As you know, I take my recaps very seriously. But somehow, I don't think I'll be putting too much sweat into this one. The Rookies won the game for the second year in a row, and they mostly did it without Blake Griffin. With a busy weekend ahead of him, Coach Mike Budenholzer limited Griffin to fewer than 14 minutes, which was a game low for either team. The five thousand school kids wearing pink T-Mobile shirts (and evidently pounding Monster energy drinks) were none too happy about Blake's limited minutes. They were chanting "We want Blake!" the final five minutes or so. Griffin even punked them at one point, bolting off the bench towards the scorer's table, only to return to his seat smirking. It's not nice to dash kids' hopes, Blake.
As for the game, it became the Kentucky rookie show. There were three Wildcats in the game, and Eric Bledsoe of the Clippers had some fun, with 6 points, 5 assits, 7 rebounds and 3 steals in 18 minutes. (He also had 6 turnovers, consistent with his Clipper performances.) But it was John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins who took over. Wall distributed a rookie game record 22 assists. Cousins had a game high 33 points, not to mention 14 rebounds. Then again, he did take 24 shots, and with the level of defense being played in these games, if you're taking 24 shots, you better be scoring 33.
The Rookies shot 64% for the game, and lots of players contributed. Blake finished with 14, all of them coming on dunks. He took two jumpers early, then got popped in the nose and came out of the game for a minute. When he came back, he almost immediately caught a lob from Wall, and many more followed. The highlight that everyone will be talking about was when Wall threw a bounce pass lob to him. As if that were not enough, Griffin put the reverse two hand flush onto it. Pretty sick, really.
The Sophomores were led by DeJuan Blair with 28 points and a game high 15 rebounds, and James Harden, who scored 30 points as a last minute replacement for Tyreke Evans. I guess he wanted to show he belonged here.
I don't really like these games. The complete and total disregard for defense makes them little more than layup lines at times. Watching one team run out for a fast break, while three of the 'defenders' don't bother to even try to get back, because they want to get a dunk of their own after the opponent scores, is not really a lot of fun.
For what it's worth, I thought the Sophomores would have an advantage in this game with the guard play ofStephen Curry and Brandon Jennings, but Wall more than equalized that backcourt edge. In the end, Sophomore guards Curry (5 for 12), Jennings (3 for 10) and Jrue Holliday (4 for 9) were among the four players suited up who failed to make at least half of their shots (Bledosoem, 3 for 7, was the fourth).
So that's it from Staples tonight. Let's hope that Blake was saving up his energy to put on the big show tomorrow in the dunk contest.