Starting 5

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Every morning, we will give you five things from the night before in the NBA to start your day.

1: Clips on hiatus

SBNationThe Los Angeles Clippers are on their Grammy Road Trip and it has not gotten off to a good start. Perhaps they are viewing it as a vacation or are looking too far ahead to the All-Star Break or maybe injuries really are hitting the team hard.

The Clippers have now lost five of their past seven games, including three to start the Grammy Road Trip. The team that looked like it could be one of the Finals contenders has hit a rough patch. And no game could have been rougher than their 98-90 loss to the Wizards on Monday.

Los Angeles learned just before the game that Blake Griffin would not be able to play with a strained left hamstring. That added to an injured list that already included Chris Paul who has missed the majority of the last two weeks with a bruised kneecap.

While Jamal Crawford can score with the best of them, he is not Chris Paul. And while DeAndre Jordan is a monster on the boards, he is not Blake Griffin. Being down two All-Star starters will hurt any team. Even a team as talented and deep as the Clippers.

Washington continued its hot play getting 21 points and five 3-pointers from the streaky Martell Webster. The Wizards grabbed 13 offensive rebounds and dominated the game, taking the lead early and never really letting go. Los Angeles could not make a final push and could not make the comeback.

2: Out of character

Michael Controy/CT PostThe Pacers and Bulls were not even supposed to play each other Monday. It was a makeup game after a blizzard canceled their previously scheduled meeting.

Of course, the two teams seemed to leave their identities at the door. The top two defensive teams in the league by defensive efficiency met and scored more than 200 points. In fact, Chicago snapped a 41-game streak without scoring 100 points.

Of course, that game would come when the Pacers were scoring at a much higher rate than normal too.

The Pacers won 111-101 behind a stellar effort from Paul George (21 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists) and David West (29 points). George hit some key shots down the stretch as the Bulls made a push to cut into a 10-point deficit and try to make the game interesting late.

Credit Marco Belinelli for coming back from a sprained ankle to score 24 points and spread the floor for the Bulls, who were again without Joakim Noah and with Carlos Boozer sitting out most of the fourth quarter.

This game mattered for the standings as Indiana guaranteed itself a split with its division rivals and take control of the Central Division.

3:  HIGHLIGHTS!!!

"High-flying" Spencer Hawes

Eric Bledsoe gets his revenge

Old Amar'e

4: Line of the Night: LeBron James — 31 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists, 13/14 FGs

Um, so yeah. LeBron James turned in a nearly perfect shooting performance to help spark the Heat out of a lackluster start. He said after the game that as a team leader and captain he has to always bring it even when his team doesn't. Let us call this bringing it.

5:  You can quote me on that

He was focused on getting other people the ball and scoring when he had a mismatch; that's when he's at his best. He can come down and score any time he wants, but getting the offense flowing, that's best for our team.

-Thunder guard Kevin Martin on Russell Westbrook

A win is a win. No matter if you win by 40 or give up a big lead and win by one. That was a lucky one, but we’ll take it and get ready for Dallas.

-Blazers forward Nicolas Batum after the Wolves nearly came back to win

Philip Rossman-Reich

About Philip Rossman-Reich

Philip Rossman-Reich is the managing editor for Crossover Chronicles and Orlando Magic Daily. You can follow him on twitter @OMagicDaily

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