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LeBron Who? Blake Griffin Is King in L.A.

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COMMENTARY | LeBron James isn't coming to the Los Angeles Clippers because Blake Griffin is already here.

This simple truism stems mostly from salary-cap considerations and a team can only have so many max players, but the latest rumors being tossed about wantonly are even more absurd because of Griffin's awesome play of late. Kia jokes are no longer relevant.

Discussions about his toughness are passé and even though he still uses his off hand a shield on his signature jams, we'll let that slide for now. Blake is currently en vogue and rightly so.

Last night, the Clippers fell short to the defending champion Miami Heat after an inspired comeback. With under a minute to go, LeBron James drew a charge on Jamal Crawford, who, in a failed attempt at hero ball, neglected to pass to a wide-open Griffin, who was curling on the wing.

Crawford's myopic focus on getting buckets is to be expected, but it did effectively rob Griffin of his chance to get his team into overtime. Griffin did manage to knock in a desperation three as the clock trudged ever closer to zero, but the remaining possessions of the game devolved into a free-throw shooting contest that the Heat ultimately won.

Beast Mode Blake

Griffin couldn't be more superhuman on a night where "Griffin Force" capes flooded the Staples Center. Although in vain, that three-pointer brought Griffin to a hefty total of 43 points to go along with 15 rebounds and six assists -- a worthy encore to his 36-11-4 stat line that he posted in Denver on Monday. By getting these gaudy numbers on a national stage against the Heat, Griffin may have finally quelled the most virulent of haters.

If you've ever attended a Clippers game, you would know that even though Chris Paul is the consensus best point guard in the known universe, Blake Griffin is the last man announced during the starting lineups. The Clippers have always fancied Griffin their franchise player over Paul -- and they should. He has almost single-handedly brought them to relevancy through the sheer power of his dunks and off beat charisma.

Now, it finally feels as if his play has caught up to the lofty expectations that have been levied on him.

A True Contender

In a tough Western Conference, this period with Paul nursing a bum shoulder was supposed to set the Clips back, but they've managed to stay afloat, going 11-6 in his absence. Neither the Warriors nor the Suns have been able to dislodge the Clippers from the top of the Pacific Division, and Griffin's leadership and ability to distribute have been on full display.

This midseason foray without Paul dominating the ball will come in handy in the spring. Teams that focus on stifling Paul won't immediately stall the Clippers' offense like last season and advancing past the first round seems a lot more certain.

The wild speculation about LeBron considering the Clippers as a possible destination at the end of the season is asinine. Of course, any team would love to have the services of the King, but these rumors are not only ridiculous from LeBron's perspective but from the Clippers' as well. We can't clairvoyantly peer into LeBron's psyche but it seems staying put in Miami would be best for James, the Heat, and every other team with delusions of grandeur wasting its time believing it can woo James with some level of celebrity that he hasn't already attained.

Instead of worrying about courting James, the Clippers should be (and probably are) searching for someone to guard James and the numerous talented swingman that currently populate the league. Defensive improvement at the shooting guard and small forward positions is the last step for the team to contend, especially with Griffin taking his game to new heights.

The Clippers can make a move at the trade deadline to fill that void or stand pat with their current roster -- either way, Griffin will be leading the charge.

Brandon lives in Los Angeles and watches sports more than a normal person should. He was written and podcasted for SLAMonline, and is a former Los Angeles Clippers Intern.

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