Los Angeles Clippers
MVP: On his 25th birthday, Blake Griffin celebrated by flirting with a near triple-double against the Cavaliers. He had 21 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists to help lead the Clippers to their 11th straight win.
X factor: Griffin wasn’t the only Clipper celebrating his birthday on Sunday. So was Reggie Bullock, who turned 23 years old. The rookie christened the day by scoring a career-high 14 points (5-for-9 shooting) off the bench.
That was … scary: Late in the first quarter, Kyrie Irving injured himself after colliding with Griffin during a Clippers offensive possession. Irving was forced to leave the game and was later diagnosed with a left bicep injury.
– Eddy Rivera
Tweet(s) Of The Game
— Cork Gaines (@CorkGaines) March 17, 2014
Doc Rivers just let D. Jordan shoot a technical free throw. Awesome.
— Haralabos Voulgaris (@haralabob) March 17, 2014
Back in the day, everyone got free Fatburgers when the Clippers scored 100 points. Not quite the same expenditure it would be today.
— charlie widdoes (@charliewiddoes) March 17, 2014
The Depth Charge
|Ryan Hollins, C||1||0-0||0-0||2-2||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||+2||2|
|Hedo Turkoglu, PF||10||0-3||0-1||0-0||0||2||2||2||0||0||0||1||-2||0|
|Big Baby, PF||15||1-5||0-0||1-2||4||3||7||0||1||0||1||3||-3||2|
ClipperBlog Live’s Best Moment
Fred, Andrew and Patrick talk Reggie Bullock, what the deal with Cleveland is and how long Blake Griffin can fend off Anthony Davis.
Check Your Messages
Reggie and the Full Effect
With the Clippers short on wings, Reggie Bullock got some extra minutes. You could call it a birthday gift — Bullock turned 23 Sunday — but the beneficiary was the team. The rookie scored a career high 14 points on an efficient 9 field goal attempts, he moved well off the ball, and carried himself with what looked like newfound composure. Plus he earned a podium-spot beside Chris Paul at the post-game presser. Granted it’s unlikely that Bullock sees another 26 minutes of play after Jamal Crawford and (potentially) J.J. Redick return to the lineup. But his game tonight is certainly one to grow on.
- Patrick James
The starters secured a big lead with their defense, but the sans point guard bench looked a bit shaky and let the Cavs come back too easily at the start of the fourth. For all the talk about Willie Green being the old reliable Swiss army knife, the “bring the ball up and run the offense” tool isn’t his sharpest.
But through the second quarter, the bench added to the lead by doing a couple of things each very well: Davis grabbed rebounds just by turning around, Hedo made the right pass and pulled Varejao away from the paint, Granger posted up against Jack or, like Bullock, made jumpers. The bigs did a reasonable job rotating, even though they look like they couldn’t rotate a merry-go-round with enough speed to please a six year old, and Bullock and Granger have the size to bother most wing players. The team’s sixth and seventh men were missing, but still, this was a promising outing from the multi-tool bench.
- J.D. Evans
Blake Griffin’s passing ability, specifically lobs to Jordan, is simply exceptional. Seriously, this is the best four-to-five passing game in the NBA, and the Cavaliers were hit twice by the recognition of the Lob City big men.
The first exhibition of Griffin’s skill and chemistry with Jordan came within two minutes of the opening tip. Luol Deng airmailed a corner three, allowing Griffin to hand the rebound off to Paul. Jordan immediately took off down the court, keeping Tristan Thompson on his hip. Paul advanced to Griffin, who took one dribble inside the arc to attract Spencer Hawes. Griffin set Hawes up, and Jordan beat Thompson to the rim to finish the lob from Griffin.
Later in the second quarter, Griffin again got Hawes to bite with a dribble, this time after Willie Green grabbed an offensive rebound. With Cleveland scattered and Hawes out of position, Griffin hit another short dribble before flipping it up to Jordan for the elevator finish.
Griffin finished with eight assists, and the Clippers had 32 assists against only seven turnovers tonight versus Cleveland. Griffin’s passing and decision-making combine with Jordan’s active athleticism to form a gold standard of interior offense in the NBA.
- Lawrence Murray
It’s a common occurrence in Clipperland these days: Blake Griffin pushing the ball in transition, launching an immediate counter strike to the previous events. One subtle difference that’s started to settle in the past few games is Griffin no longer forcing the issue 1-on-3, or even 1-on-2.
Several times tonight, Blake had fastbreak opportunities where only a guard and other shuffled in front of him, 20-feet from the basket. Previously, he’d barrel through the defenders, or put them in the spin cycle, or leap over them, or any other number of things a hyper-athlete does. Nowadays, Griffin slows it down and brings it back out, cognizant of the turnover potential and opponent’s opportunity to ignite a counter break.
There’s a time to shape a break and a time to shatter it. Blake makes those decisions in an instant.
- Andrew Han