Would you believe me if I told you that Blake Griffin missed what The Associated Press' Jon Krawczynski called a "wide-open, uncontested dunk" in the first quarter of the Los Angeles Clippers' matchup with the Minnesota Timberwolves on Thursday night? Of course you wouldn't. "Blake Griffin dunks on everyone all the time, and he is at the very top of the latest Dunk-O-Meter readings, which is science," you'd say. "Boy, I wish you'd quit being such a dumb liar, Dan."
Hey, man, take it easy, OK? Don't get so bent out of shape about this. Besides, I'm not lying — I can prove it, thanks to our friends at the Yahoo! Sports Minute. Behold:
Don't beat yourself up about it, Blake. I mean, if there's anything we can all relate to, it's the feeling of soaring through the air like a majestic eagle in front of thousands of people, trying to decide whether to effortlessly dunk a basketball with one hand or effortlessly dunk a basketball with two hands, and getting kind of caught up in the middle. It's a tale as old as time and a song as old as rhyme.
The first-quarter gaffe didn't derail Griffin or the Clippers. The second-year power forward finished with 19 points (9-of-16 shooting), 13 rebounds and five assists — his 36th double-double of the season, tying him with Andrew Bynum for fourth-most in the NBA on the season, behind Minnesota's Kevin Love and Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic — to pace L.A. to a 95-82 win over Minnesota. The reeling Wolves, playing without the concussed Love, continued a remarkable stretch of 24 straight defeats in the month of April dating back to 2009, and were mathematically eliminated from postseason contention with the loss.
Vinny Del Negro's team, on the other hand, is rolling and may be peaking at the right time. Winning in Minneapolis one night after Griffin's running buddy Chris Paul iced matters late against the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Clippers have rebounded from a post-All-Star break 6-10 spiral to win 10 of their last 12 games. The surge has kept them both hot on the heels of the Los Angeles Lakers in the Pacific Division and just ahead of the Memphis Grizzlies in the race for home-court advantage in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs, so L.A.'s longtime little brother must be feeling pretty good about its form with just seven games remaining before the start of its first postseason appearance since 2006.
Still, though, it wouldn't be too surprising if Blake wanted to get the bad taste of the missed dunk out of his mouth when the Clippers next take the floor, which will be Friday night against the Golden State Warriors. If I were David Lee and Jeremy Tyler, I think I'd watch my back (no Pau Gasol).
Is the clip above not working for you? Feel free to peruse the miss elsewhere, thanks to our friends at the National Basketball Association.