Griffin dominates in Clippers’ win over WarriorsSunday, Jan 23, 2011
LOS ANGELES (AP)—Blake Griffin(notes) is more than just slam dunks, rebounds and highlight reel fodder for YouTube and the NBA’s marketing machine. The 21-year-old rookie has blossomed into a multidimensional player who also can distribute the ball and make an occasional 3-point shot when necessary.
Griffin hit the go-ahead 3-pointer in the final minute to cap a 30-point effort, tied a career high with 18 rebounds and established another with eight assists to lead the Los Angeles Clippers to a 113-109 victory over the Golden State Warriors on Saturday night.
The Clippers won for the 12th time in 17 games and extended their home winning streak to seven—their longest since a seven-game stretch during the 2004-05 season.
“We’ve done a good job of turning things around as a team, and I’m really proud of my teammates and the way we’ve stuck together,” Griffin said. “We went through a real tough patch at the beginning of the season, and this says a lot about us because we kept on learning and we kept on fighting. Everybody knows their roles and what they’re supposed to do. It’s just a matter of following through.”
The anticipation of the 6-foot-10 forward’s first NBA triple-double began in earnest when he grabbed an offensive rebound and kicked the ball out to Eric Gordon(notes) for a 3-pointer that increased the Clippers’ lead to 76-65 with 7:39 left in the third quarter. Griffin never got the two assists he needed after returning to the floor for the final 6:21 following a brief rest. Still, he finished with seven or more for the sixth time.
“I had no idea I needed two more at the time, but somebody told me after the game,” Griffin said. “I take a lot of pride in that. It’s important to get your teammates involved, and I thought we did a pretty good job of distributing the ball.”
Gordon scored 23 points, all of them before a bruised lower back temporarily forced him out of the game with 4:44 left in the third quarter and Los Angeles leading 77-67. Baron Davis(notes) had just seven points and six assists in 28 minutes against his former club after getting in early foul trouble.
Gordon, the Clippers’ leading scorer, collided in the air with center Andris Biedrins(notes) after driving the lane for an attempted layup and landed hard on his back. He spent several anxious moments on the floor, then made both of his free throws and played another 17 seconds before going to the dressing room for treatment. He missed almost 14 minutes while getting treatment, then returned for the final 2:45.
“Whenever you get up in the air, you never know how you’re going to land,” Gordon said. “It was scary. It just felt like a quick sharp pain, but I think I’ll be all right in a couple of days since I came back and played. I didn’t really think I’d be able to, but after a while when the pain started calming down and I saw the game getting close, I thought I should come back.”
Point guard Monta Ellis(notes), who entered Saturday third in the NBA in points and steals, and first in minutes played, had 17 points and four assists in 42 minutes after spraining his left ankle in the final minute of a 119-112 overtime win against Sacramento on Friday night.
Trailing by 10 after Davis’ 3-pointer with 5:05 to play, the Warriors pulled even with a 13-3 run, capped by Dorell Wright’s(notes) two free throws with 1:11 left. But Griffin hit his clutch 3-pointer with 46.5 seconds to go and Randy Foye(notes) made five of six free throws in the final 24.5 seconds to help close it out.
“I thought we played pretty poorly the whole game, but somehow found a way to make a couple of runs to get back into it,” Curry said. “Blake had a great game and hit that huge shot.”
Griffin, the only player to start and appear in all 43 games for the Clippers, powered them to a 65-56 halftime lead with 16 points, eight rebounds and seven assists.
Griffin, who is scheduled to compete in the All-Star slam dunk contest next month at Staples Center, got the sellout crowd of 19,373 on its feet with a two-handed dunk over the back of his head after getting an alley-oop feed from rookie Eric Bledsoe(notes) on a fast break early in the second quarter.
He’s done so much already, perhaps it isn’t that far-fetched that Griffin can earn a spot on the All-Star team.
“It’s not something that’s on my mind that much,” Griffin said. “If it happens, it would be awesome and I’d be truly thankful. But at the same time, I realize there’s a lot of guys that deserve to be there. So if it doesn’t happen, hopefully I’ll have more years to try to achieve that goal.”
NOTES: Griffin is 6 for 10 on 3-pointers. … The victory put the Clippers over the .500 mark at home for the first time this season (14-13). … Griffin, whose Clippers-record streak of double-doubles ended at 27 games Wednesday night in a victory over Minnesota, got back on track in that regard Thursday night with 20 points and a 18 rebounds in a 108-93 loss at Portland. … Griffin began the day fourth in the league in rebounding with a 12.8 average. Among rookies, he was first in scoring, rebounding and minutes; and second in field goal percentage behind New Jersey’s Derrick Favors(notes). … Gordon, who had a career-high seven 3-pointers against Portland, missed all three shots from behind the arc.