Tag:Game Changer
Posted on: January 26, 2011 12:13 pm
Edited on: January 26, 2011 12:30 pm
 

Game Changer 1.26.11: Beatdowns and takedowns

Beatdowns, takedowns, and shakedowns all in today's Game Changer. 
Posted by Matt Moore

Each game is made up of elements which help formulate the outcome. Monday through Friday, we'll bring you the elements from the night before's games in our own specialized version of the game recaps. It's not everything that happened, but it's an insight into what lead to the results you'll see in the box scores. This is the Game Changer.   

THE BIG ONE: L.A. beat the crap out of Utah


I have no other way of discussing this. None. Utah was overwhelmed in every facet of the game to the furthest degree. It wasn't the Cavaliers game, but it was pretty embarrassing. But don't take my word for it. From Silver Screen and Roll on the SBNation Network:
The cushion reached 17 in the first quarter, 28 at halftime and 33 late in the third. Utah never made a run that was even mildly threatening. That the game got out of reach early meant plenty of garbagio time for the scrubs, who did some nice things of their own. Luke Walton made all four of his shots (seriously?), Devin Ebanks buried a step-back three, and Derrick Caracterflashed some aggressive D at the rim. Top grades all around!

As a team the Lakers made 68% of their twos and 44% of their threes - easily their best shooting night of the season. They also did a great job of getting to the free-throw line, a direct result of their relentlessness in attacking Utah's sluggish team D. The Lakers were just faster to every spot on the floor, which forced the Jazz to clutch and grab all night long.
via Lakers 120, Jazz 91: Wire to Wire Ownage - Silver Screen and Roll .

Yeah, that's pretty much how that went. The Jazz' defense is completely out of sorts right now. Al Jefferson was atrocious, and he's going to have to be the difference maker if that team is going to go anywhere. Granted, in years past, the Jazz would fire out strong in January then fade in April, so maybe this year will be the reverse, but at some point, the Jazz have to be concerned of how far they're going to fall in the standings and who they'll wind up facing in the first round. Because if it's the Lakers, at this point you have to assume that's going to be a pretty quick series. 

GO-GO-GADGET LINE OF THE NIGHT:

Kwame Brown: 13 points, 18 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 1 block Wait, Kwame Brown?!

Runner-Up:

Pau Gasol: 20 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists

FLAGRANT OR NO FLAGRANT?

Brendan Haywood gave Blake Griffin an elbow contusion with this takedown. Haywood says it's not a flagrant. What do you think?


Posted on: January 25, 2011 4:58 am
Edited on: January 25, 2011 11:08 am
 

Game Changer 1.25.11: Hornets get it done

Detroit takes a perimeter attack, CP3 overwhelms with help, and Ruy Gay saves the day, all in today's Game Changer. 
Posted by Matt Moore

Each game is made up of elements which help formulate the outcome. Monday through Friday, we'll bring you the elements from the night before's games in our own specialized version of the game recaps. It's not everything that happened, but it's an insight into what lead to the results you'll see in the box scores. This is the Game Changer.   

THE BIG ONE: Detroit wings it to victory

You know? If the Pistons can get past their coach screwing with their rotations, their chemistry, and their play, and somehow manage to rely on the talent they have on this roster? This team ain't bad.  Austin Daye was the real hero here, and the youngster is proving that he's a big part of the Pistions' future. 20 points on 5-9 shooting, including 4-4 from the arc and 7 rebounds for Daye. Tayshaun Prince started at small forward, and added 20 points of his own, along with 6 assists, and Tracy McGrady had 20 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists. That's right. The Pistons got 60 points from three small forwards in this game. Hedo Turkoglu, Jason Richardson, and Quentin Richardson combined for 15 points. When you lose a position battle by 45? Dwight Howard's 7 offensive boards aren't going to help much.

The Magic had five players out of their nine-man rotation with at least two turnovers, while the Pistons had just two out of their ten-man. Throw in some hot shooting from outside and the Pistons brought the Heat. Big win for the Pistons who continue to have one of the oddest seasons in memory. And guess what?

At 17-28, they're a game and a half back of the playoffs. Weird. 

THE N'ORLEANS HOMEFRONT: Victory through swarm

Trevor Ariza got busy . Ariza swarmed Kevin Durant down the stretch and it was one terrible shot after another, only this time he wasn't hitting any miracles. The Hornets threw multiple waves of pressure to keep the ball out of Russell Westbrook's hand after he had torched the Hornets time after time in this game, and in the end, it was David West's off-balance pivot jumper that won it for New Orleans. 

The Hornets at once seemed completely out-manned in this one and certifiably in control. Basically, whenever David West, Emeka Okafor, or Chris Paul got involved, they looked like the better squad, and when anyone else got involved it was not so much the case. Marcus Thornton was nice, if you think 10 points on 12 shots is nice, but in reality, none of the Hornets outside the Big 3 mattered much. What was relevant was a long stretch in the second and third quarter when Scott Brooks gave Eric Maynor the reins and watched as Chris Paul sliced him into roast beef. Maynor was simply not in a position to defend the MVP candidate, and it showed. 

A key play down the stretch saw Chris Paul steal the inbounds with the game tied, then come crashing down to the floor holding his ankle. Paul would walk it off, though. David West continues his reliable play and you have to think he and Okafor will determine how far this team goes in the playoffs. Okafor was at times brilliant, and at times extremely vulnerable as the Thunder crashed the glass time after time.  The Thunder held an 8% advantage in percentage of available offensive boards collected. 

Jeff Green had 19 points and wreaked havoc on the Hornets but had no shots in the final 3:16. 

GO-GO-GADGET LINE OF THE NIGHT:

Kevin Love: 24 points, 17 rebounds, 7 assists

Runner-Up:  Tyreke Evans: 26 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists

HERO OF THE DAY: RG doin' work


Posted on: January 25, 2011 4:50 am
Edited on: January 25, 2011 5:03 am
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Posted on: January 21, 2011 11:47 am
Edited on: January 21, 2011 12:17 pm
 

The Game Changer: Portland keeps fighting

Posted by Royce Young

Each game is made up of elements which help formulate the outcome. Monday through Friday, we'll bring you the elements from the night before's games in our own specialized version of the game recaps. It's not everything that happened, but it's an insight into what lead to the results you'll see in the box scores. This is the Game Changer.  

THE BIG ONE: CLIPS LEAVE CALIFORNIA, LOSE

The Los Angeles Clippers have been playing pretty well lately. So well in fact that people have actually been talking about the potential of them making a run to the playoffs. This year. Myself included. When you look at that roster and how good they are capable of playing and who they've beat, it seems completely possible.

But all of this has come at home, or at least near home. That's the thing about mediocre and bad teams. They can win at home. Look at the Wizards. They're 12-8 at home. But 0-20 on the road. The Clippers are in that same territory (13-13 home, 3-13 road). These games they've won that's got everyone's heart pumping have come at Staples. But now they're on the road for 11 straight and it started in Portland Thursday.

And we learned two things:

1) The Clippers aren't actually there and 2) but they aren't that far off. The Blazers are a very good team at home and the Clippers are a young team that really doesn't know how to win away from Staples. Los Angeles hung tough, battling back every time Portland pushed a lead into double-digits. Whether it was a big shot from Eric Gordon or a big putback by Blake Griffin, the Clips hung tough. That's the first step in winning against good teams on the road -- at least be in the game for the entire 48 minutes. And the Clippers are getting there.

But Portland showed why its still a good team, despite all the injuries. They have savvy veterans and it was displayed extremely well at the end of each quarter. The Clippers would spend an entire quarter coming back, but the Blazers would rip off a 15-4 or 12-3 run to close the period, putting L.A. back in a hole. Again, young team against a veteran team at home.

Two more points to make:

Blake Griffin is the Clippers best player. We know that. But Eric Gordon isn't far behind at all. Thirty-five points and seven 3s against Portland.

LaMarcus Aldridge might not make the All-Star Game, but he tried to state his case Thursday. He finished with 28 on 13-20 shooting against Griffin and held the Clipper stud to 6-16 shooting.

Four in a row for Portland. The hits keep coming with Marcus Camby being out for a few weeks, but Nate McMillan keeps them ticking.

GO-GO-GADGET LINES

Eric Gordon had 35 points that included a 7-11 effort from 3.

Derrick Rose had 26 points nine assists and seven assists. He shot just 9-28 from the field but scored 14 of his 26 in the fourth quarter.

Thaddeus Young had 21 points on 9-14 shooting plus six rebounds off the bench for Philly in a loss to Charlotte.

D.J. Augustin put up 31 and dished out eight assists in the Bobcats win over the 76ers.

Blake Griffin
had a typical night with 20 points and 18 boards but his Clippers came up short in Portland.

LaMarcus Aldridge finished with 28 against Griffin, hitting 13-20 from the field.

DIRK IS STILL HURTING AND SO ARE THE MAVS

The Mavericks and Bulls are both teams that have been battling injuries. It's just one team has been battling a little bit better.

The Bulls took down the Mavs 82-77 in a defensive struggle and did it without Carlos Boozer who missed a third straight game with a sprained ankle. And of course they're missing Joakim Noah because of thumb surgery.

Dallas on the other hand is without Caron Butler who is recovering from knee surgery and has Dirk Nowitzki back, but Dirk clearly isn't right. Nowitzki was just 6-16 from the field, grabbed only two rebounds and was visibly limping all over the floor. He'd stop on every other possession and adjust the wrap on his right knee, or stretch out his leg. He's fighting through this thing because his team is kind of in a situation it needs him, but Dirk isn't Dirk right now.

On the other hand, what helps the Bulls press through the injuries more so than the Mavs is that Chicago's best player isn't playing without any problems. Derrick Rose was again fairly terrific, dropping 26 points while dishing out nine assists and grabbing seven rebounds.

Nevermind that Rose was just 9-28 from the floor. He may have taken more shots than he scored points but he hit big ones late and was a big reason his team won. Hey, when Kobe does it we all rave about what a closer he is. So cut Rose some slack.

Read the rest of how the Bulls powered past the hurting Mavs here.

WHAT DOES 17-24 GET YOU?

How about seventh place in the East?

When you're a team like the Bobcats, you take wins however you can get them. With news coming that Tyrus Thomas will be out for an extended period of time because of a torn meniscus, Charlotte was left short-handed against the 76ers.

So how do you win? Unlikely characters step up. D.J. Augustin looked like a combination of Chris Paul and Deron Williams in the first half, scoring a flurry of points. And to finish, it was Gerald Wallace who hit three clutch shots down the stretch as Charlotte topped Philadelphia 100-97.

The Bobcats aren't necessarily a seventh place team, but that's where they sit now. Under new coach Paul Silas they are 8-5 and more importantly, the team's young players are showing development. Augustin is playing the best basketball of his career and Henderson finally stepped up in a big way offensively. It could be short lived as Charlotte has only 13 healthy players on the roster, but for now, live it up in seventh.

LUCK OR JUST GOOD?

Rudy Fernandez hit a wild hook shot against the Clippers and said after the game, "It's a Euro thing. You wouldn't understand." You're right Rudy. I don't understand.


Posted on: January 20, 2011 1:38 pm
Edited on: January 20, 2011 1:44 pm
 

Game Changer: Clippers keep rolling

The Los Angeles Clippers keep rolling, Blake Griffin goes 360 pivot before dunking, Monta Ellis hits a game-winner and more. Posted by Ben Golliver.

Each game is made up of elements which help formulate the outcome. Monday through Friday, we'll bring you the elements from the night before's games in our own specialized version of the game recaps. It's not everything that happened, but it's an insight into what lead to the results you'll see in the box scores. This is the Game Changer. 

THE BIG ONE: CLIPPERS KEEP ROLLING

There's no better story in the NBA over the last two weeks than the resurgent Los Angeles Clippers, who pulled themselves together after a dreadful start to the season. Rather than treat 2011 as a walk of shame, the Clippers are cat-walking through the competition, notching their third straight victory and sixth in the last seven games by smashing the Minnesota Timberwolves, 126-111. 

Every night is the Blake Griffin show, and Griffin delivered yet again (see highlights below). But Wednesday night also revealed some excellent scoring balance and all-around unselfish, excited play. The Timberwolves are simply awful on defense and the Clippers exploited those holes nicely, getting lots of easy looks by registering 26 assists on 44 field goal makes, shooting nearly 50% as a team on the night.

Eric Gordon, battling through a finger injury, put up 23 points on just 14 shots and he didn't miss from downtown. With the Clippers' recent success, are we finally turning a corner as a nation and realizing what Gordon's been doing over the last few months? This nice SB Nation analysis suggests that maybe we are.

Aside from LA's headliners, there's progress to be seen up and down the roster. If you rewound back to the early struggles and made a checklist of the improvements you would want to see, that list would look something like...
  • DeAndre Jordan must play engaged, excited ball and trust his physical skills.
  • Baron Davis must try. Really try.
  • Eric Bledsoe needs to be an impact player in his minutes.
  • Griffin must get to the free throw line all night long.
All of those things happened last night, and it was smooth sailing against an inferior opponent. A major step for any lottery team comes when they are able to put away other lottery teams forcefully. Do that enough and you're in the playoff picture. If things keep clicking along like this, it's not impossible to imagine that Los Angeles could find themselves in a tussle for the Western Conference's 8th seed by season's end.

As for now, the second half of a home-and-away back-to-back greets them on Thursday night, in Portland against the Trail Blazers.

GO-GO-GADGET LINES OF THE NIGHT:


Danny Granger: 32 points, 13 rebounds, six assists, three steals, one block on 11-19 shooting in 42 minutes in an Indiana Pacers road loss to the Golden State Warriors.

DeJuan Blair: 22 points, 11 rebounds, one assist, one steal, one block on 11-16 shooting in 35 minutes in a San Antonio Spurs home victory over the Toronto Raptors.

Carmelo Anthony: 35 points, seven rebounds, one assist in 38 minutes in a Denver Nuggets home victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Monta Ellis: 36 points, five rebounds, six assists in 44 minutes in a Golden State Warriors home victory over the Indiana Pacers.

DON'T MISS:

WHIMSY:

Like Dwight Howard and Shaquille O'Neal wrestling, except the exact opposite. Indiana Pacers forward Tyler Hansbrough and Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry compete in a funny faces contest. Winner gets possession.   hansbrough-curry

HIGHLIGHT REEL PART ONE:

Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin did it again for the 4,000,000th time this season in a game against the Minnesota Timberwolves last night, taking the basketball coast-to-coast, pivoting 360 degrees to avoid Corey Brewer, taking two power gather dribbles and rising up to throw down the monster slam. Did I mention he's a power forward?



HIGHLIGHT REEL PART TWO:

This dunk is so nice you have to watch it twice. Here's Griffin in the super slow motion.


HERO OF THE NIGHT:

Golden State Warriors guard Monta Ellis delivers the last-second game-winner at home, pushing the Warriors past the Indiana Pacers 110-108, much to the delight of the Oracle Arena crowd. Courtesy of YouTube user thehoopscene.


Posted on: January 17, 2011 12:31 pm
Edited on: January 17, 2011 12:45 pm
 

Game Changer: Clippers top Lakers in LA

The Los Angeles Clippers defeated the Los Angeles Lakers in the battle for LA and the San Antonio Spurs easily handled the Denver Nuggets at home. Posted by Ben Golliver.

Each game is made up of elements which help formulate the outcome. Monday through Friday, we'll bring you the elements from the night before's games in our own specialized version of the game recaps. It's not everything that happened, but it's an insight into what lead to the results you'll see in the box scores. This is the Game Changer. 

THE BIG ONE: YOU WILL BEND TO Blake Griffin 

Los Angeles Clippers rookie Blake Griffin is not only phenomenally athletic, he plays the role of "rookie that doesn't care about your veteran way of doing things" absolutely perfectly. 

Griffin's Clippers defeated the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday, and while it certainly wasn't Griffin's most efficient night, he left his stamp on the game in the closing seconds.

With a comfortable lead and the win virtually secured, Griffin continued to battle hard underneath the glass during a free throw attempt, prompting Lakers forward Lamar Odom to swing him by the jersey for his perceived unnecessary hustle and physical play. The two forwards had a staredown which resulted in four players being ejected (video here) and the Lakers left a little salty at Griffin's lack of decorum in a situation that happens hundreds of times over a long NBA career.

Will Griffin still chase every rebounding attempt with absolute ferocity when he's Odom's age? Possibly not, but it's not out of the question. Sunday's exchange was simply proof that when it comes to "motor" -- that all-purpose scouting term that combines hustle, energy level, activity and desire -- Griffin, even as a rookie, rocks the most cylinders and has the most horsepower. 

Not only does he go hard, though, Griffin has shown in recent games that, despite being soft-spoken and even-keeled off the court, he excels in the macho on-court NBA climate of punking and trashtalking. He's been delivering stares after dunks for months now, but his success as a rookie has made him a target of mental attacks from his opponents. Against the Miami Heat last week, Griffin responded to some trash-talking by throwing down a ridiculous double-pump dunk and then letting the Heat know about it. Here, against the Lakers, Griffin holds his ground as his teammates comically come to his defense, as if anyone was really going to mess with Griffin one-on-one, face-to-face.  

Griffin is still finding his way in the league, as demonstrated by Portland Trail Blazers point guard Andre Miller body-slamming him in retaliation for some rebounding skirmishes. But Griffin's message to the rest of the NBA has become clear and consistent: you guys will adjust to me and my talent, not the other way around. 

So far it's working out pretty well for him.

GO-GO-GADGET LINES OF THE NIGHT:


Tony Parker: 30 points, seven rebounds, four assists, two steals on 11-15 shooting in 32 minutes in a San Antonio Spurs home victory over the Denver Nuggets.

Blake Griffin: 18 points, 15 rebounds, three assists in 38 minutes in a Los Angeles Clippers home victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.

Andrew Bynum: 18 points, 13 rebounds, three blocks on 7-11 shooting in 32 minutes in a Los Angeles Lakers road victory over the Los Angeles Clippers.

DON'T MISS:

WHIMSY:

Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan serves as a spotter as his teammate does a pre-game handstand.   clippers-handstand

HIGHLIGHT REEL PART ONE:

J.R. Smith is the best in-game dunker in the NBA (only LeBron James comes close). One of the reasons why: Smith doesn't care at all about time/score situations. Even in blowouts, he's looking to put you on a poster. Here, down big against the San Antonio Spurs, Smith rises up and over Spurs big man Tiago Splitter for a nasty one-handed dunk.


HIGHLIGHT REEL PART TWO:

Here's Splitter's attempt at revenge, a two-handed dunk in transition that was completely unnecessary because the clock was set to run out. Splitter violated the NBA rule of "no unnecessary shooting if the opposition agrees not to foul or play defense" and karma got the best of him. Splitter went crashing to the floor after the uncontested dunk attempt, landing hard on his backside. The good news: no injury was sustained during the course of this blooper.


FINAL THOUGHT:

The Carmelo Anthony saga is driving everyone a little nuts, but leave it to his Nuggets teammate J.R. Smith to find a funny side. Quoted by NBA.com, Smith said the Nuggets give Anthony some grief: "We ask him, 'What are you gonna look like in a Nets uniform?,' How cold it's going to be out there. What (city) he's gonna end up in? He could be playing for some team in Alaska."
Posted on: January 14, 2011 1:28 pm
Edited on: January 14, 2011 1:31 pm
 

The Game Changer: Heat bomb without LeBron James

LeBron James and the Miami Heat finally lose, Elvis Night in Detroit, Blake Griffin throws down a double-pump dunk past Dwyane Wade, and the San Antonio Spurs run a gorgeous play for a big basket. Posted by Ben Golliver.

Each game is made up of elements which help formulate the outcome. Monday through Friday, we'll bring you the elements from the night before's games in our own specialized version of the game recaps. It's not everything that happened, but it's an insight into what lead to the results you'll see in the box scores. This is the Game Changer. 

THE BIG ONE: MIAMI HEAT LOSE AGAIN

LeBron James was out with a sprained ankle. It was the second night of a back-to-back. The team plane landed in the wee hours of the morning. The game was played at high altitude. 

There are a litany of excuses, and reasons, that the Miami Heat got clobbered by the Denver Nuggets on Thursday night on national television, 130-102, but, in the aftermath, James' absence will serve as the lightning rod.  

Without their leading scorer and best play-maker, the Heat looked listless, settled for bad shots, couldn't really guard anybody, played deeper into their bench than they usually do, and generally didn't get up for the moment. What's more, the other two parts of the Big 3, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, were -25 and -26 respectively, combining for just 40 points when 75 or so was needed. 

James' absence and the promise of his return makes this loss a lot easier to take for the Heat and their fans, although it's got to be a touch disconcerting for James, who came to Miami with the idea he was seeking out teammates who could meaningfully help him shoulder the load. But it's not panic time, by any means, as James surely understands that a Big 3 makes for a contender and any Big 2, no matter how big, is only good enough to be a pretender in the top-heavy NBA.

As for Heat coach Eric Spoelstra? Well, he doesn't appear to be taking the loss very well.

eric-spoelstra


GO-GO-GADGET LINES OF THE NIGHT:


Russell Westbrook: 32 points, 10 rebounds, 13 assists, one steal and two blocks in 42 minutes in an Oklahoma City Thunder home win over the Orlando Magic.

Kevin Love: 35 points, 11 rebounds, and four assists in 41 minutes in a Minnesota Timberwolves home win over the Washington Wizards.

Dwight Howard: 39 points, 18 rebounds, two blocks in 43 minutes in an Orlando Magic road loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

DON'T MISS:

WHIMSY:

This is a pretty breathtaking ensemble from LeBron James: winter coat, dress pants, dress shoe and Nike flip flop, necessitated by his sprained ankle, of course. It's likely this is the first time in the history of the universe that someone has ever worn this outfit.
lebron-james-coat

HIGHLIGHT REEL:


I'm not sure if Minnesota Timberwolves center Darko Milicic is a future All-Star, but he did manage to tip a jump ball into the wrong hoop, scoring two points for the opposition. Insane and so unlucky. Unfortunately, in typical Darko fashion, this weird news becomes the headline on a night when he put up 14 points and 11 rebounds. 




FINAL THOUGHT:

A great quote from Orlando Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy, on Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant after he went off for 36 points on 17 shots last night. "What haunts me are guys like Kevin Durant,” Van Gundy said. “So, I would say this building is haunted because of guys like him, as are most of the buildings in the NBA. I haven’t run into a haunted hotel, just haunted arenas.” Via DailyThunder.com.
Posted on: January 13, 2011 12:02 pm
Edited on: January 13, 2011 12:04 pm
 

Game Changer: Clippers drop Heat in a wild one

LeBron James and the Miami Heat finally lose, Elvis Night in Detroit, Blake Griffin throws down a double-pump dunk past Dwyane Wade, and the San Antonio Spurs run a gorgeous play for a big basket. Posted by Ben Golliver.

Each game is made up of elements which help formulate the outcome. Monday through Friday, we'll bring you the elements from the night before's games in our own specialized version of the game recaps. It's not everything that happened, but it's an insight into what lead to the results you'll see in the box scores. This is the Game Changer. 

THE BIG ONE: MIAMI HEAT FINALLY LOSE

The numbers were starting to get ridiculous. Nine straight wins. 13 straight wins on the road. 21 wins out of their last 22 games. Finally, karmically, the Miami Heat lost a game on Wednesday night, dropping a thriller in Los Angeles to the Clippers, 111-105.

The pre-game scene was reportedly a circus, as LeBron James provided a wishy-washy explanation for a tweet seemingly directed at his former team, the Cleveland Cavaliers. And while James, his teammates and his coach tried to play it off, the Clippers were busy playing out of their minds, running out to a 44-26 first quarter lead. 

The Clippers' energy on both ends was something special, and they were able to maintain it for 48 minutes, avoiding a late collapse like that one that befell the Portland Trail Blazers earlier this week. The Heat mounted a late push, but James was slowed by a sprained ankle (video here) suffered midway during the fourth quarter, and was noticeably dragging through the game's final minutes.

Clippers forward Blake Griffin has had about 238 coming-out parties so far this season, but Wednesday night was another one, as he rose to the challenge against marquee competition, finishing with 24 points, 14 rebounds and six assists. Griffin got into a heated exchange with Heat point guard Mario Chalmers, which drew a technical, but he responded to the emotion of the moment in the best way he knows how: throwing down a ridiculous double-pump dunk that sent the Staples Center into a tizzy (see below for video). And let's not overlook his gorgeous turnaround jumper off the glass that made him look more like a two guard than a four or his continued ownership of the backboards. He's an All-Star, case closed. 

It wasn't just Griffin, though. Baron Davis was rising up to dunk too, and laying it out to dive on the floor for loose balls. Clippers guard Eric Bledsoe had a number of nice defensive plays and dimes, including an exceptional swat of James (see below). And Eric Gordon, perhaps the most unheralded scorer in the NBA, quietly put up 26 points, five rebounds and six assists to almost single-handedly offset 27 points from James. Put it together, and this was about as entertaining and theatric as January NBA basketball gets.  

GO-GO-GADGET LINES OF THE NIGHT:

So, so many ridiculous stat lines last night.

Zach Randolph: 34 points, 17 rebounds, two assists, one block, one steal in 46 minutes in a Memphis Grizzlies road win over the Detroit Pistons.

Dwight Howard: 29 points, 20 rebounds, two blocks, one steal in 48 minutes in an Orlando Magic road win over the New Orleans Hornets.

Russell Westbrook: 23 points, 8 rebounds, 13 assists and two steals in 37 minutes in an Oklahoma City Thunder road win over the Houston Rockets.

Steve Nash: 23 points, seven rebounds, 16 assists and one steal in 42 minutes in a Phoenix Suns home win over the New Jersey Nets.

Kobe Bryant: 39 points, six rebounds, four assists, three steals in 36 minutes in a Los Angeles Lakers road win over the Golden State Warriors.

Blake Griffin: 24 points, 14 rebounds, six assists, one steal, one block in 43 minutes in a Los Angeles Clippers home win over the Miami Heat.

D.J. Augustin: 22 points, three rebounds, 12 assists in 39 minutes in a Charlotte Bobcats home win over the Chicago Bulls.

DON'T MISS:

WHIMSY:

The Memphis Grizzlies came to town so it was "Elvis Night" in Detroit. Oh, dear.
elvis-night

HIGHLIGHT REEL PART ONE:


Here's Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin throwing down a double-pump dunk to avoid Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade and electrify the Staples Center crowd.



HIGHLIGHT REEL PART TWO:


Here's Los Angeles Clippers guard Eric Bledsoe getting way up to swat a layup attempt by LeBron James. via YouTube user thehoopscene.


FINAL THOUGHT:

It wasn't flashy like the Heat and Clippers, but it was oh so effective. You really must take a look at this inbounds set play, charted by NBAPlaybook.com, from the San Antonio Spurs, which brilliantly uses misdirection, confusion and multiple screens to free up Tim Duncan for an uncontested dunk.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com