

A few days later, the Lakers and Clippers went at it again. The Clippers also won the rematch, 108-103.

I will be back at Staples Center on Christmas Day, when the NBA's 2011-12 regular season officially begins. I will be there to cover the Lakers as they host reigning MVP Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls.

With the risk of waxing sentimental, I'm really glad the NBA is back following a brutally contentious 147-day lockout. NBA games are a refuge to many fans, especially in this crisis-torn times. It gives them something to cheer for, something to look forward to and inspire.

I love this game. (NVR)


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Nicholai R. Roska.


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