Blake Griffin seems resigned to hard fouls now, knows that he won’t get the calls

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The Clippers completely mailed in their game with the Suns on Friday, falling behind by as many as 25 points in the fourth quarter before closing it up a bit and losing by a final of only 111-98. Despite the fact that L.A.’s junior NBA squad seems to be giving up on competing as scheduled, and just as they’ve done most years, it’s still not a great example for the franchise to set for its red-shirt rookie sensation, Blake Griffin.

Griffin has infused a level of excitement into this beaten-down franchise that it hasn’t seen in quite some time. Yet if the team (and its leadership) doesn’t show any fight, then one day he’ll be gone, just like everyone else who’s ever had any talent that has worn a Clippers uniform.

There’s plenty of time for the team to deal with this issue, though, considering that this is Griffin’s first full season on the court as the Clippers’ face of the franchise. And it seems he’s capable of picking things up rather quickly.

Case in point: Griffin’s tolerance for the way that he’s butchered under the basket on a nightly basis.

There have been times this season where Griffin has become frustrated with the lack of calls going in his favor, and in fact, the last time he faced the Suns — when he fouled out in spectacular fashion while picking up three fouls in just 29 seconds of game time — was an example of how he’s poorly handled the situation. But during Friday’s blowout loss in Phoenix, Griffin seemed to have come to the conclusion that he needs to just play through the contact, no matter the situation.

“It’s happened over and over, so it’s not really something I’m worried about,” Griffin said of the hard, sometimes flagrant fouls he constantly receives. “It happens, you’ve just got to keep playing.”

In this one, Channing Frye was called for a flagrant on Griffin in the first half, after grabbing his shorts from behind  to try to prevent an uncontested dunk. Griffin fell awkwardly, but didn’t get up hurriedly or in a menacing manner towards Frye. He simply walked to the free throw line with virtually no reaction.

Griffin, at least on this night, seemed at peace with his NBA fate. One that would have him get hammered again and again by opposing defenders, with little or no sympathy from the officials.

“You’ve just got to keep playing,” Griffin said. “You’re not going to get these calls, especially as a rookie, especially as a non-playoff team right now. You’re not going to get any calls. Hopefully, the farther and farther I go, the refs will see how to call certain situations and maybe it’ll get better. But for now, I’ve got to keep playing.”

It’s great news if in fact it’s taken Griffin less than a complete NBA season to recognize this, and he’s able to simply take the fouls and the more-than-occasional non-calls in stride. What will be even more interesting to see is whether or not his teammates bother to compete at all in these last couple of weeks of the season, as Griffin continues to form his opinion of the franchise while marching through his rookie contract on the way to free agency.

Rockets wear jersey patch to honor Santa Fe High School vs. Warriors

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The Houston Rockets have been supportive of the Texas community after a gunman killed 10 people and injured 10 others at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas.

Rockets point guard Chris Paul called NBA basketball “minor” compared to what those in Santa Fe are having to endure, and on Thursday the team took things a step further and donned special jerseys for their playoff matchup against the Golden State Warriors.

As Houston prepared to take on the reigning champs in Game 5 back in Texas, the team tweeted out a photo of the jerseys — complete with a special patch on the left shoulder — to honor the victims of the shooting.

Via Twitter:

The NBA has a lot of advocates for social and political change, not just individually but organizationally. How the Rockets responded is good to see in the face of yet another school shooting.

Andre Iguodala out for Warriors again in Game 5; Klay Thompson available

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The Warriors missed Andre Iguodala in Game 4 against Houston. They don’t have a Death/Hamptons 5 lineup without him. Without his depth, the Warriors had to lean more on players such as Kevon Looney (who started), Nick Young, and others who are can be a liability at the high level of play in this series. Not having Iguodala to keep minutes down, play fierce defense, move the ball on offense, and be a stabilizing force was one of the issues that led to the Warriors fourth-quarter issues in Game 4.

Now they are without him for Game 5, too.

Having Klay Thompson on the court is huge for Golden State, although it will be worth monitoring to see how he moves.

The Warriors have gotten sucked into the switching/isolation game the Rockets want to play, if they are going to take Game 5 on the road they need to get back to “the beautiful game” they want to play. That would have been easier with Iguodala.

Two years after NBA retirement, Amar’e Stoudemire talking comeback

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NBA teams seemed to have moved on from Amar’e Stoudemire. After an impressive NBA career — five-time All-NBA, Rookie of the Year, six-time All-Star — he wasn’t physically the explosive player that dazzled with the Suns. Teams were interested in getting younger and more athletic, and Stoudemire was doing neither. He retired from the NBA and played for a season in Israel where he won a league title. This summer he’s signed up to play with the Big3.

After that he’,d like another crack at the NBA. When asked about an NBA comeback, here’s what Stoudemire told CBS Sports’ Bill Reiter on ‘Reiter’s Block’:

“I am. I am. I’m definitely planning on (coming back). I’ve been training like you wouldn’t believe, my body feels great. I had an amazing year last year playing overseas and so I’m gonna definitely continue to work my way back to top shape and see if there’s a team that needs my talents.”

I’m not sure there’s going to be much demand. Maybe a team does an old friend a favor and brings him in for some workouts. However, his knees and body struggled with the physical grind of the NBA the final few seasons of his career, and it’s unlikely with age that got better. No doubt he’s worked on his conditioning and strength, but Father Time always wins the race and it already felt like this chase was over.

That said, good on Stoudemire for not giving up on the dream. His agent should be making calls, maybe he can become the second player to make the Big3 to NBA leap.

 

 

Kristaps Porzingis after conversation with David Fizdale: ‘Man im excited!’

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David Fizdale learned a lot of lessons in his first go around as a head coach, spending 101 games with the Memphis Grizzlies. At the top of the list: Build a strong bond with your star player. Or else.

Fizdale is trying to do that, saying he would fly to Latvia this summer to spend time with Kristaps Porzingis. But first came a phone call, and that seemed to go very well.

It’s not just Porzingis. Fizdale was bonding with Frank Ntilikina, Emmanuel Mudiay, and Damyean Dotson on Wednesday night in Boston. A little “this is where we want to be” motivation.

Good on Fizdale for all of this.

The Knicks got the best coach for them on the board in Fizdale, and so far the new front office — general manager Scott Perry and president Steve Mills — are making smart decisions. Knicks fans should be optimistic. Knicks ownership just needs to be patient (not James Dolan’s strong suit), because with no Porzingis for a large portion if not all of next season the team will struggle. Wins will be hard to come by. Fizdale needs a season to develop players and lay the foundation for what he wants to build, while the new front office needs time to clean up the salary cap mess that is New York right now.

With some patience, the Knicks could have something special in a few years. And Fizdale may have found the right home for his talents because he’s already got players buying in.