Baron Davis: Captain of the Clipper

Josh HoffmanCorrespondent IJanuary 7, 2010

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 06:  Baron Davis #1 of the Los Angeles Clippers drives against Derek Fisher #2 of the Los Angeles Lakers on January 6, 2010 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Sometimes a team hands its adversary the game on a silver platter, all but begging its foe to take it. Other times the opponent just snatches the W from mid-air, like an experienced rattlesnake feasting on its naïve prey.

Wednesday night’s Los Angeles showdown between the Lakers and Clippers was of the latter variety, with the Clippers being the beneficiary at the building both teams call home.

In doing so, the Other Team In LA snapped a nine-game skid to its cross-town nemesis, thanks in large part to a exceptional performance by Baron Davis, who poured in 25 points and 10 dimes, his ninth double-dip of the season.

Davis was assertive early and often, picking apart Derek Fisher like his life depended on it. He played under control and took what the defense gave him; he made plays both for himself and his teammates; and best of all, he performed like the superstar for which Clippers fans have desperately longed.

If nothing else, this game was about the dominance of Davis, and not his apparent deterioration, which typically has been the case throughout his tenure in LA.

That, or he received the memo that 2 points on 1-10 shooting—his totals in the season-opener against the Lakers—is not going to cut it, whether the defending champs or a D-League squad is in the house.

The doubt with Davis has never been based on his ability—at least skill-wise. Instead, the predominant problem resides with his mentality, a mentality that has generally lacked a willingness to win at all costs, to assume the leadership role time and again, and to be the guy rather than just a guy.

He has shown glimpses of being great (see: his game-winning buzzer beater against the Celtics less than two weeks ago), but as of now the only thing consistently great about Baron is his beard.

This week it was announced that No. 1 overall pick Blake Griffin is nearing his NBA debut, which could very well create a two-headed basketball monster in LA.

But as long as Baron Davis dons blue and red, the Clippers will rise and fall at his expense.

Josh Hoffman is a college junior working to become a sports journalist. You can contact him at jhoffmedia@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter here .

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