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Game #45
Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
Wednesday, January 29, 2011 - 7:30 PM (PST)

TEAM Qtr 1 Qtr 2 Qtr 3 Qtr 4 FINAL
CHA (20-26) 23 19 18 28 88
LAC (18-28) 24 33 26 20 103


The Voice of the Clippers, Ralph Lawler provides the postgame recap:

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Replay the highlights from the game heard on KFWB 980 AM!


You get the impression that Blake Griffin sometimes literally makes it up on the fly. This is not Tim Duncan sizing up his man on the wing and calmly calculating the simplest way to score. This is a player displaying his raw, unfiltered instincts again and again. Saturday night’s 103-88 win over the Charlotte Bobcats to push the home winning streak to eight games was perhaps the finest example of that yet.

Typically when you watch rookies play, you can see them think out on the court. You’ll see that moment of hesitation where they pause, where they doubt what they’re doing, where they question whether or not they’re in the right place.

Of course this has been previously established, but Griffin is not your typical rookie. He’ll leave his feet without a plan. He’ll end up in the oddest of situations. He’ll get bumped and spin, change hands, twist in every which way. But he scores. A good portion of the time you’re not sure how he managed to do it, but he does it.

Blake Griffin’s 24-point, 10-rebound performance tonight wasn’t his most impressive of the year statistically by a long shot. It won’t stick out in your head, and you probably won’t remember it past Monday morning.

But think about how Blake Griffin is getting it done. It’s not with impeccable footwork, and it’s not with a developed skill like an unstoppable jumper or an unblockable jump hook. He just jumps and tends to work it out from there.

In the first quarter, Griffin provided a prime example of that. He had a possession on the left block where he spun baseline, left his feet, did a 360 in the air, and ended up on the other side of the rim for a layup plus the foul.

“Oh, that was…I didn't know what to do, I kind of went back on my heels,” Randy Foye said. “When he did that move it was sick."

Sometimes the prettiest plays are the ones born from spontaneity. Plans are overrated, anyway.

“No,” Griffin answered when asked if he had a plan when he left his feet. “After I spun off my man, I saw somebody else come. I didn't see who it was, I just saw his feet, so I just tried to jump into him, turn, and get a shot off."

You see things like that and the only thing you can do is shake your head. It’s easy to say that no coach has ever taught Griffin to do that, simply because no coach (or any other human being) can do that.

There was more from the first quarter. On another possession, Griffin missed, got his rebound, missed again, got his rebound again, then powered through a foul for the score. Griffin might as well have been playing against himself, as no defender was anywhere close to him when he was jumping for his misses. It was the grown-up, professional version of keep-away. Staples Center was Blake Griffin’s personal schoolyard, and the whole sequence seemed unfair more than anything else.

How about the possession where Blake Griffin treated his own baseline like a line of scrimmage? As the defensive rebound came down to Ike Diogu, Griffin sprinted up the court like a tight-end running his route. Diogu essentially the snapped the ball to Randy Foye, who dropped back for the pass and saw #32 in white separating himself from a pack of defenders running up court. As Foye launched the ball somewhere in the general direction of the rim from about 62-feet away from the bucket, Griffin skied over everyone to snatch it and flush it down.

Sometimes there isn’t even an element of surprise to it all. With the game in hand and the Clippers looking for that last nail in the coffin, Griffin posted his defender up on the left block. When he feigned a slip to the rim, the 18,332 in attendance seemed to collectively “oooh” together in excitement and then disappointment when the backdoor roll never came to fruition.

But Griffin isn’t one to leave fans disappointed, so he decided to spin backdoor anyway. The pass was on the mark from Baron Davis (12 points, 11 assists), and despite everyone in the arena knowing it was coming, Griffin finished in another atmosphere for the points that would seal it.

Run, jump, dunk. If Griffin can lead the drumming of the Charlotte Bobcats without Eric Gordon and without a host of legitimate post moves, what’s he going to look like when he further develops? What will it look like when he has the footwork, the jumper, and everything else that comes with time?

If you think he looks good now – just wait. Scary as it may sound, Blake Griffin is only scratching the surface.

Game Notes

Another night in the starting lineup led to another solid performance from Randy Foye. Foye set a season-high with 21 points, including four made 3-pointers. There were some questions about who would step up in Eric Gordon’s absence, but Foye has embraced the scoring role in a big way thus far.

Probably the Clippers best possession of the night, Blake Griffin ridiculousness excluded, was the ball swinging around the perimeter after a double-team and a beautiful extra pass from Ryan Gomes to find a wide open Brian Cook in the corner for a 3. The Clippers hit 11 shots from behind the arc on the game, while Charlotte went just 3-for-13.

The Clippers held Charlotte to 40 percent shooting from the field and set a new season-low for turnovers with just 6 on the evening. Charlotte has a lot of players that thrive in chaos, but the Clippers controlled the game all the way through.


Randy Foye

RE: Performance versus the Bobcats

“I was feeling pretty good tonight. I just need to continue to play, to keep working, and never be satisfied.”

Blake Griffin

RE: Clippers’ execution on offense

“We had seven turnovers for the game for seven points. That is unbelievable. I think that might be the best game we’ve had. We just took care of the ball, executed, and played pretty good defense.”

Del Negro
Vinny Del Negro

RE: Overall evaluation of win versus the Bobcats

“It was a good win for us. I thought we moved the ball better tonight. They got us on the glass a little bit by being physical with their frontline, especially against our second unit. Mistakes beat you in this league, luckily we had enough of a cushion where we could weather it a little bit down the stretch.”




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