The Historical Blake Griffin

SACRAMENTO — A Saturday night, two bad teams playing, and it’s impossible to leave the TV or click away from Clippers-Knicks.

That is the real Blake Griffin early season imprint, not the 44 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists in the loss to New York at Staples Center or the blasting dunks on Timofey Mozgov and Danilo Gallinari or the one-handed throw-down put-back or even the 18.5 points, 10.9 rebounds and 49.8-percent shooting on the season. The Clippers are 1-13 and have turned what should have been a favorable schedule into a nine-game losing streak and the worst record in the league, but Griffin makes them must-watch TV.

This is not a complete surprise – it was obvious on opening night that the rookie power forward was the kind of dynamic presence the beleaguered franchise needed for that very imagery as much as talent. This is his debut, though, immediately after missing an entire season with a serious knee injury, with Chris Kaman, the center who could have commanded some focus from opponents, out with an ankle injury. Griffin has done all this without much acclimation and without many veterans around him in a starting lineup forced by health issues to go ridiculously young.

Ralph Lawler, in his 32nd season as play-by-play man, said on the TV post-game show that Saturday was one of the two best performances in Los Angeles Clippers history, either Griffin against the Knicks or one of two 30-point, 20-rebound showing by Elton Brand. Reaching back to the San Diego years, Lawler pulled out names like World B. Free and Freeman Williams. It doesn’t matter that it’s the Clippers. Any franchise that has been around that long, without even getting into the Buffalo Braves days, and someone pushes his way into contention for greatest individual game, that’s a big deal.

Maybe Lawler, as unofficial historian as well as accomplished broadcaster, would think of other nominees on the drive home. Maybe he would have the chance to step back in the ensuing hours, away from the rush of the moment, and decide that Griffin was outstanding, but that there were better highlight reels with a higher degree of difficulty in the playoffs, not November against the Knicks.

Nothing changed.

Not only was the Griffin of Saturday still historically great, but among the entire Clippers timeline that started in San Diego in 1978-79. It wasn’t just a Los Angeles thing.

Lawler’s e-mail reply:

Games that come to mind –

1. Freeman Williams got his first NBA start in a game for the San Diego Clippers when World B. Free sat out a game with a phantom back injury. Jan. 19, 1980 @ Phoenix. He scored 51! Free’s back got better quickly.

2. World B. Free scored 49 for the S.D. Clippers Feb 2, 1979 a day after learning he’d been snubbed for the All-Star game. After his final goal he pranced around the court sharing high 5’s with the fans in the front row seats. It was memorable.

3. Forward Charles Smith set a franchise record of 52 points in a game against the Nuggets for the L.A. Clippers in Denver 12/1/90. I had to tell the bench when he hit 50 that he was one away from the Franchise single game record – they let him stay in to get the record-setting hoop.

All that said – I think Griffin’s performance ranks above them all. He’s a 21-year-old Rookie who was playing his 14th NBA game. The WOW Factor on his night was off the charts and he was going against a 28 year old, 5-time all-star in Amar’e Stoudemire. The points added to the rebounds, assists, steals and a blocked shot make this the Best game ever played by a Clipper player. imho

Amazing endorsement. Amazing night.

26 Comments

  1. griffin for bosh says:

    trade bosh for griffin, Heat needed much post presence nowadays , they need grit and much of all, A power forward whos playing power forward, Inside presence dude! A natural swagger without opening his mouth!

  2. Amare S. says:

    That was a great duel between me an him… kids def got some huge upside

    look forward to playing him later on

  3. Sean says:

    the person that is pretending to be superstars and posting blog comments for them needs to get a life lol

  4. Sean says:

    what the clippers need to do is get griffin signed for a longtime, i can see this guy easily being one of the top 2 players in the league in years to come, 44 points 15 rebounds and 7 assists in his 14th game? i dont know if amare has ever had a game like that in his career and hes been in the league what around 8 years now

    BLAKE GRIFFIN IS THE REAL DEAL

    and if the clippers keep their current roster and keep adding peices they will be a a playoff team in 2-3 years

  5. pat riley says:

    go to miami…

  6. Bobby says:

    I can get on board with the Clippers being a bad team because of their 1-13 record, but the Knicks have a 6-8 record. They’re far from just bad, so maybe we should think before we start writing on the official NBA site about certain teams being bad. Having said that, maybe it’s time people start giving other teams in the NBA more credit, including the Knicks, rather than considering them “bad”.

  7. lebron james says:

    we’re not doing to good this season but i got some nasty dunks with the cavs

  8. Vince Carter says:

    When he starts jumping over people, we’ll talk.

  9. […] a series of spirit-crushing dunks and had long-time Clippers play-by-play man gushing that it was the best performance ever by a Clipper. I’m trying not to get ahead of myself, especially after everyone said Brandon Jennings had ROY […]

  10. Timofey Mozgov says:

    What’s all this hype about? They lost. We won. End of story.

  11. Evan Turner says:

    Doesn’t matter. I am getting the Rookie of the Year Award. Period. Good luck to the rest of you.

  12. Yup says:

    OH ME OH MY!

    YIKES!

    and of course.. BIIINNGGOOOOO!!!

    because.. ITS THE LAW!

  13. justin says:

    @ john wall greatest thing i heard all day u aint john wall ! lmfao

  14. Dean says:

    come on guys understand this isnt about the CLIPPERS is about BLAKE GRIFFIN and how well he is playing….gotta give the guy props for playing hard out on a losing team….he said it himself he’s already lost more games this season than in his entire final year of college…KID’s a great player and definitely be one to watch…ROOKIE OF THE YEAR….definite ALL STAR….

  15. Buddy says:

    Also imagine if the Thunder win that lottery Westbrook Durant and Griffin would have just been incredible to watch

  16. Buddy says:

    That dunk that griffin just did on Mozgov imo is much better than dwade flushin down on varejao last year. This kid is ridiculous

  17. Spliftout says:

    Im a life long Lakers fan and am very happy that the Clippers have such a great talent… so when he’s a free agent we can sign him and he can win some rings !!! haha…or the Clipps build a Stadium around him and become a dynastic franchise… wouldn’t that be cool?

  18. leggomymelo says:

    @Gary the Great, dude thats what they are saying, even though his team sucks he is still doing good. they arent taking anything away from anybody else. win or lose 44 points is 44 points. and foul shots are a way of scoring so why say hes less deserving of praise because he scored at the line? … now real quick i wanna talk about bledsoe. i loved him in college (can’t stand kentucky) but i didnt see him becoming a good NBA player. hes definately proved me wrong so far. if he continues to improve and stay consistent, the clippers three core players Bledsoe, Gordon, and Griffin could potentially become a better trio than Durant, Westbrook, and Green. I don’t know why the clippers dont win more, it really does confuse me. but i gotta give props to their players for trying

  19. Gary The Great says:

    And again this is a 1-13 place team….How are they even making it to Sports Center? Espn should start showing lowlights. The Nets are probably relieved that the Clippers are making people forget how horrible they were last season. One man does not make a team…..They are saying they remind him of a young Amare why is that Amare is old or Amare is now even better than he was back then? Amare will continue to dominate….This “YOUNG MAN” has played FOURTEEN games and lost THIRTEEN of them.

  20. Gary The Great says:

    He scored a lot of points so what….The dunks were against two weak defenders Gallinari and T-Mo….If you get 23 foul shots on bullcrap calls you better score 44 points….Remember buddy Amare scored 39 points 11 rebounds….And when Amare dunked it was on Griffin…..Amare had less free- throws than him probably because the Knicks had other weapons on the floor….Remember the Knicks WON the game. When since does a person get so much accolades in a losing effort. When Gallinari went toe to toe with Carmelo he did not receive so much love. He may look like a beast but he better stop dunking and preserve those knees.

    • John Wall says:

      Dude give him Props he’s a great rookie…..well behind me of course he’s a great phenomenal player and it’s a joy to see him play.

  21. all of the “clip jokes” that we fans have heard thru the years are soon going the way of “the dodo bird”….blake is the real deal as is gordon and bledsoe….the juries out on deandre and aminu and warren….the future is bright for the clips

  22. ddddd says:

    The west is deep. Griffin is a monster. It won’t happen this year due to the clippers record and the fact that rookies generally don’t… but I imagine allstar status. He will take Tim Duncan’s spot in the annual game once TD gets too old to do it like he does. (No disrespect to Timmy… times will change unfortunately)

  23. tas says:

    I know the clippers have the worst record in the league right now.. but they got a lot of talent. obviously griffin and gordon.. but they also have eric bledsoe and aminu.. it’s not gonna happen this year but the clippers will be playing playoff basketball in 1 or 2 years.

  24. Zzanzabar says:

    I hope that those who saw the game realized that they weren’t ALL dunks! He made moves that Dwight Howard would give his eye teeth for! The kid has range, stamina, and court presence few in the game at his position have. It is too bad that he will spend his formative years with the Clippers. It is quite possible he could end up like Vince Carter, a great talent buried in a no-win situation.

    • Malcolm says:

      good review of griffin, but rather ignorant comment. if you are to say toronto and the clippers are no-win situations, then you might as well say the majority of the league is as well. should i pity chris paul, or steve nash, or dwight howard, or… the list goes on of players on teams that haven’t won it all.

      vince carter played 5 seasons in toronto. had a franchise built around him, he peaked at second round of the playoffs, one shot away from the semi finals. that’s not great, but not bad. that’s not called being buried, that’s an opportunity to lead a team.

      the clippers are historically the worst basketball franchise, but i don’t believe in curses. blake griffen is in a good situation. a young core with quality injured players. next season they will have a full roster plus a good young pick. that’s not bad. if you’re not competing rebuilding is great.