By: Kristian Winfield
October 28th, 2010
The Los Angeles Clippers are finally cashing in on Blake Griffin, their first overall selection in the 2009 NBA Draft. Griffin suffered a non-displaced stress fracture of his left patella during the a preseason game against the Hornets last year and was out for the entire season.
But after tonight’s season opener against the Trail Blazers, Blake Griffin proved that he was completely worth his stock. Griffin opened the night with a thunderous dunk, earning his first two NBA points. His next two came off of a one-handed putback dunk. He then began to showcase his low-post abilities, scoring on Portland Forward LaMarcus Aldridge with a baseline spin to the basket. Blake Griffin finished the night with a double-double, 20 points, 14 rebounds, and 4 assists, being the first rookie to start off their NBA career with a double-double since Lamar Odom.
“In some areas I did well, but there’s a lot of room for improvement,” said Griffin. “It was a sigh of relief that I made it back, but I don’t want to make this game bigger than it is. It is a first game, not a live or die situation.”
Blake Griffin had a great game, but the Trail Blazers had a better one, beating the Clippers: 98-88. Brandon Roy had a double-double, putting up 22 points on 7-19 shooting, including two buzzer-beating shots, and grabbing 10 rebounds. LaMarcus Aldridge had 19 points and 10 rebounds for Portland, and veteran Center Marcus Camby finished with 11 points and 14 rebounds.
“They were sending multiple guys at Brandon in the second half, and it’s hard to play one-on-three,” Camby said. “But we really didn’t need him that much in the second half. Our two best players are LaMarcus and Brandon, and when one doesn’t have it going in the first half, like LaMarcus, Brandon led us in the first half. In the second half, Brandon didn’t play well and LaMarcus did. So it’s good to have that balance.”
Aldridge knocked down an important three-pointer in the fourth quarter to put Portland up by seven, which would prove to be an insurmountable lead as the Clippers would have trouble scoring.
Eric Gordon led the Clippers with 22 points, and Rasual Butler put up 16. Baron Davis finished with eight points, three assists, and four turnovers.
If the Clippers can get their gameplan together, and possibly revolve it around the dominance of Blake Griffin, they might be able to go .500 this season, or even possibly make the playoffs this season. Then again, they will have to deal with that other monster in Los Angeles- The Lakers.