HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — All that chest pounding from Metta World Peace last night was genuine, raw emotion in a game filled with it, a rivalry (yes, rivalry) that demands it these days.
Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and the rest of the Clippers certainly aren’t afraid to embrace the challenge of picking a fight with Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and the rest of the Lakers. The bodies on court from opening tip until the final whistle serve as proof that the games between these two mean more than anyone was willing to let on when Paul joined the Clippers instead of the Lakers last month.
And when Gasol touched Paul on the top of the head in the final seconds of the Lakers 96-91 win at Staples Center, well … it was on:
“He touched the top of my head, and I didn’t like that,” said Paul, who nearly landed with the Lakers last month before NBA commissioner David Stern squelched the deal. “You know what I mean. I don’t know if Pau’s got kids, but don’t touch my head like I’m one of your kids. I don’t know what his intentions were, like, ‘I’ll treat him like little Chris.’ I don’t know if he’s got kids, but I’m not one of them.”
The best part is the Lakers and Clippers are not alone. The authentic nastiness that many of us grew up with, that made the NBA so special during the Showtime Lakers-Big Three Celtics era through the Bad Boy Pistons-Jordan Bulls era and beyond, is popping up all over the league.