Pacific preview: The Lakers and the losers
Of all the NBA's sectional groupings, the Pacific contains the least intra-divisional competition. The constituents include a high-flying championship squad bent on repeating, one team that's treading water, and three bottom-feeders.
Golden State Warriors
Strengths: A bunch of guys who are liable to explode for 30 points in any given game — Monta Ellis, Stephen Jackson, Corey Maggette and Anthony Morrow.
The golden shooting stroke of rookie Stephen Curry.
Andris Biedrins' energetic rebounding and defense.
The phenomenal off-the-bench intensity of Ronny Turiaf.
Weaknesses: Maggette only has eyes for the basket.
The absence of a post-up scoring threat.
Except for Biedrins, a minimal team presence on defense.
The distraction created by Jackson's discontent.
The problem of shot distribution.
Nellie's mind games that have both created and exacerbated the turmoil that has plagued the team since his second-coming on the scene.
Prognosis: How low can they go?
Los Angeles Clippers
Strengths: Baron Davis' amazing one-on-one skills.
The distances Marcus Camby can come in order to attack opponents' shots.