The biggest improvement Blake Griffin has made since the start of the season? Recognizing mismatches and punishing overmatched defenders with decisive aggression. Against the length of the Spurs, Griffin decided to forgo the jumper. Instead he lived in the paint, beating weaker, slower defenders to the rim and challenging for every offensive rebound.
A Jeckel and Hyde performance. After struggling through three quarters. Chris Paul dominated the fourth, pulling the Clippers ahead with a series of nasty, ankle-breaking jumpers. Unfortunately, a botched inbounds pass at the end of regulation allowed the Spurs to force OT and escape Staples with the win.
J.R. Smith who? Randy Foye's best performance since assuming the starting role after Chauncey Billups' injury -- 21 points on 8-for-17 from the field, including four 3-pointers -- will quiet talk about the dire need for an upgrade at the 2 ... at least for a day. Without Foye's clutch spot-up shooting in the third, San Antonio is resting its starters in the fourth.
After an early-season 25-point shellacking in San Antonio, Saturday's game gave the Clips a chance to show how far they've come ... and how much further they must go. Coming from 15 back against the perennial cream of the West cements the Clips' growing rep for dogged persistence, but the inability to defend the perimeter or close on shooters remains striking.
The Spurs are the league's hottest team, winners of nine in a row coming into this showdown for second place in the West. Saturday, the Spurs showed how they've been able to thrive without Manu Ginobli: double-digit contributions from unheralded bench players such as Matt Bonner and Danny Green and enough Tony Parker to glue it all together.