Clippers soar to top of Pacific Division

BETH HARRIS AP Sports Writer Published:

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The bad old days are becoming a distant memory for the high-flying Los Angeles Clippers. They lead the Pacific Division, have landed Chris Paul and Blake Griffin as starters on the All-Star team and in the process have stolen, at least for the moment, the spotlight from the Lakers.

The Clippers bolstered their ranks Friday with the signing of free-agent forward Kenyon Martin.

Chauncey Billups says it's a new beginning for a franchise that hasn't had a winning season since 2005-06, also the last time the Clippers made the playoffs. They are 13-7 going into Saturday's game at Washington, good for third in the Western Conference standings and ahead of the Lakers.

They've knocked off some of the league's best, including Miami, the Lakers, and defending NBA champion Dallas. Since last Sunday, they have won at Denver and beat West-leading Oklahoma City on back-to-back nights, then followed up with their first win in Utah since 2003.