Griffin’s highlight act draws retaliation

18 Jan

With each thundering dunk he’s thrown down and every rebound he’s violently snatched out of the air, Blake Griffin(notes) has won over a nation of fans who consider him one of the most exciting players to join the NBA in years. In three short months, the Los Angeles Clippers rookie has shown he’s well on his way to becoming one of the league’s stars.

In the process, Griffin also has become something else – a target for many opponents who have grown weary of his limitless energy and flyover act.

In the closing seconds of the Clippers’ victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday, Lamar Odom(notes) grabbed Griffin by the jersey and tried to yank him off the court, igniting a brief scrum that led to the ejection of four players. Odom’s complaint: Blake was battling too hard for a rebound – or, in Odom’s words, delivering a “ram in the back” – in a game that had already been decided.

Griffin didn’t retaliate, throwing up his hands in defense and trying to back away from Odom. But his teammates – in particular, veteran point guard Baron Davis(notes) – have grown increasingly frustrated with the perceived “cheap shots” the young forward has been subject to from opponents. In an interview with Yahoo! Sports on Friday, Davis said it was time for the Clippers to start protecting Griffin. He made good on his vow, pushing Odom and jawing at the Lakers forward during the scrum.

The one thing Davis doesn’t want to happen is for the powerful Griffin to soften his game.
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