BLEDSOE’S BLOCK AMONG EARLY SEASON’S BEST HIGHLIGHTS
Eric Bledsoe chased down superstar Dwyane Wade and rejected his dunk attempt in the second quarter of Wednesday night’s 107-100 win by the Clippers. The play was the highlight of the game, and drew attention from a variety of places across the internet. For Bledsoe, it was all about simply erasing a turnover.
One of the highlights of the early season occurred because Eric Bledsoe hates turnovers.
After Jamal Crawford lost the ball attempting to find Matt Barnes cutting baseline in the second quarter, Heat guard Dwyane Wade swiped it and broke down the floor for what appeared to be a breakaway dunk.
That’s when Bledsoe intervened.
Wade, who was playing with a sprained left foot, took off from about two steps inside the free throw line on the left side of the lane for a right-handed slam. Bledsoe beat him down the floor, though, stalking the eight-time All-Star before pouncing to meet him at the rim.
“That’s what I do [we] turned the ball over and I just try to get it back,” Bledsoe said. “Dwyane is a great dunker. I just tried to get the ball back.”
What happened next was slightly more explosive and momentous than getting the ball back. Bledsoe flew in, avoided contact with Wade’s body and forcefully denied the dunk attempt with his right hand as he tumbled to the floor.
The Heat possession feebly continued with Norris Cole’s layup getting swatted away by Ryan Hollins and ended when Cole launched an air-ball from 3-point range that sailed out of bounds.
After the game Bledsoe was asked how many text messages he had received about the play. The understated budding star, grinned and said, “I haven’t checked yet, but my teammates [are] enough.”
The way his teammates react to his plays have become somewhat of a story in its own right. Typically, when Bledsoe is in the game it is as a member of the as of yet unnamed five-man bench unit that is averaging 40.8 points per game. Whether it comes after a Jamal Crawford crossover, a Hollins alley-oop, or a game-altering block by Bledsoe, the starters are amongst the Clippers’ biggest cheerleaders.
On Wednesday, they were on their feet, waving towels and screaming after Bledsoe’s play. The Staples Center crowd “oohed and awed” when it was replayed in-arena in the fourth quarter. Twitter-verse took notice with remarks about the chase-down block trending at No. 5 in the United States. NBA.com named it the “block of the night.” And even Wade, who is among the best shot-blocking guards in the league, took notice.
“Bledsoe is very good,” Wade said. "He’s really coming into his own with his athletic abilities and his penetration.”
For Bledsoe, the blocked shot was still just about making up for a turnover. “In the past, when I would turn the ball over I’d give up on the play, but now I’m just trying to play through it.”
Here are some reactions on Twitter from reporters who were in attendance Wednesday:
Eric Bledsoe with a world-class block of a Wade dunk try. You'll see it all over the the place tomorrow.
— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) November 15, 2012
Bledsoe's block of Wade's breakaway dunk was only No. 9 in Top Plays? Sorry, it was better than a Jeff Green dunk.
— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) November 15, 2012
That Bledsoe block will end up in the year-end highlights for block of the year
— Eric Pincus (@EricPincus) November 15, 2012
Best block-shot guard of all time (D-Wade): Meet best block-shot guard of the new era (Bledsoe)
— Kevin Arnovitz (@kevinarnovitz) November 15, 2012