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Posted at 11:57 AM ET, 02/01/2012

Blake Griffin’s dunk fuels budding Clippers-Lakers rivalry


Kobe Bryant and Blake Griffin before the Lakers beat the Clippers 96-91 on Jan. 25. (Mark J. Terrill / AP)
Blake Griffin has taken the internet by storm. His team is atop the Pacific Division. But just how good are the Los Angeles Clippers? Can they upset the natural hoops order and steal the Showtime limelight from the Lakers?

The Clippers, at 12-6, are atop the Pacific Division and beat the Oklahoma City Thunder, behind Griffin’s dunk, on Monday night. On Sunday, the Clippers, tied with the Denver Nuggets for the second-best record in the Western Conference, beat the Nuggets. Promising signs, but the Clippers did fall, 96-91, to the Lakers on Jan. 25.

“I think the process is definitely starting,” Chauncey Billups said Monday night (via the Los Angeles Times). “You can kind of see the potential that we have as a team.”

The 12-6 Clippers are a lot like Griffin’s description of his dunk — a group of players who are just putting it together. They are far from perfect, allowing ninth-most points pergame in the league and are 26th with a 40.3 rebound average.

“We still have things we have to get better at,” Coach Vinny Del Negro said. “This isn't a finished product by any stretch of the imagination.”

The Clippers are a hot ticket in Los Angeles, but still a cheaper one than their Staples Center co-tenant. At the moment, Kobe Bryant and the Lakers are oohing and aahing over Griffin like everyone else. But just how threatened should Kobe Bryant and the Lakers feel?

MORE

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Where does Griffin’s dunk rank?

Chris Paul trade makes Clippers a worthy rival for Lakers

By  |  11:57 AM ET, 02/01/2012

 
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