Blake Griffin was the one who had a full slate of commitments for the All Star Weekend, right? I mean, other than a few minutes in the Rookie Challenge on Friday for Eric Bledsoe, and a couple of lob passes for Baron Davis during the Dunk Contest on Saturday, the rest of the team had a bunch of days off, and neither Bledsoe no Davis should have been too taxed by their relatively brief appearances. Meanwhile, Griffin played in the Rookie Challenge, won the Slam Dunk Contest, and then played in the All Star Game itself in a non-stop weekend. So Griffin should have been the tired one - everyone else should have been well rested.
So why was it left to Griffin to try to carry the team on his back in their first game after the All Star Break? Griffin scored 28 points, to go along with 11 rebounds and a career high 8 assists in his return to Oklahoma. No one else on the team scored more than 13. It seems like Griffin's adrenaline was carrying him to his performance tonight - based on the way he opened the game, he was pretty pumped to be back home. But with another game tomorrow night in New Orleans, one wonders if there's going to be a letdown some time soon.
The Thunder are a very talented team, and when they're making shots like the were tonight, they're very tough to beat. But it would have been nice to have had enough guys show up to at least try. When Griffin picked up his third foul with four minutes to go in the second quarter, the score was tied. He sat the last four minutes, and the Thunder promptly went on a 18-2 run, including 15 straight to close the half. It was never really much of a game after that. The Clippers got back to within nine near the end of the third, but another Thunder run to open the fourth quarter put the game out of reach early.
The Clippers needed to play a very good game to have a chance to win in Oklahoma City; they did not. They missed 12 of 29 free throws; they committed 17 turnovers. There's no way they can beat quality opponents on the road doing those things.
The bigger concern is the lack of help for Griffin. Two starters 3 or fewer points; a third had just 7. Eric Gordon is due back within a week, and the way things are going right now, it's none too soon. Baron Davis had opened this road trip playing great ball, but in the games bookending the All Star Break he's been terrible. Ralph and Mike seem to think it has to do with his knee giving him problems.
Even Eric Bledsoe's relatively good performance was marred by a rash of terrible turnovers. With Bledsoe, he seems to make one spectacular play, followed by two turnovers. The only other good news besides Griffin is that Al-Farouq Aminu looked as good as he has in a very long time, scoring 12 points on 5 for 6 shooting.
But there's no rest for the weary. The Clippers play the Hornets in New Orleans tomorrow night. Let's hope that Griffin can continue to defy common sense and play great, and let's also hope that someone shows up to help him tomorrow.