What we learned last night in the NBA
Here’s what we learned on the night Blake Griffin reminded us who he is:
The Blake show can still be tantalizing.
In a way, Blake Griffin’s monster performance Tuesday night in a win over the Philadelphia 76ers (a career-high 50 points, 14 rebounds, six assists) felt like a culmination of all the work Griffin has put in since he was a rookie.
There were dunks, there were power moves around the basket and there were scores in transition. But Griffin also continued to show he can be a viable three-point shooter (a journey that dates back years).
What really struck me, though, was with the game on the line in overtime, the Pistons put the ball in Griffin’s hands and let him decide the game. And instead of settling for a jump shot, Griffin went to the rim (knowing he could be fouled), absorbed contact and scored. And then he won the game with a free throw.
Much earlier in his career, there’s no way Griffin wants the pressure of deciding a game at the free-throw line. Tuesday, he didn’t hesitate.
Here’s to hoping Griffin stays healthy so we can see a full season of him in his prime.
Joel Embiid continues to troll.
In the final moments of the 76ers loss in Detroit, Embiid flopped his way into drawing a second technical foul on Pistons center Andre Drummond. As soon as the call was made, Embiid stood up, suddenly fine, and repeated “Get him out of here.”
And after the game, Embiid said he’s taking up real estate inside Drummond’s head.
Of course, this earned a response.
The Clippers fell apart.
The Clippers had a chance for a great win Tuesday in New Orleans against the blistering-hot Pelicans, but eight fourth-quarter turnovers cost them late.
The game, in a lot of ways, showed exactly how people feel about this Clippers team. They’re talented enough to play with good teams, tough enough to do it on the road, even, but no one is quite sure if they have enough to win in the end.
Rondo takes accountability.
Fact of the night
The Clippers and Denver (fourth quarter of a blowout win) were the only teams to score fewer than 25 points in a quarter Tuesday night.
Line of the night
See Blake Griffin, above.
Game to watch Wednesday
Minnesota at Toronto 4:30 p.m.
There’s a ton of good stuff Wednesday night (Trae Young-Luka Doncic, Jazz-Rockets, 76ers-Bucks), but we’re here in Canada to see the two wings that’ll shape 2019 free agency, Kawhi Leonard and Jimmy Butler, duel.
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