Blake Griffin's jaw-dropping dunk highlights Clippers win over Thunder
By By Beth Harris
The Associated Press|
Jan 31, 2012 at 8:55 AM
LOS ANGELES — Blake Griffin's jaw-dropping one-handed jam over Kendrick Perkins sent Los Angeles Clippers fans into a frenzy, fired up his teammates, lit up the Twitterverse and burned the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Griffin had 22 points to go with Chris Paul's 26 points and 14 assists in a 112-100 victory Monday night that snapped the Thunder's four-game winning streak in a matchup of division leaders.
Griffin downplayed his monster move after the game, a sly smile only briefly breaking his serious expression.
"CP commands so much attention out there. He came off the pick-and-roll and he hit me in stride," Griffin said.
Paul added: "I told Blake after the game, 'Thanks for letting me be part of that.'"
DeAndre Jordan grabbed Griffin from behind in a celebratory bear hug as the basket got replayed over and over in the third quarter.
Jordan, who had 11 points and 11 rebounds, couldn't help himself.
"I was shocked. I didn't know what to do, so I just grabbed him. I hit him kind of hard," he said. "I'm going to go home and watch it again. It's probably going to be the screensaver on my phone."
Griffin said he knew he'd made an impression judging by the crowd's raucous response. Then he felt Jordan behind him.
"He armlocked me," Griffin said. "I couldn't breathe." The reaction on Twitter came fast and furious.
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald tweeted: "Blake Griffin just made one of the top dunks of the season. Maybe even his career. (hashtag) Beast."
Tracy McGrady of the Atlanta Hawks weighed in with "yo, crazy crazy dunk by the dude Blake Griffin."
Even Shaquille O'Neal's ex-wife was impressed.
Shaunie O'Neal tweeted: "OMG!!! Did y'all just see Blake Griffin dunk!!!!! Daaayyyummm!"
Paul had 26 points and 14 assists, Caron Butler also had 22 points, Chauncey Billups scored 13 and Mo Williams 12 as the Pacific-leading Clippers dunked with high-flying abandon against the team with the NBA's best record at 16-4. They won their third in a row to follow up a 109-105 victory at Denver a night earlier that began a stretch of five games in seven nights.
"We're not going to read too much into it," Paul said of the back-to-back wins. "It let us know what we're capable of. We can explode offensively."
Kevin Durant had 36 points and 13 rebounds, and Russell Westbrook added 31 for the Northwest-leading Thunder, whose league-best road record dropped to 8-3. They had won 11 of their previous 12.
"Chris Paul was running around, getting what he wanted to get on the floor and making passes to guys for wide-open dunks and 3s," Durant said. "It's tough to stop."
Griffin's monster mash had everyone talking and tweeting, but the Clippers put together a stunning sequence going into halftime.
They shocked the Thunder with four consecutive 3-pointers in less than a minute to lead 64-46. The flurry by Williams (two), Butler (one) and Billups (one) stopped the Thunder's 11-2 run that had drawn them within six points.
"I told Mo that might have been the greatest exchange I have been part of since I've been in the NBA," Paul said. "That got the crowd into it. Four 3s in under a minute is unbelievable."
Jordan said: "We were just hot. It really didn't look like it was real. We were on a high, but we knew we had to come out in the third and knock them out flat."
The Thunder bumbled their way into the half, with Westbrook and Durant combining on three straight turnovers that led to the Clippers' long-range fireworks. Williams and Butler had two steals in the run.
"That doesn't happen, and it probably won't happen again the rest of the year, that a team will make that many 3s in a minute," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. "But they made the shots. They started the game with a lot of urgency and they had us back on our heels."
Los Angeles shot 71 percent from long range in a half that also featured a series of huge dunks by Jordan, Griffin, Durant and Westbrook, although both teams missed their share of dunks, too.
Daequan Cook was the only other Oklahoma City player in double figures with 12 points. Durant and Westbrook scored all but two of the Thunder's 25 points in the third quarter, which the Clippers ended on a 3-pointer by Paul to lead 90-70.
Durant and Westbrook began the fourth on the bench, although they both stood up when Cook hit his second 3-pointer of the period to get the Thunder to 95-81. Griffin then scored five in a row, capped by a two-handed jam that extended the Clippers' lead to 100-81.
The Thunder outscored Los Angeles 30-22 in the fourth, but never made a big run to get close.
The Clippers made 13 3-pointers — just off their season high of 14 against Denver on Sunday.
They made 10 3s in the first half, led by four from Butler, who connected from his favorite spot in the left corner.
The Thunder's only lead was four points to start the game.
Notes: Butler reached the 10,000-point mark on his third 3-pointer in the first quarter. ... Durant and Westbrook have scored at least 25 points each 37 times in their four seasons together. ... The Clippers improved to 10-2 at home. ... It was the Clippers' 12th consecutive sellout this season and 24th in a row overall dating to last season. The crowd of 19,404 included Larry King and Los Angeles Angels pitcher Dan Haren.