PHOENIX—Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin needs to learn how to rise above and not just play basketball when things come easy to him.
Lately, the rising superstar has been subjected to an erogenous amount of flagrant fouls as teams struggle to stop him inside.
Last night, Robin Lopez took a flagrant 2 foul ejection because there was no other way that he could stop Blake from doing him dirty in the paint.
There was no other way that he could stop him from delivering another facial. By the way that term needs to exit basketball terminology immediately.
When anyone results to going outside of the rules to defeat you that means they know they can’t beat you. In some weird sort of way it’s a sign of respect. It’s an admittance that there is nothing left for them to do.
Here’s the problem. Griffin should be reveling in these moments. Instead, he’s losing in them.
With each hard foul in the second half, he held his head low and slumped his shoulders. He played with less and less sprit and when the games was on the line, he was not the guy that took over.
The Suns had no right to win that game. They gave up turn over after turn over and they did not look especially sharp.
Last night, Blake Griffin could have been a dream killer. Along with Chris Paul, he could have stepped to the Suns and gloated as he made their road to the post-season extremely difficult after they bent the rules, played dirty and showed their frustration.
Blake Griffin could have showed out on the Suns own court and returned the disrespect by humiliating them in front of their own people.
What ended up happening? The Suns won a tight one and Blake only scored on a couple free throws in the second half.
The box score will show that he played a good game. The bulk of those points came from a stormy first quarter where he took off like he really was that dude.
Had he even played up to 50% of his potential after the Suns started swinging low, it would have been a blowout before the fourth quarter even got underway.
For the Clippers post-season run to amount to more than a pipe dream, Griffin needs to take each hard foul as a sign of progression.
As for the rest of the Clippers, somebody needs to step up and assume the enforcer role. Kenyon Martin, where you at?
Teams can’t just come off the top rope on this guy whenever they feel like it.
With performances like last night, teams will gladly start sacrificing bench players to take him out of his zone.
Pro wrestling legend Rick Flair used to screech “to be the man you have to beat the man.” In the NBA vs. Blake Griffin, that mantra now reads “to be the man you have to beat up on the man.”