Forget Kevin Durant, Tim Duncan, Dwight Howard or any team east of San Bernardino. The most appealing rivalry in the NBA's Western Conference - and probably the entire league - played out in that battle of words, bumps and sublime virtuosity between the Warriors and Clippers on Thursday night.

Some say the Warriors have the most complete starting five in the league. Nobody has quite as much fun as the Clippers when Blake Griffin turns a lob pass into thunderous dunk (on three straight possessions, as it happened). And it gets especially interesting when these two ascending teams fight their territorial battles.

Before the game, at a time when Christian players from both teams customarily share a chapel service together, the Clippers reportedly shut the Warriors out. Coach Mark Jackson, trying to get in Griffin's head (good idea; the kid is vulnerable), gave him a stern lecture after the two nearly collided on the sideline. And there was a brief but serious-looking scuffle between centers Andrew Bogut and DeAndre Jordan.

It's entirely possible these teams could meet for the conference championship - if not this season, then very soon - but each is far from a finished product. The Warriors can't get so badly outrebounded (44-33) or so careless with the ball (24 turnovers, 11 by Steph Curry), and they won't beat any good teams when Klay Thompson goes 3-for-7 from the floor.

The Clippers, meanwhile, are a bit uncomfortable with their identity. Knowing the playoffs bring a slower tempo and a grind-it-out mentality, Chris Paul told reporters over the summer that "Lob City doesn't exist anymore." That simply isn't true, so here's a talented, significantly improved team trying to deal with a transitional roadblock. (Amazing stat, courtesy of Deadspin: En route to last year's Finals, San Antonio executed exactly one lob pass for a dunk during the regular season. The Clippers led the league with 255.)

It really comes down to the collective genius of Curry and Paul, so different as point guards, so exceptionally pleasing to watch. These teams could play on a weekly basis and the show wouldn't get old.