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CLIPPERS FYI

Clippers' top pick, Blake Griffin, goes all out in preseason debut

The No. 1 overall pick's first game featured mammoth dunks and a play in which he went flying over the scorer's table after a loose ball in 97-85 win over Portland.

October 10, 2009|Lisa Dillman

Breathtaking?

And how about adding breath-stopping to the mix?

The Clippers' Blake Griffin managed to do just that in one memorable quarter in his highly anticipated NBA exhibition debut, a 97-85 Clippers victory against the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night at Staples Center. In all, he had eight points on three-for-six shooting and five rebounds in 21 minutes.

His second quarter featured mammoth dunks and one sequence in which he went flying over the scorer's table then, just as swiftly, recollected himself and displayed some showy ball-handling skills before turning it over.

"I was trying to hustle," Griffin said. "Then I went into the stands and the ball came right to me and I messed it up. I was a little ambitious."

Said Clippers Coach Mike Dunleavy: "It was good, the first night in. The first and foremost thing is the fact that I was able to play him at two positions [small forward and power forward] was something I didn't count on or think about. It's because of his IQ and his work ethic."

One Clippers' executive joked at halftime about his heart stopping when Griffin went over the scorer's table after the loose ball.

Ah, youth . . . and there goes the future, and the No. 1 overall draft pick.

Air Griffin.

Hardly original. But the search is on for an appropriate nickname for the new face of the Clippers franchise.

His potential worth to the Clippers was demonstrated, once again, when the announced crowd of 11,477 at Staples Center gave him a standing ovation when he entered the game with 1:45 remaining in the first quarter.

"We haven't made any new nicknames up for him. I'm pretty sure after tonight he'll have something," said teammate DeAndre Jordan. "He'll have one tomorrow, for sure."

The Clippers' coaches and players had predicted Griffin would release his pent-up energy in a big way. Griffin had been limited to one session of scrimmaging because of an injured left knee.

Griffin suffered a bone bruise four days before training camp opened and finally got in some five-on-five action Thursday.

"He was really upset not playing. You want that," said teammate Al Thornton.

Bookend to Vegas

Griffin had played with teammates Eric Gordon and Jordan in Las Vegas in Summer League and veterans Marcus Camby and Baron Davis were on hand to watch, too.

Thornton saw everything he needed to see of Griffin in Las Vegas, via computer.

"He has all the energy and young legs," said Thornton. "I watched all the [Vegas] games on NBA broadband. He was killing out there. He's very old school in the way he goes about it and handles things."

Revealing statistic

The Clippers averaged 10.6 fast-break points last season. They had 28 against Portland.

This was their first win of the exhibition season, having lost on Sunday at Golden State.

In addition to Griffin, Camby and backup point guard Sebastian Telfair missed the Warriors' game.

Camby and Telfair both played against Portland. Camby had 11 points in 22 minutes, and Telfair had a nice spark off the bench with 10 assists, seven of them coming in the first half.

Rasual Butler led the Clippers with 14 points; LaMarcus Aldridge had 13 for Portland.

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lisa.dillman@latimes.com

twitter.com/reallisa

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