Every morning, we will give you five things from the night before in the NBA to start your day.
1: Statement made
Los Angeles is a two-team town. California is a four-team state.
Only one team is at the top of that mountain. Only one team right now looks like a championship-caliber team. Only one of these teams looks serious.
Yes, that would be the Clippers. It still feels weird to say that. But the Clippers dismantled their two biggest rivals in the Pacific Division at home in back-to-back nights. That is a statement of sorts. It is a statement that the Pacific Division is theirs.
And this was quite a statement.
Golden State got beat up pretty bad. The Clippers defeated the Warriors 115-89. They now have a four-game lead over the Warriors for first place. And they are pretty well established now as the top dog in the West.
Los Angeles scored 35 points in the first quarter and had a 35-12 lead after 12 minutes. The Clippers scored 104 points through three quarters and coasted to the victory. Chris Paul had 27 points and nine assists and Blake Griffin had an efficient 20 points.
All five starters scored in double figures and the Clippers shot 52.2 percent from the floor. Stephen Curry struggled and scored 10 points on 4-for-11 shooting. Not the game that the Warriors wanted from him.
Then again, nobody could have seen the Clippers putting this performance on. Things should not be this easy.
2: Neutral site wins
When the Knicks and Celtics travel, they bring a lot of fans. Lots of New Yorkers and Bostonians live outside the city limits and they bring their allegiances with them. Sometimes that means bad things for homestanding teams who do not always sell out their arenas.
Atlanta and Orlando fell victim to these visiting crowds.
The Amway Center in Orlando was treated to M-V-P chants when Carmelo Anthony went to the line. Then the Magic were treated to an MVP performance from Anthony down the stretch.
The Knicks had to come-from-behind but got 16 points from Anthony in the fourth quarter. He had 40 points for the game and just took over down the stretch to give the Knicks a 114-106 win. That withstood 29 points each from Arron Afflalo and Jameer Nelson.
It was not a defensive masterpiece, but a win is a win.
In Atlanta, Boston erased a 15-point halftime deficit while wearing their home whites and had Celtics fans cheering at the end of the game in an 89-81 win. Paul Pierce scored 17 of his 26 points in teh third quarter to key the comeback.
What was most impressive was the fact that Atlanta had only 28 points in the entire second half, including just nine in the third quarter.
It was the worst possession ever, until...
Victor Claver jams over Stiemmsma
Eric Gordon game-winner
4: Line of the Night: Danilo Gallinari -- 26 points, 7/11 FGs, 11/12 FTs
Gallinari is a scorer. His role is to put the ball in the basket. And he did that in a 110-91 victory over the Jazz. He scored 26 points with a 79.9 percent true shooting percentage and a 68.2 percent effective field goal percentage. Have to be happy with that.
5: You can quote me on that
They had beat us twice. The first time they beat us here [on Nov. 3], you would have thought they won the NBA Finals.
Then they beat us there pretty bad, pretty handily. We knew that we wanted to protect our home court and it's a division game.
-Clippers guard Chris Paul
We were kind of bickering at each other a little bit too much, figuring out what defense we were going to run. And I just had to say that the fight ain’t with one another. It’s against the other team on the court.
-Celtics forward Paul Pierce on Boston's recent struggles