Blake Griffin stood with his back against the wall at the Clippers’ practice facility Thursday, his answers thoughtful when he talked about the Golden State Warriors.
Griffin acknowledged he heard about the disparaging comments Golden State guard Klay Thompson had made Wednesday on a San Francisco radio station about the Clippers’ All-Star forward.
As usual when the Warriors have taken verbal or physical shots at him, Griffin took the high road.
He preferred to talk about how the Clippers want to beat the Warriors when they meet in the Western Conference first-round playoff series, which starts Saturday at Staples Center.
Thompson said Griffin “plays pretty physical and flops a little bit.”
“He flares his arm around so you know you might catch a random elbow or something that doesn’t, you know, rub off too well on guys,” Thompson said on 95.7 radio in San Francisco. “He’s kind of like a bull in a china shop, kind of out of control sometimes. And then you do just see him flop sometimes, like how can a guy that big and strong flop that much. I can see how that gets under people’s skin and be frustrating to play against.”
Griffin was asked for his reaction.
“This isn’t my thing,” Griffin said. “I play basketball. I don’t want to get into a back and forth. I think we’re ready to play. Sounds like they are too. It’s going to be exciting.”
There has been a lot of animosity between the Clippers and Warriors the last two seasons, and Griffin has been at the center of it.
Warriors backup forward Draymond Green was issued a flagrant foul two and ejected from the Christmas Day game for elbowing Griffin. Griffin was given a technical foul for responding to the play.
Then in the fourth quarter of that game, Warriors center Andrew Bogut and Griffin got into a tussle after Bogut pulled Griffin’s jersey. Both were given technical fouls, meaning Griffin was ejected from the game because it was his second of the game.
The next day the NBA said Griffin should have been given merely a common foul and that Bogut, who won’t play in the playoff series because of a fractured right rib, should have been given the technical foul.
Griffin and Warriors backup center Jermaine O’Neal had a face-to-face confrontation after O’Neal approached Griffin in the hallway outside of the Clippers’ locker room after a game in March. O’Neal is scheduled to start in place of the injured Bogut.
Through it all, Griffin has tried to maintain his composure.
“It doesn’t matter what anybody says or anybody does. I just go out and play basketball. It’s that easy. I just go play basketball.”
Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said Griffin’s numbers do all the talking. Griffin averaged 24.1 points on 52.8% shooting, 9.5 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game.
Against the Warriors in four regular-season games, Griffin averaged 25 points on 53.2% shooting, 10.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists.
“Whatever it is, Blake is still playing basketball. And at the end of the day, when you’re good, you should look at it as a compliment. ‘Guys are trying anything to stop me,’” Rivers said. “They tried it with Shaq [O’Neal]. They tried it with LeBron [James] and they’re trying it with Blake.
“I think Blake really has done a great job.”
Rivers said Danny Granger, who sat out the last nine games because of a strained left hamstring, worked out Thursday and “looked pretty good.”
Rivers said Granger will practice Friday and be available in the playoffs.
“Right now, I’m going to say I do expect him to play,” Rivers said. “But I just don’t know how much.”