As superstars for their respective Los Angeles teams, Kobe Bryant(notes) and Blake Griffin(notes) were very complimentary of each other during All-Star weekend. It’s safe to say the feelings may not be the same between Griffin and Bryant’s Lakers teammate, Lamar Odom(notes).
The Staples Center co-tenants had a feisty confrontation in their most recent meeting last month, and the Clippers will have an entirely different backcourt Friday night after trading Baron Davis(notes).
Bryant and Griffin were the headliners during All-Star weekend in Los Angeles. Griffin won the slam dunk contest and Bryant earned his fourth All-Star game MVP award while also praising his younger counterpart.
“I love Blake, man,” Bryant said. “This summer, I got a chance to get to know him a little bit because we were doing therapy at the same place, so we were sitting next to each other most of the time and got a chance to kind of talk, when nobody is around.”
With 5.7 seconds left, Griffin slammed aggressively into Odom’s back while seeking position for a possible rebound. Odom grabbed Griffin’s jersey and verbally expressed his displeasure.
“Maybe I overreacted, but I just feel like if you’re up 9, a ram in the back at that point?” Odom said after the game. “Any other time, I get it. You play hard, you’re strong, whatever, but the ram in the back (while) up 9? I don’t get it, so I’m just going to have to react.”
Griffin ducked his head and tried to walk away from the confrontation. That’s when Davis shoved Odom firmly in the chest, leading to both teams circling under the hoop.
“There’s never a situation where I’m not going to go to the glass,” Griffin said. “I would think of all people, (Odom) would know that.”
The Clippers got 30 points from Eric Gordon(notes) and 14 from Davis in that game, but neither will play Friday. Gordon remains out with a sprained right wrist while Davis and a 2011 first-round draft pick were traded to Cleveland on Thursday for guard Mo Williams(notes) and forward Jamario Moon(notes).
“Mo Williams is a 28-year-old All-Star whose skill set not only complements our frontcourt players but is an excellent running mate with Eric Gordon on both ends of the floor,” vice president of basketball operations Neil Olshey said. “Jamario is an elite athlete that can play multiple positions and will help us improve defensively.”
It’s not clear if Williams and Moon will be available Friday for the Clippers, who have not played at Staples Center since Feb. 2 and are coming off back-to-back losses to Oklahoma City and New Orleans. They have consecutive games against the NBA finalists this weekend, hosting Boston on Saturday.
The Lakers have captured both games since the All-Star break, winning 106-101 in overtime at Portland on Wednesday. Bryant scored 37 points to help his team rally from 10 down with 5:49 left in the fourth quarter.
“This was truly a playoff type of test, because of the crowd and things weren’t going our way,” Bryant said.
The Clippers have won three of the last five meetings with the Lakers, who will be the home team Friday. The Lakers have won the last six home matchups.