Blake Griffin and Clippers are making a big push on the boards

Blake Griffin and Clippers are making a big push on the boards
Clippers power forward Mike Conley is forced to pass after driving into the defense of Clippers power forward Blake Griffin on Saturday night.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

A push and a shove here, a grab and hold there.

A knee, an elbow, a pull-down and a throw to the side.


That’s what all have come to expect when Clippers All-Star power forward Blake Griffin and Memphis All-Star power forward Zach Randolph face off in a game.

It’s what happened during four regular-season games.


It’s what happened during Game 1 of the teams’ Western Conference first-round playoff series Saturday night, a 112-91 Clippers victory.

And it’s expected to be the same when the teams meet again in Game 2 Monday night at Staples Center.

It’s more like an MMA cage fight than a basketball game when Griffin and Randolph play against each other.

“For anybody else, I feel like it’s not that much of a fight, because most of the time things get called no matter what,” Griffin said. “But that’s his game. Over time, people get used to that. So it’s not going to really work in my favor. I just have to make sure it’s even.”


During the regular season, the battle was pretty much a statistical standoff.

Griffin averaged 13.8 points in the four games, below his season average of 18 per game. Randolph averaged 14.8, slightly down from his 15.4 average. Griffin averaged 3.25 fouls, Randolph 3.0; the two were called for double fouls in both the first and last regular-season meetings.

They also were hit with double technical fouls in one of the regular-season games.

The pattern continued Saturday night, when Griffin and Randolph were assessed a double foul. Griffin fouled out after scoring 10 points and taking five rebounds. Randolph finished with five fouls, 13 points and four rebounds.


Griffin says he is willing to sacrifice some of his stats because of his workload against Randolph.

“People might look at the box score and say, ‘Oh, he’s not contributing,’” Griffin said. “But watching the film today, our coaches and our team felt like we did the job we were supposed to do.

“If you look at the final stats, it reflects that because we won the rebounding battle.”

Indeed, the Clippers dominated the boards in Game 1, 47-23.

The Grizzlies had only four offensive rebounds, after averaging 12.9 during the regular season, tied for third in the NBA. Randolph, who led the league in that category, averaging 4.1, had none Saturday. .

The Clippers had 14 offensive rebounds, part of a collective effort on the boards that they said was a part of the game plan. Though no one reached double figures in rebounds, 10 of the 11 Clippers who played had at least one.

DeAndre Jordan had a game-high eight rebounds, Caron Butler and Lamar Odom had seven each, and even backup point guard Eric Bledsoe had six, as many as anyone on the Grizzlies managed. One of Bledsoe’s rebounds was an offensive tip-in late in the game.

“I thought Blake and D.J. did a great job in terms of getting bodies on their “bigs” as much as possible,” Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro said. “Then our guards did a good job rebounding the ball, coming in and getting long rebounds. So that was a big factor for us.”

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