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Who has the NBA’s best backcourt?

Finally, a game tonight! Granted, it's on a Friday night with a late-night, West Coast start time, but it's a game nonetheless!

The Contra Costa Times has an article comparing the Warriors' backcourt with the Pistons' backcourt. I still think Chauncey Billups and Rip Hamilton are the best guard duo in the NBA, but Baron Davis and Jason Richardson at least belong in the discussion. Looking at the numbers, they're remarkably similar this season:

The Warriors' duo combine to average 38.6 points, 11.9 assists and 11.1 rebounds. Their Pistons counterparts average 38.7 points, 10.8 assists and 6.7 rebounds.

The article is respectful toward the Pistons, giving Chauncey and Rip the nod based on their accomplishments together -- two Eastern Conference titles and one NBA Championship -- whereas Baron and J-Rich have only played with each other in 46 games. But making a comparison is very difficult, as they two backcourts play with very different styles (added emphasis mine):

Davis and Richardson are clearly the more explosive pair. They play better in a faster tempo, though they can be productive in a slower one.

Richardson can score in a number of ways: on the break, out of the post, spotting up, off screens. Davis has the ability to beat teams with his scoring or his distribution.

They both have a flair for the dramatic, with Richardson's jaw-dropping dunks and Davis' playground style -- the combination of which usually results in a crowd-jolting alley-oop each game.

"They've been great. They've got to be one of the best backcourts in the league," Billups said. "I'm happy to see Baron back healthy. When he's healthy he's as good as anybody to play the game. Richardson's been great, too.

"You're not gonna shut those guys down," he added. "If we can just contain them, contest all their shots and be effective as well, we feel like we have a good shot. But you're not gonna shut those guys down."

Billups and Hamilton like to take their time, make the defense work.

Billups breaks down his defender with his size and strength, while Hamilton runs around like a hamster in a catfight.

Billups is money in the clutch and plays his best ball in big games because he plays with so much poise and efficiency -- he has 128 assists and just 30 turnovers. Hamilton has a phenomenal midrange shot and thrives on movement without the ball. He's so fluid, he scores without taking very many 3-pointers (11-for-21) or free throws (4.1 per game).

"One (duo) is more athletic and explosive. The other's more the halfcourt, back-you-down kind," Marion said. "J-Rich is good at posting you up. Rip is one of the best at coming off screens. Chauncey and Baron are both big and know how to use their size. J-Rich and Baron, they're so explosive. They'll both bang on you. Chauncey and Rip won't bang on you, but they'll wear you down.

"That's going to be a good one."

Clearly, comparing these guys is like comparing apples and. . . hamsters.

Apples and Hamsters

The NBA's best backcourt? [Contra Costa Times]