Griffin looks more explosive than he has in years.

If he can abuse mismatches in both size directions, the Clippers have a fail-safe — a guaranteed way to draw help, bend the floor, and open seams for teammates. In other words: What Paul did for five seasons to kick-start every possession. Gallinari offers the same mismatch versatility.

Core lineups feature four plus ball-handlers. The Clippers are betting the collective can compensate for the loss of Paul’s individual brilliance.

The Saints have embarked on a five-game (and counting) winning streak for the first time since 2013, which was the last time New Orleans reached the playoffs or had a winning record. Credit goes to a much-improved defense and the support Mark Ingram and rookie Alvin Kamara are providing quarterback Drew Brees out of the backfield.

The ill-fated Adrian Peterson experiment finally ended when the Saints traded the disgruntled running back to Arizona in Week 6 for a 2018 sixth-round draft choice.

New Orleans not only controls its own destiny in the NFC South. The Saints also won’t have to play a regular-season game in wintry conditions unless the weather turns unseasonably cold in Week 10 at Buffalo.

They’ve outscored opponents 25-19, and notched a big win in a nail-biter on Friday against OKC. That allowed Minny to salvage an otherwise forgettable week that included losses to Indiana and Detroit without Jimmy Butler.

The Wizards finished up a western swing a somewhat unsatisfying 2-2, including a lazy overtime loss to the Lakers and a blown lead to the Warriors after leading by 18. On a positive note, the starting unit with Kelly Oubre Jr. slotted next to Otto Porter Jr. at forward has been one of the league’s most efficient with a net rating of plus-23.6.
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