Blake Griffin, ladies and gentlemen. There really just wasn’t any stopping him today. Danny Granger tried. Tyler Hansbrough tried. James Posey tried. Jeff Foster tried. Even Roy Hibbert tried. No one succeeded.
The result was Blake scoring 47 points on an insane 19-for-24 shooting. In addition to becoming the NBA leader for points scored in a game this season, he added 14 boards. According to the TNT crew (if I heard this correctly), this makes Griffin the first rookie since Allen Iverson in 1996-97 to have two 40-point games. And he is now the only player not named Michael Jordan to have a game of 47-plus and 14-plus in his rookie year.
In summation, this kid is incredible
In a way, you almost just have to tip your cap to a guy on a night like this. Even on the few possessions when the Pacers didn’t let him get into the paint, he was hitting face-up bank shots from the mid-range and turnarounds from the block. But Indiana could have made his life more difficult. And they certainly could have at least made him prove that he could continue making jumpers rather than let him get into the paint at will. His shot chart (see above) shows 9 made FGs in the paint. That’s not getting it making things difficult enough.
“Anytime anybody in the NBA scores 47 points on you, you should be smacked,” Pacers forward Danny Granger said. “We can’t play like that. He just had his way against us. He did whatever he wanted to do. We didn’t have an answer for him.”
It’s a shame because the Clippers really did need all of these points to win on a night when only Griffin and Indiana native Eric Gordon were dangerous offensively. They also wasted a season-high 30 points from a finally-looks-like-he-has-figured-out-how-to-play-in-Indiana Darren Collison, who poured in 17 in the first quarter alone. It was a rare efficient game from Granger, too. His team-high 32 points came on 9-for-16 shooting and 9-for-11 at the line. He also had several nice drive and kicks to create open shots for teammates on the perimeter.
They just stopped playing any defense in the second half. And a 9-0 Clippers run midway through the fourth that put Los Angeles up 100-91 looked like the beginning of the end. It was. But the Pacers did make one final run at it. Foster got a dunk, Brandon Rush hit a three and some freethrows, and Collison got himself a couple of buckets. This cut the deficit to 3 with 1:45 to play but a huge Baron Davis three was the dagger as the Pacers wouldn’t hit another shot.
Ball game … 114-107.
A few other things:
- The other shame is that the Pacers wasted a good offensive game from the whole team. They shot 45.9% from the field, made 11 of 25 three attempts (44.0%) and got to the line 31 times (making 28 for a 90.3% success rate). For a team that has shot 43.2% this year and only gets to the line an average of 21.3 times per game (29th in the NBA), you expect to win on these nights.
- Roy Hibbert continued to not see the court much. Only 12 minutes and 4 points for the big fella, who still managed to pick up 5 fouls somehow. This marks the fourth game in the team’s seven since New Year’s that he has played less than 20 minutes. And he has only played more than 24 minutes once. He also hasn’t recorded more than 10 points in any of these seven games. This is beyond troubling and officially a borderline crisis. This team is going nowhere if they can’t figure out how to get him producing again.
- Paul George shot 3-for-5 and just generally looked good out there. Again. It’s hard to get a great feel for how good he can be given that we still haven’t seen a ton of him on the court, but he is now shooting 25/46 since missing 16 straight games with DNP-CDs. Excellent. Bill Simmons added this today during the game on Twitter: “Blink Test on Indy’s Paul George: that dude has an NBA body/glide/polish to him. Can see why @chadfordinsider + scouts were gushy about him.”
- TJ Ford has missed more layups in his career than any other player has made. I have no data on this but it has to be true. And it was contagious today as Foster, Solomon Jones and seemingly everyone else was missing gimmes as well. Pretty big blunders in 7-point game that was within 3 in the final two minutes.
- James Posey shot really well, hitting 3 of his 5 three-point attempts. Going into this game, he was 7 of his last 30 attempts, so hopefully this will get him off the schnide. He also did this, which was tremendous and may launch a post-NBA career as a Sonic the Hedgehodge impersonator. (h/t Indy Cornrows)