He’s no Kevin Durant, but Blake Griffin has been downright impressive.
In a matchup against one of the league’s worst teams in the Utah Jazz, the one appealing quality this game would possess is the matchup between Blake Griffin and Derrick Favors. Unfortunately for fans far and wide, Favors missed tonight’s game due to a nagging hip injury. Favor’s absence didn’t keep Griffin’s competitive streak down.
Tonight’s performance, 25 points, 11 rebounds and 4 assists has been par for the course since the calendar year turned. This was Griffin’s twelfth 25-point performance and his eleventh 4-assist+ performance. His rebounds have been down due to DeAndre Jordan’s activity on the boards, but that hasn’t lessened the play Griffin has blessed NBA fans with.
Putting up the numbers is only half the story. We’ve seen several cases where a player can put up the stats, but be void of a “w” in the win column. That hasn’t been Griffin. He’s kept this team afloat while Chris Paul is still nursing a bum shoulder, all while showing the world the confidence we’ve all wanted to see in the fourth year power forward. And tonight he was the main cog as his team defeated the Utah Jazz 102 to 87.
Griffin wasn’t the only Clipper to put on a show tonight.
Who one would presume is the clear frontrunner for Sixth Man of the Year, Jamal Crawford contributed 27 points and five assists off the bench. Darren Collison and DeAndre Jordan joined Griffin and Crawford as double digit scorers, Jordan adding 14 rebounds to his ten-plus points. There wasn’t much help elsewhere as Doc Rivers spread the minutes out due to the disparity in the score.
For the Utah Jazz, Enes Kanter was the star of the show. Jordan is far from a defensive force, but Kanter’s 23 points and 14 rebounds won’t be swept under the rug. Before the season began, the Utah Jazz were high on the Derrick Favors-Enes Kanter power forward-center tandem as they allowed Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson to walk in free agency. But early season struggles forced Ty Corbin to move Kanter to the bench in order to maximize his teams talents.
While Kanter played an excellent game, the Jazz’s “wings of the future” in Gordon Hayward and Trey Burke struggled mightily, combining for 21 points on 5-of-26 shooting. Richard Jefferson pitched in 19 points and 4 rebounds.
Next up for the Clippers will be one of the hardest test a team can face in the league: playing in Denver on the second night of a back-to-back. Most teams fail miserably, but between the rest marquee players were allowed tonight due to blowing out the Jazz and being relieved of having to face scoring threat Nate Robinson who recently tore his ACL, the Clippers may be in prime position to pull out a win tomorrow.