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 GriffinLos 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.
- The latest on the Carmelo Anthony trade talks: Ken Berger reports that Anthony doesn't want to talk to the New Jersey Nets.
- This, after the Nuggets gave the Nets permission to speak directly with Anthony.
- Also, Anthony called playing in New York his "ultimate dream."
- Chris Bosh sprained his ankle and whined about it.