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And now, the other Los Angeles team ... the one with the winning record

They've been rivals since they entered the NBA. Chris Paul and Deron Williams both want to win an NBA crown. They've already won two Olympic gold medals with Team USA, but Friday night at Barclays Center, they'll be back testing each other.


The Los Angeles Clippers are not enjoying the limelight that their Staples Center rivals are basking in. After all, the Lakers have four players who are likely Hall of Famers, including the player with the highest name recognition in the world. Five rings will do that for you. All the Clippers have is eight wins and a winning record. Oh yeah, and Chris Paul, Deron Williams' two-time Olympic gold medal teammate.

It's not just Paul. They have a sixth man averaging 20 points a game, Jamal Crawford, and back-up point guard who start for more than 20 NBA teams, Eric Bledsoe. They also the high wire act of Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, as well as a solid defender at SF in Matt Barnes. They're so balanced that they have both the second best shooting percentage and the second best defensive shooting percentage. They are a legitimate championship contender.

The Nets are still reeling from their loss to the Warriors, who beat them with athleticism (among other things) which the Clippers have a surplus of. They are, at least, healthy but will need Williams (who does do well against Paul) and Joe Johnson to improve their shooting and Kris Humphries to play his usual good ball against Griffin. Few, if any, NBA power forwards have done as well against Griffin as Hump.

It's the beginning of a tough three games in four days stretch culminating on Monday's showdown with the Knicks at Barclays Center. In between, they will get a look at what the Trailblazers did with their sixth overall pick in last year's draft, Damian Lillard.