Blake Griffin competed in the T-Mobile Rookie Challenge, Sprite Dunk Contest, and 60th NBA All-Star Game in a weekend only to have to bury a friend on Monday. He then returned to play on Tuesday to take a big loss from the Thunder.
The Los Angeles Clippers (21-36) opened the second half of the season going back to Blake Griffins’ home town Oklahoma City to face the Thunder (36-19). Griffin received a hearty ovation when he was introduced as a starter for the Clippers during the opening game introductions. The game was second meeting of the season and with the Thunder pulling off a victory the season series is now split 1-1.
Griffin opened up the first quarter with eight straight points pushing the Clippers to a 10-6 lead, but Thunder called a timeout. The Thunder took a 18-17 lead with 2:58 left in the period, but both teams battled it out to end the quarter in a 23 all tie.
Harden opened the third quarter with a 3-pointer to take 26-32 lead, but the Clippers tied the game at 35. The Thunder got the lead with 27-11 run to end the quarter with a 62-46 lead going into halftime with a 16 point lead.
Griffin scored 28 points with 11 rebounds and eight assists as no one else on his team scored more than 20 points behind him. Randy Foye scored 12 points along with Al-Farouq Aminu who also scored 12 points. Eric Bledsoe scored 13 points off the bench and Chris Kaman scored eight points in just his second game since coming off of injury.
Jeff Green led the Thunder with 22 points and Kevin Durant added 21 points and eight rebounds. Russell Westbrook scored 13 points and seven assists. James Harden has a big game for the Thunder off the bench with 19 points and Serge Ibaka grabbed 10 rebounds to go with six points.
The Clippers opened the third quarter trying to keep pace with the Thunder, but could not get stops to get the game closer than eleven. The Thunder kept the Clippers at bay and took their lead to 12 until Bledsoe hit a 3-pointer to knock it down to nine, but Durant’s jumper pushed it up to eleven going into the fourth quarter.
Harden and Green kicked off the fourth quarter with back to back 3-pointers and at one point had a 21 point lead. Griffin sat on the bench and the Thunder went on a 15-0 run to close out the game. With the game out of control and no way for the Clippers to get back in it, Durant and Westbrook sat the entire period. The Clippers sat their entire starting line-up with 3:20 left and the reserves played the rest of the game.
Griffin grew up in Oklahoma City where he won four straight state titles and was named a McDonald's All-American. He then went down the road at the University of Oklahoma playing two seasons and being selected the college player of the year.