BLAKE GRIFFIN MAKES THE MOST OF 10 MINUTES
Eric Patten @ericpatten | 2/24/12

ORLANDO–Blake Griffin’s appearance for Team Shaq in the newly formatted BBVA Rising Stars Challenge was nothing if not brief.

Call it a cameo. Or call it a reminder that he’s got a lot more to do this weekend. Either way, Griffin’s 10 minutes of action was packed with the kinds of plays Clippers fans are accustomed to seeing on a nightly basis.

In a way, despite 34 points on a near-perfect night shooting from Rookie of the Year favorite Kyrie Irving, the night was still as much about Griffin as anything else.

The crowd was its most anxious when the Clippers superstar was on the court, anticipating every trip down the floor. And after a botched alley-oop attempt from Ricky Rubio on the second possession of the game, the two connected on the next play as Griffin spun off rookie Derrick Williams and threw down his first of four dunks.


READ: TEAM CHUCK WINS WIRE-TO-WIRE OVER TEAM SHAQ IN BBVA RISING STARS CHALLENGE
He came out of the game with 14:55 left in the first half with just two points, but turned it up after halftime.

He put in a reverse layup, another alley oop from Rubio, and in typical Griffin fashion, kept a couple of possessions alive, tipping balls to teammates on offensive rebound attempts. Three minutes later, Griffin threw down his best dunk of the night.

With no one near him in the frontcourt, following a long outlet pass from Rubio, he tossed the ball high off the backboard to himself, caught it outstretched over his head, and jammed home a right-handed tomahawk dunk.

Later, Griffin tracked down his only rebound on a wild missed 3-pointer from DeMarcus Cousins and pushed the ball ahead to Kemba Walker for a give-and-go double-pump alley-oop. It was his final points before coming out of the game for good at the 14:32 mark.

“I thought Blake was good in the beginning of the second half, and showed what he can do,” said Bulls assistant coach Ron Adams, who assisted Team Shaq. “His mastery of playing above the rim was fun to see.”

Although Griffin sat with a towel around his shoulders and legs stretched out for most of the night. There was sense that he was having a blast.

He shared a laugh with Irving after the rookie came on a double team in the first half, an unspoken no-no in an All-Star event. He joked with just about every one of his teammates and spent much of the game on the bench talking to Lin.

What were the two league-wide sensations discussing?

“We were just talking about whatever; just smart people stuff,” Griffin said with a smile. “I almost did [go to Harvard]. You know, when two intellectual people get together like that the conversation goes places.”

During a timeout late in the second half, with Team Chuck clearly on their way to victory, a video montage of the top 10 plays of the season from rookies and sophomores was displayed on the scoreboard. Of course, two of the top four belonged to Griffin.

No. 4 was an alley-oop from fellow All-Star Chris Paul to Griffin against the Rockets in early January and the obvious No. 1: Griffin’s phenomenal dunk up and over Kendrick Perkins. The slam was replayed three times and the Amway Center crowd cheered with the same kind of fervor that they had for any play in the actual game.

The reaction spoke volumes about Griffin.