Blake Griffin nails impression of Austin Rivers (VIDEO)


@blakegriffin32 w/AR iso impersonation #GetTheF&$kOutTheWay

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Blake Griffin does impressions now.

And his one of Austin Rivers is both hysterical and pretty accurate. The pounding of the ball out top, waiving off guys who want to help so he can get an isolation, the herky-jerky motion, and the ill-advised shot.

While Rivers put up 21 points in extended minutes of a blowout against the Knicks, don’t confuse that with him fitting in with the Clips as a backup one behind Chris Paul. He plays 15-18 minutes a night, but in the five games before the bye against the Knicks he was 6-of-24 shooting, plus he had four assists and four turnovers.

Still, that’s pretty cold blooded of Griffin to do that right in front of Rivers.

Dwyane Wade on MVP race: “I would say James Harden”


This is the most fun the MVP race has been in years. You can make a legitimate case for five guys at least — Stephen Curry, James Harden, Russell Westbrook, LeBron James, and Anthony Davis. And that leaves off guys who should get mentions and votes like Chris Paul.

Everyone has an opinion. Mine keeps changing every 48 hours it seems as I study it more.

Former NBA Finals MVP Dwyane Wade has an opinion — he likes the guy who goes to the rim knowing how to draw contact and put pressure on the opposing defense. From friend of this blog Shandel Richardson of the Sun-Sentinel.

“Right now, I would say James Harden,” Wade said before Tuesday’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks. “It’s tough. Any one of those top guys could be MVP. I would say James Harden from everything he’s done for the full season, the entire season. With the injury to Dwight Howard and carrying that team in the tough Western Conference and being right up there. That’s pretty impressive and he’s done it all season long.”

Watching Harden draw fouls can be reminiscent of Wade circa 2006. No wonder he likes him.

For the record, Kevin Love would vote Westbrook, while Andrew Bogut would vote Curry. Well, if they had a vote (they don’t).

Harden’s case rests on the fact that he has played more minutes and scored far more points (257) than anyone else in the NBA — the Rockets are the three seed in the West because he has carried them all season long. Houston is lost without him stepping his game up to a new level. (And if you are going to argue “he doesn’t play defense” I suggest you watch some Rockets games — he’s improved on that end. He’s not a stopper, but he’s improved.)

But again, you can make a very good case for other guys, too. Stephen Curry is more than the best player on the best team; the Warriors are 18 points per 100 possessions worse when he is off the court (a higher number than Westbrook or Harden). Westbrook has been a triple-double collecting force of nature who will carry the Thunder into the playoffs on the strength of his play. LeBron remains the best player on the planet and has played like it at both ends since he came back from those couple weeks off. Davis has been the best player in the NBA over the course of the season and done it efficiently — his PER of 31.4 so far this season would rank in the top 10 all time, putting him in Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain territory.

Wade and other players don’t have a vote on MVP (much to the dismay of Kevin Durant) but they wouldn’t have an easier time than the media this year. There is no clear-cut leader.

Report: Rockets’ Patrick Beverley has torn ligament in wrist, to decide course in 7-10 days


This close to the playoffs — with just a dozen games and three weeks until the postseason tips off — the Rockets are going to take their time before making a move that will end a player’s season.

Such is the case with Houston’s starting point guard Patrick Beverley, who has been battling a wrist injury that has turned out to be a torn ligament, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

Houston Rockets starting guard Patrick Beverley suffered a torn ligament in his left wrist, and further evaluation in seven to 10 days will determine if season-ending surgery could be necessary, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Beverley is going to see a couple more specialists before a decision is made. The Rockets are going to explore all other options before settling on season-ending surgery.

Beverley’s pesky defense is important to a team about to get Dwight Howard back on the court and are looking to shore up that end of the floor before the postseason.

In the short term, Jason Terry will start at the point guard spot (the team is 6-0 when he has started this season).

The bigger news is the return of Dwight Howard to the court for Houston. But the loss of Beverley is something that could come back to bite Houston in the postseason — in a Western Conference loaded with quality point guards Beverley’s defense will be sorely missed. If the playoffs started today, the Rockets would draw Tony Parker and the Spurs. That could shift, and they might draw the Los Angeles Clippers and Chris Paul, or Portland and Damian Lillard. Jason Terry just is not the same for Houston.

But we will not know what is going to happen with Beverley for at least a week.

LeBron James says nobody should fault Kevin Love for picking Russell Westbrook over him for MVP


Kevin Love picked Russell Westbrook as NBA MVP over his not-best-friend LeBron James.

LeBron reportedly cares about the award.

Does he care about Love’s comments?

LeBron, via Dave McMenamin of ESPN:

“I don’t really think too much of it, really,” James said after Cleveland Cavaliers practice on Tuesday. “I don’t really get involved in that. I think the voters are going to decide who is the MVP. I think what Russ has been doing, his numbers have been pretty crazy keeping those guys afloat in the West in his play. Steph Curry can make a case, for sure, what he’s been doing — James Harden and myself, as well. So, Kevin has his own opinion of who he believes is the MVP. No one should fault him for that.”

What about Anthony Davis? What about Chris Paul? LeBron omitting Davis from the discussion is more offensive than Love slighting LeBron for the No. 1 spot.

At least LeBron didn’t make this a bigger issue than it needed to be.

That hasn’t always been the case with him and Love, and that’s why the speculation about Love leaving Cleveland won’t end. Perhaps, LeBron has learned how to make Love feel a little more comfortable.

Russell Westbrook rated NBA’s top point guard in poll of anonymous NBA personnel


Who’s the best point guard in the NBA?

Jeff Goodman of ESPN asked a group of 25 players, coaches an executives to rank NBA’s point guards, 1-30. The leaders:

1. Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder (732 points, 13 first-place votes)

“He might be an alien. I’ve never seen anyone like him before. His athleticism and antics are off the charts.” — NBA executive

2. Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors (727 points, 9 first-place votes)

“Maybe the best shooter we’ve ever seen in the NBA off the dribble. Probably the leading candidate for MVP this year.” — NBA executive

3. Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers (652 points, 3 first-place votes)

“Everything you could ever want from a point guard. Leads, scores and defends and knows exactly when to do each of those things.” — NBA executive

The NBA has hundreds of players, coaches and executives. It’s worth noting this isn’t necessarily a representative sample of the league’s thinking.

But these 25 nailed the top three. There’s a big drop to the next tier.

The order of the top three, though?

Westbrook is the most athletic/energetic player in the NBA, and with Kevin Durant sidelined, he’s showing the heights he can reach. Curry is an incredible shooter, very good passer and good-enough defender. Paul expertly controls the game on both ends of the court.

Honestly, on any given day, I could rank those three in a different order.

Paul was the best entering the season, but he’s showing signs of aging – at least enough for Curry and Westbrook to crack into the discussion. Curry reached this elite level sooner, and he has sustained it longer, but Westbrook has climbed even higher lately.

Today, I agree with Goodman’s panel – and I know that makes me a hypocrite.

Tomorrow, I don’t know.