That’s how Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich characterized Blake Griffin after the Clippers’ 93-90 over the Spurs in San Antonio Wednesday night. “He deserved to be picked where he was picked, that’s for sure. He’s a heck of a competitor.”
As always, it’s tough to evaluate basketball without visual aids, but here are some general observations:
- Aforementioned monster scored 23 points on 10-for-14 shooting from the field and zero turnovers. He went 3-for-4 on shot attempts outside the key, 3-for-4 from the line, and gobbled up seven rebounds.
- With the Clippers up a single point with five seconds to play, DeAndre Jordan stepped to the line for two free throws — and hit them both. Preseason or not, don’t underestimate the confidence that comes with pulling that off with the game on the line in a visiting arena.
- Al Thornton put together a great performance off the bench: 18 points on 8-for-11 shooting. Four of the eight shots came in the immediate basket area and only three of those 11 attempts came beyond 15 feet — something you like to see. The other member of the small forward platoon, Rasual Butler, had a far less productive night: 1-for-7 in 25 minutes.
- Gregg Popovich game significant minutes to 14 players, while Mike Dunleavy rested Marcus Camby, Chris Kaman and Eric Gordon. Sebastian Telfair is still nursing a sore right hamstring.
- Blake Griffin, from the AP recap: “It was cool,” Griffin said of his first-quarter, head-to-head matchup with perennial All-NBA post Tim Duncan. “I’ve watched him for as long as I can remember, since I was 8 years old and he was in his first year in the league. It was really cool to go up against him.”
- Clippers’ defensive efficiency for the game: 87.4. The defensive rotations sounded tight.