HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Between bites on Thanksgiving night we hope you tuned into the Blake Griffin Show.
And what a show it was.
Two straight wins for Griffin’s Los Angeles Clippers have been the backdrop for some of the more ridiculous, jaw-dropping power dunking exploits seen around these parts since Shawn Kemp was in his prime.
Don’t just take it from us. Everyone else agrees. Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal and even LeBron James were all watching last night on TNT, when Griffin tried to stuff the Sacramento Kings into the basket every chance he got in a 100-82 win.
Griffin was the talk of the Twitterverse, with fans, elders and even his peers jabbering about his latest round of highlight plays. Lisa Dillman of the Los Angeles Times captured the essence of the evening perfectly while also pointing out that Griffin is much more than just a highlight machine we’ve nicknamed “Blake-zilla” here at the hideout:
Griffin was much more than a dunking highlight film Thursday night at Staples Center in leading the Clippers to their third win of the season. He had his ninth double-double of the season, nearly getting it in the first half with 15 points and nine rebounds.
The overall numbers: Griffin had 25 points and 15 rebounds and five assists, connecting well with Eric Gordon, who had a game-high 28 points along with six assists.
Griffin seemed almost embarrassed when told about the compliments from O’Neal and James. “That’s pretty cool,” he said. “I appreciate that. I still have a lot of work to do, but I appreciate they say those things. I still have a lot of work to do before I’m where I want to be.”
Fellow rookie Al-Farouq Aminu had 12 points and the Clippers’ third rookie in the starting lineup, point guard Eric Bledsoe, had six points and four assists, and more important, did not commit his first turnover until there was 3:25 remaining.
It was the first time the Clippers have won consecutive games since they won three in a row last season, from Feb. 20-24. But Coach Vinny Del Negro was not pleased with their early energy, saying he addressed it in an early timeout with his “Italian, subtle way.”
Griffin has been playing with an even greater purpose since the Clippers were blown out last week at Indiana, 107-80. He declared afterward that “something has to change.”
And it has. The Clippers (3-13) have won two of three games since then, and Griffin has had double-doubles in all three, starting with that 44-point explosion against the Knicks on Saturday.
Griffin was so good that we almost didn’t notice basketball crime scene that the Sacramento Kings have become. We had such high hopes for a Tyreke Evans–DeMarcus Cousins combo that we didn’t notice the Kings’ have some serious chemistry issues to work out before they can even pretend to be a factor in the Western Conference.
If anything, the Clippers have the far more promising crew, right now, with Griffin, Gordon, Aminu and Bledsoe as the core pieces in their youth movement.
It’s much too early to go predicting who will win an award that won’t be handed out for months.
But we know who we are keeping an eye on at all times …
TNT’s Thanksgiving night doubleheader also provided us with a primetime glimpse of the other leader in the Rookie of the Year race. But John Wall is clearly not feeling like himself these days.
The Wizards were pummeled by the Hawks at Philips Arena. They stumbled upon a desperate team with much more talent they possess at this current time.
It certainly didn’t help that the Hawks were trying to snap a three-game losing streak and fresh off of a players only team meeting, which no doubt aided the efforts of Joe Johnson, Josh Smith and Al Horford and the rest of the Hawks, who stole the top spots in the Top Plays:
If the Thanksgiving night slate didn’t satisfy your appetite (and the TNT Inside crew was pretty vocal as to how they felt about the matchups), you are in luck. We have a 12-game plate of leftovers, complete with all the fixings, that will be served up this evening.
And that includes a Los Angeles Lakers-Utah Jazz game at 9.m. ET (League Pass) that is sure to deliver on the hype.