Blake Griffin, Pau Gasol

Blake Griffin says his game not about intimidation

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It looks intimidating.

When Blake Griffin flies in and dunks over Pau Gasol or Kendrick Perkins or Timofey Mozgov or any one of many of his victims, it looks intimidating. More than just the dunks, Griffin’s game plays to his physical strengths. He plays a power game.

But he says it’s not about intimidation.

“Intimidating, that’s not something I consciously go out and try to do,” Griffin told ProBasketballTalk. “As far as being physical, that’s just a part of my game. I don’t try really hard to be physical but it’s just a part of my game and I’m not going to shy away from it…

“I think it works to my advantage whenever it is a physical game because I feel more comfortable with contact and all that. It’s one of those that if it happens it happens, but I don’t go out seeking out contact and trying to hit guys hard.”

Griffin dishes out a physical game, but he takes it, too. The book on him is to push back, and a lot of teams do with hard fouls and physical play that are not called. It’s part of the NBA. He’s not backing down. Griffin said he is not sure there really is a lot of intimidation going on once you get to the NBA. Pretty much every guy there was the one doing the intimidating in high school, and the guys who back down tend not to make it this far.

“Not really, I really don’t think (there is intimidation in the NBA),” Griffin said. “A lot of these guys in the NBA are so talented you kind of have a mutual resect for guys and you know what guys can do and can’t do and you just try to play them the best you can.”

Griffin said right now he and the Clippers are trying to take care of their own business, to work on their defense, and not scoreboard watch as they head into the playoffs. They are in a battle for the Pacific Division crown with the Lakers — and the loser likely gets the red hot Memphis Grizzlies in the first round.

“It’s great to be able to play exactly who you want and be able to play at home, but it all means nothing if come out and didn’t play well,” Griffin said.

Griffin was speaking to PBT as part of a promotion with Subway, pointing out that during April people who stop in before 9 a.m. and buy any six-inch sandwich and the second one is free.

Griffin appears in a number of ads for Subway as well as other sponsors such as Kia. More and more, you are seeing Griffin’s personality — and dry sense of humor — shine through in those.

“When I first came in (to the league) I had never done anything like that,” Griffin said. “For me, it was tough to just open up and show some of (my personality). Now, doing more stuff, I have more opportunities, you open up to it. It’s a lot of fun. The more you do it the more comfortable you become.”

He’s comfortable being himself now. Both on and off the court. And that’s not supposed to be intimidating.

Monty Williams is back coaching with Team USA, ready to get back on NBA sidelines

LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 18:  Draymond Green #14 of the 2016 USA Basketball Men's National Team drives against assistant coach Monty Williams of the 2016 USA Basketball Men's National Team during a practice session at the Mendenhall Center on July 18, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
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Watching Monty Williams back on the court at the USA basketball camp/practices in Las Vegas, you could see he was at home. He’s easily the best 44-year-old defender on the planet — he went toe-to-toe with Kevin Durant, Jimmy Butler, and the rest, was physical, and made them work for buckets. Then he’d instruct. He’s just a natural.

Back in February, Williams’ wife was killed in an auto accident. It devastated the devout family man, in ways it’s hard for us to understand who have never experienced it. He walked away from coaching the rest of the NBA season with the Thunder, and nobody questioned it for a second.

Now, after getting his feet wet with Team USA (where he is an assistant to Mike Krzyzewski), he told Darnell Mayberry of the Oklahoman he is ready to get back on the sidelines.

“I wouldn’t even think that if I didn’t know, one, my wife would want me to; my kids talk about it all the time. And there have been some things that have happened in my life lately that have allowed me to get that back. I’m so juiced up and ready to get back into it again.”

He is one of the better respected assistant coaches in the league, and a guy who will get another shot at a top spot someday. Soon. Can’t wait to see him back on the sidelines.

Ben Simmons says he plans to work on shooting, handles, getting stronger before camp

Philadelphia 76ers' Ben Simmons cheers from the bunch during the first half of the team's NBA summer league basketball game against the Brooklyn Nets, Thursday, July 14, 2016, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Associated Press
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The leap from college — even high-level college programs — to the NBA can be hard to describe. Now everybody is bigger, longer, and far more athletic — the guy at the end of the bench barely getting any burn was one of the best players on his college team.

Players get their first taste of that at Summer League. The Sixers’ No. 1 pick Ben Simmons looked pretty good when he got that taste, but you can see the development that needs to go on as well.

He’s spending the time between now and the start of training camp working on his shooting and getting stronger, among other things, he told Jessica Camerato of CSNPhilly.com.

“I think just getting in the gym and making sure I’m getting reps up, shooting-wise, dribbling,” Simmons said earlier this week after an appearance at Sixers Camp in Wayne, Pennsylvania. “The weight room as well, making sure I get my strength back and my weight up.”

All good things. Handles and shooting in particular — he’s about to start seeing much better defenders nightly. It’s going to take time, and we’ll see how far he can go, but Simmons unquestionably brings a lot of skill and potential to the table. That he’s putting in the work is a good sign — that was one of the concerns about him heading into the draft.

New GM Bryan Colangelo is going to benefit from Sam Hinkie’s process. So long as he doesn’t screw it up.

Report: Warriors sign JaVale McGee to make-good training camp contract

JaVale McGee
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JaVale McGee is getting another shot in the NBA.

He played just 34 games off the bench for Dallas last season. He played 23 games the season before that due to injury.

But the Golden State Warriors are thin up front — Zaza Pachulia will get the bulk of the minutes at the five (when the Warriors use a traditional center), and there is the often-injured Anderson Varejao behind him. The Warriors could use another big. So they are giving McGee a look, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.

This is a low-risk move by the Warriors, and it’s worth the gamble. Vintage McGee, for all his Shaqtin’ a Fool flaws, is far more athletic and a better rim protector than any of the guys the Warriors now have at the five. If it doesn’t work out — and the odds are it will not — they cut him, if it does they pay him a minimum deal.

I hope he makes it, just because the league is more fun when McGee is in it.

Russell Westbrook laughs off question about Kevin Durant

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 21:  Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Kevin Durant #35 discuss play during the first half against the Los Angeles ClipperLos Angeles Kingsat Staples Center on December 21, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and condition of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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At some point, Russell Westbrook will sit down with members of the media and discuss Kevin Durant leaving the Thunder, how he felt about the move, and how it impacted him both personally and professionally.

But not right now. He remains silent.

This Vine making its way around, where Westbrook laughs — probably at the question, although read into that whatever you want — when asked about Durant sums up where we are.

https://platform.vine.co/static/scripts/embed.js

In the full Facebook clip, Westbrook walks away, too. It’s his right. He can talk about it on his schedule.