If last night is any indication, then we might as well get used to turning on "Sportscenter" and seeing red. Or white. Because the Los Angeles Clippers are going to be producing eye-popping, rim-rocking highlights -- if not actual wins -- at an astounding rate throughout the upcoming NBA season.
The Clippers battled the Lakers in the preseason on Monday night, and Chris Paul and his coterie of high-flying big men produced enough electricity that they could have kept the lights on at Candlestick without a problem. En route to a 114-95 victory that was as meaningless to the Lakers as it was likely meaningful to the new-look Clips, Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan made good on Griffin's declaration that it would be "Lob City" in Los Angeles.
Jordan, in particular, showed some early chemistry with CP3 and found himself flushing home a few perfectly placed lob passes from the new arrival. During the second quarter, Jordan came out to the wide perimeter to set a a screen for Paul, who goes away from the screener -- but doesn't forget about him. Jordan rolls to the rim and Paul sucks in the defense before floating a high ball that the high-flying Jordan powers home. Lob City, population 2 points.
Later in the game, these two connected again for another ally-oop slam. This time, Jordan set a high screen at the top of the key. Paul ran his defender through the pick and continued to the wing. Jordan, meanwhile, turned and rumbled through the paint and straight for the rack. By the time he arrived the ball had been served up by CP3 and was just waiting to be sent netwards. Jordan obliged.
Although it didn't come off a lob from Paul, the most impressive slam of the night was Jordan's posterization of Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum and everyone else who was wearing purple and gold at the Staples Center.
Of course, Griffin was not going to let himself be upstaged by his teammate. In yet another dunktastic display of athleticism and teamwork, Griffin hustled down the court on the break with the team's other new point guard, Chauncey Billups. The veteran guard bounced a pass off the backboard and the reigning champion of the annual slam dunk contest didn't disappoint with the finish. In fact, the referees felt Griffin was a bit too emphatic in the way he hung on the rim and issued a technical foul.
While the scoreline indicates that these sweet highlights had some nutritional value, the Lakers certainly weren't caught off guard by the athleticism of Los Angeles' other team. Nor was the court vision of Paul something that they were not expecting. In fact, the play that the Lakers are most likely to talk about after this game does not involve a dunk or a lob or even a Clippers' offensive possession. It was something that Jordan did at the defensive end.
With Kobe Bryant driving hard for the rim, the third-year center out of Texas A&M, ranged across the lane and contested the shot. Hard. Jordan got both body and ball and Bryant fell heavily to the floor, holding his wrist gingerly after the play. The pride and myopic focus it takes to go that strong at Kobe ... in the Staples Center ... during a preseason game are certainly qualities new to this franchise. Needless to say, Michael Olowokandi was not contesting that shot in such a fashion.