The battle of Staples Center, or the battle of Los Angeles, or whatever it was called on Saturday night, was repeatedly billed during the broadcast as a battle of first place in the Pacific Division between the Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers. The Clippers prevailed 102-94, and are in fact in first place looking at Sunday morning's NBA standings, but thanks to a scheduling quirk there is a twist.
|Pacific Division Standings|
|Through games of January 14|
The Clippers are in first place by virtue of having the best winning percentage in the division, at .667. The problem is they have played five fewer games than the Lakers so far, so the .643 Lakers are in the weird spot of being in second place, a half-game ahead of the first place team. Such is life in the early going of a lockout-truncated season. Such a huge disparity of games played tends to throw off the standings.
The number of games will even out in the end, but one thing is clear. The Clippers and the Lakers are the two best teams in the Pacific Division, and it's not even close.