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: Still the one

Michael Nelson/EPA/New York Daily NewsThere was a time when Chris Paul vs. Deron Williams was appointment television. There was a serious debate to settle after all. Who was the better point guard?

The two are very different despite playing the same position. Williams the bigger and stronger player who used his size and incredible passing ability to dominate other point guards for a long time. Paul the speedier and more cerebral guard who is able to do just about anything he wants on the floor.

The two are still part of the debate of best point guards, but the results are a little more clearer.

Paul has led his team to constant Playoff success, turning the moribund Clippers into a hot ticket as displayed at Staples Center on Saturday night. He changes the game with his presence and leadership. And he changed the game with an incredible three-point play late in Los Angeles' 101-95 win over Brooklyn.

Paul drove to the lane and went up for a shot. It was blocked right into his hands. But before coming down, Paul switched hands and threw the shot in anyway, drawing the foul in the process. It was a key point that made it a four-point game and secured the breathing room necessary for the win.

Chris Paul ended up with 29 points and 11 assists for the Clippers, who continue to inch closer to their first Pacific Division championship in team history. Deron Williams had 18 points and nine assists in defeat.

2: Off and running

David Zalubowski/AP/philStar.comWhile the Heat are stealing headlines for their long winning streak, the Nuggets are quietly doing their own work and building their own win streak. Denver's streak climbed to 15 with a 101-95 win over Sacramento on Saturday at the Pepsi Center. The Nuggets are not quite shouting, "Hey, look at us!" though.

Instead, Denver has quietly climbed to third in the West thanks to this win streak and have done so with a carefree attitude that has become this team's identity. You do not want to get stuck heading off to Denver, where it is nearly impossible for any team to win. The Nuggets seem close to making that a reality in the Playoffs and a much easier road to get out of the first round.

In this game, Denver was ready to run. That is what this team is about and that is what they did, blitzing the Kings even on made baskets.

Danilo Gallinari led six players in double figures with 19 points, displaying the balance that has made the Nuggets so dangerous.

Yet, Denver is not all that happy even with a 15-game win streak. Several players said they are not happy with the way they are winning, noting the escape against Philadelphia on Thursday and even this game against Sacramento, which was tight until the end when Denver finally overwhelmed Sacramento.

The Nuggets are happy to be winning, but it is clear they know more is needed if they want to win championships.

3:  HIGHLIGHTS!!!

Thompson and Lee

http://youtube.com/watch?v=l2hGJbuQ-vs

Kidd-Gilchrist learns to flush

http://youtube.com/watch?v=BPeVn5Rog2o

Melo handles Raptors

http://youtube.com/watch?v=KCMbUTKs_2o

4: Line of the Night: Jerryd Bayless — 30 points, 4/6 3FGs

The Grizzlies played just eight players as they get set for the Playoffs and got a big boost from the bench. Bayless scored 30 off the bench as Memphis held off a late Boston rally for a 110-106 win at FedExForum. It was Bayless' second game of 25 points or more and has done both without starting. He is going to be very key when Memphis enters the Playoffs.

5:  You can quote me on that

I'm a lover not a fighter.

-Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari on his response to DeMarcus Cousins

That was big. All the talk about [Ja]'Mal's offensive ability and stuff like that. I had no clue what was happening. I was (playing defense) and heard the crowd go nuts, and I turned and saw him turn and then dunk.

Clippers guard Chris Paul on a key steal from Jamal Crawford

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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