by Chris O’Leary/@olearychris
Blake Griffin spent the first half of his rookie season in the NBA padding his highlight reel resume up. As he lumbers toward All-Star Weekend, the resume has taken on a life of its own. It has swollen from a folder to a binder to something the 6-10, 251-pound 21-year-old lugs around with him from one arena to the next.
The ball handlers on the Clippers do what they can to help things along. They see not only Griffin’s present-day skill, but his potential as well. They know what he can do and that if they push him just a little more, he’ll surprise himself.
That’s what seemed to happen for the team on Saturday night. The Charlotte Bobcats stopped posing a challenge in the second quarter of what would turn out to be a 103-88 win for the Clippers. Getting the game to that point, the Clippers zeroed in on their big man, finding him for easy buckets, setting him up for drives to the basket and throwing him alley-oop passes that looked like they were hops experiments for the rest of the team just to see what Griffin could do.
It culminated in this Randy Foye lob to Griffin in the first half. It’s a beautiful play — thrown from about 60-feet back — that had both the passer and the finisher at their absolute best.
“Yeah, It was crazy,” Griffin said of the lob and dunk, which almost seemed like it was thrown too far for him. “I didn’t think he was going to throw it, but he did. He put it right on the money so it made it easy on me.”
“I just threw it up into open space and said, ‘Please Blake, just go and get it,’” Foye said of the play, laughing.
“And once it’s up there I don’t think no one else could go up that high and get it. Probably the only other person … (is) probably Dwight (Howard) but I just threw it up there and let him go get it.”
Griffin said he didn’t care where the passes come from on the court. If they’re on target, he knows he can put them down.
“I’m sure they can (lob from further back). It’s really tough to attempt it, but they put it on the money every time,” he said. “The easy part is just catching it and dunking it. I’m sure those guys can bring it farther and farther back.”
Baron Davis, who hooked Griffin up with some lob dunks in the fourth quarter and had a couple of botched alley-oop attempts with the big man as well, said he’s on board with looking at the rim further back in his own end.
“Uhh…hopefully 94 feet,” he joked when asked how far back he could connect with Griffin from. “Randy, I thought he threw an excellent pass to Blake in the first half. Blake has amazing hands and he’s just a hard worker. That’s a great play.”
The great plays are often the ones that come from nowhere. They’re the ones that are drummed up out of what seems impossible.