Chris Paul selected first-team All-NBA, Blake Griffin is on the second team

Point guard Chris Paul was selected first-team All-NBA and power forward Blake Griffin made the second team, the NBA announced Wednesday. It was the fourth first-team selection of Paul’s career.

Joining Paul on the first team are forward Kevin Durant of Oklahoma City, forward LeBron James of the Miami Heat, center Joakim Noah of the Chicago Bulls and guard James Harden of the Houston Rockets.

Durant was the only player to be selected to the first team on all 125 ballots; James was first-team on 124.

Joining Griffin on the second team are guards Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs and Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors, forward Kevin Love of the Minnesota Timberwolves and center Dwight Howard of the Houston Rockets.

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Blake Griffin has become one of the best in the league, but he’s far from perfect


Photo by Associated Press

Blake Griffin just completed his fourth season in the NBA. It was his best, and the first three were darn good. That’s not to say the 6-foot-10 power forward doesn’t have room for improvement. All players do.

Griffin averaged a career-best 24.1 points. He also pulled down 9.5 rebounds per game, shot a career-high 71.5 percent from the free-throw line and shot 52.8 percent from the field even though he took more outside shots.

Griffin finished third in the Most Valuable Player voting behind Kevin Durant and LeBron Jones. Clippers coach Doc Rivers thought Griffin should have finished second behind Durant. Griffin was that good this season.

Whereas Griffin is probably known most offensively for his powerful dunks, he spent a good part of the off-season working on his outside shot, which often looked real nice from about 15 to 18 feet. He did struggle with it at times, but not so much that it deterred him using it.

One interesting statistic had Griffin leading the Clippers in fouls. He committed an average of 3.3 during the regular season and a whopping 4.15 during 13 playoff games. When Griffin is in foul trouble, the Clippers do suffer and he was in too much foul trouble during the post-season. You don’t really want Griffin to tone down the ferocious part of his game, so he might always lead his team in fouls. But averaging more than four fouls in the playoffs is not a good thing and Griffin must cut down on that when it’s the right time to cut down.

The other thing in this regard is the very idea that Griffin complains on virtually every foul for which he is whistled. Yes, a lot of NBA players beef when they are called for a foul. But Griffin – and the Clippers as a whole – do it too much. One would think Griffin is never guilty of a foul the way he carries on sometimes. Don’t think for one second officials don’t remember all of that, because they do.

The very idea that the player who finished third in the MVP voting had so many fouls called on him in the post-season says a lot. If you have a right to complain, do it. If you don’t, knock it off.

Griffin is too talented and too important to his team to be that guy who hurts his team because of excessive belly-aching.

All that said, Griffin is just a beast on the court. He took so much pounding from defenders this season, that he was able to come up with the numbers he did tells a lot about just how terrific a player he has become.

Griffin said after his team was eliminated by the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference semifinals that he was going to continue to work on his outside shot over this off-season. If he gets even better in that department and can continue to improve upon his free-throw shooting, it won’t be surprising to see him win the MVP award sometime in the next few years.

Griffin, just 25, is signed through the 2017-18 season. He is slated to make $17,632,688 in 2014-15.

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Blake Griffin wants to play in the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup

Anyone wondering what Blake Griffin will be doing this off-season? First, he wants to continue to work on the things that helped him finish third in the 2013-14 regular-season MVP voting.

“Still work on my shot, a lot of face-up stuff, just kind of continuing the work we did last summer,” Griffin said late last week, after the Clippers had been eliminated by the Thunder in the Western Conference semifinals.

Then, later in the summer, Griffin has other plans.

“I plan on playing in the World  Cup,” he said.

The 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup will be contested Aug. 30-Sept. 14 at four venues in Spain. There will be four pools, and USA will be in the one that includes Ukraine, Finland, New Zealand, Turkey and the Dominican Republic.

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Griffin gets that in order to reach the top, one has to endure a lot to get there

Blake Griffin understands that in order for an athlete to reach the top, he or she may have to go through adversity to get there.

The Clippers were eliminated Thursday by the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 6 of their Western Conference semifinals series at Staples Center. On Friday, Griffin talked about about the trials and tribulations of both his team’s play on the court as well as what they had to deal with off the court, no thanks to now-banned team owner Donald Sterling.

Griffin was philosophical about it all, knowing that going through a lot will make it all the better if and when he and the Clippers win an NBA title.

“I’ve heard guys say it makes it that much sweeter when you do get to the top,” Griffin said.

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Clippers head coach Doc Rivers and Blake Griffin defend Chris Paul after Game 5 loss

Los Angeles Clippers' Chris Paul, Hedo Turkoglu (8), Jamal Crawford (11) and Blake Griffin (32) walk back to their bench in the closing minutes of a 118-97 loss to the Golden State Warriors during the second half in Game 4 of an opening-round NBA basketball playoff series on Sunday, April 27, 2014, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Los Angeles Clippers’ Chris Paul, Hedo Turkoglu (8), Jamal Crawford (11) and Blake Griffin (32) walk back to their bench in the closing minutes of a 118-97 loss to the Golden State Warriors during the second half in Game 4 of an opening-round NBA basketball playoff series on Sunday, April 27, 2014, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

After the Clippers’ emotional 105-104 Game 5 collapse to the Oklahoma City Thunder on the road, where Los Angeles squandered a 13-point lead in the final four minutes of play, point-gaurd Chris Paul took the blame.

Paul’s stretch of play in the waning moments would make no highlight reel. Paul turned the ball over with 17.8 seconds left that led to the controversial out-of-bounds call involving Reggie Jackson and the Clippers’ Matt Barnes call with 11.6 seconds left.

After the review kept the ball with the Thunder, Paul fouled Russell Westbrook on the elbow as he attempted a three-point shot with 6.4 ticks left. Westbrook sunk all three for the 105-104 lead.

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Blake Griffin on Game 4 comeback victory: ‘We just kept fighting’

When the Clippers were down by 22 points in the first quarter of their 101-99 Game 4 comeback victory over Oklahoma City on Sunday at Staples Center, the mood on the bench was probably not as dim as one might think, according to forward Blake Griffin.

“It starts with our whole bench,” Griffin said, when asked what it said about his team that it was able to come back and win with the season on the line. “Even when we were down 20-whatever in the first quarter, everybody kept telling each other, ‘Chip away, chip away. We’re not going to do it in two minutes, four minutes, just keep chipping away.’ That was kind of our mentality for the rest of the game. We just kept fighting.”

The result: a Western Conference semifinals series that is tied 2-2 instead of OKC being up 3-1 heading into Game 5 Tuesday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City.

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Doc Rivers doles out kudos to Blake Griffin for keeping his cool when things get hot

Blake Griffin had 16 technical fouls during the regular season, which tied him with two others – Kevin Durant of Oklahoma City and DeMarcus Cousins of Sacramento – for most in the league. How many does Griffin have during 11 post-season games? Not one.

That impresses coach Doc Rivers, who was asked during a conference call Monday how he goes about counseling Griffin to keep his cool. This comes on the heels of Griffin being hit in the groin area by OKC’s Serge Ibaka not long after Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals began Sunday at Staples Center.

“You can just say Zach Randolph,” Rivers said of the Memphis Grizzlies’ forward who punched the Thunder’s Steven Adams in Game 6 of their first-round series, resulting in a one-game suspension, meaning Randolph did not play in Game 7. “It is hard to keep your cool. You’re getting hit, I think at times illegal hits. I think he’s been taking them all year and he’s been doing a great job of it.

“I don’t know if anyone has taken more punishment this year than Blake. In my opinion, some of them have been aboveboard and some of them have not been. People keep getting away with it.” Continue reading

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OKC’s Kevin Durant named regular-season Most Valuable Player; Blake Griffin third

Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday was named Most Valuable Player in the NBA, the league announced.

Durant received 119 first-place votes and tallied 1,232 points from a panel of 124 voters consisting of sportswriters and broadcasters. An MVP fan vote also was rendered, making for 125 total ballots. LeBron James (891 points, 6 first-place votes) of the Miami Heat was second and Blake Griffin of the Clippers (434 points) third.

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Doc Rivers, Blake Griffin marvel at DeAndre Jordan after Game 5 victory

Like virtually the entire team, DeAndre Jordan was bummed out when he took the floor Sunday at Oracle Arena in Oakland for Game 4 of the Clippers’ Western Conference playoff series against Golden State. Only a day earlier the team found out its owner – Donald Sterling – had spewed racist comments about African-Americans during an argument with his girlfriend V. Stiviano.

The result was a 118-97 victory for the Warriors. In the game, Jordan had zero points, just six rebounds and two blocks.

Two days later, on Tuesday, NBA commissioner Adam Sterling punished Sterling by banning him for life from the Clippers and the rest of the NBA, with the vow he would try to push Sterling out altogether via a 75-percent vote of the other league owners.

Happy days were here again for the Clippers, and it showed Tuesday night when they defeated the Warriors 113-103 in Game 5 at Staples Center to take a 3-2 series lead into Game 6 on Thursday night at Oracle Arena. Jordan’s numbers? He had 25 points, 18 rebounds and four blocks.

His teammate, Blake Griffin, marveled.

“I mean, he was huge tonight,” Griffin said post-game. “He was unreal. I’ve never seen him play a game like that from start to finish. Obviously, on defense  he was great and when he plays like that, it takes our team to another level. He was dissapointed in Game 4, like we all were and it showed tonight. He bottled up some energy and bottled up some anger and left it all out there.”

Coach Doc Rivers was reminded of what Griffin said during a conference call Wednesday. Rivers took it a step further.

“DJ has to be there every night,” Rivers said. “He’s so important to us and that’s what I’ve been telling everyone all year. His importance to this team, the value of it, almost can’t be measured because he does so many things with his athleticism, his enreryg, his
defense. He bails us out so many times defensively, from a game-plan mistake or just a great play by the other team. The fact that he has the ability to erase our mistakes,
his ability to be just a one-man rebounding machine, gives us extra possessions. His value to our team is unlimited.”

Six of Jordan’s rebounds Tuesday were on the offensive end.

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Blake Griffin doesn’t know why DeAndre Jordan had such an off game Sunday

DeAndre Jordan had 14 points, 22 rebounds – which tied a franchise playoff record – and five blocked shots in Thursday’s 98-96 Game 3 victory over the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena.

He had zero points, six rebounds and two blocked shots in 25 minutes of a game in which he was in foul trouble in the first half of the Clippers’ 118-97 loss to the Warriors in Game 4 Sunday.

His teammate, Blake Griffin, was asked in the post-game news conference if he believes the surrounding events – owner Donald Sterling’s alleged racist remarks – affected Jordan.

“I really can’t speak on that,” Griffin said. “I don’t know. I couldn’t tell you. Everybody has games that aren’t as good as others. I think, honestly, I think we all really had one of those games tonight. So I can’t really … I couldn’t really tell you.”

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