Where Amazin' didn't happen . . .
This was supposed to be the NBA regular-season debut for one Blake Griffin, also fondly called Amazin' by his admiring Clippers teammates for his self-generated, live-action hoop highlights.
Granted, it was always going to be a tough task to compete with the emotion of the Lakers' ring ceremony Tuesday night at Staples Center.
But the news that the dynamic Clippers rookie power forward had a stress fracture of his left kneecap and could be out for up to six weeks deflated his teammates and the organization. Despite the brave words before the Lakers' 99-92 victory over the Clippers, the honest assessment was that the Griffin injury was a big setback for a team trying to find its way out of the NBA wilderness.
"You have to put it past you, but it's a huge, huge downer," said backup point guard Sebastian Telfair. "I mean, he is part of this team and there's no way we could look past that. He brings a lot to this team as far as all the basketball plays. He makes those exciting plays for us and it gets us up and going.
"There's a sense of confidence with him being out there even though he's a rookie."
The decades of mishaps and bad luck brought forth many questions about bad karma and curses, words being used locally and nationally.
"Well, I don't believe in curses or magic," Clippers Coach Mike Dunleavy said. "So bottom line is it is some bad luck."
Point guard Baron Davis, who returned after sitting out practice for a couple of days because of a foot injury, would have nothing of that word starting with C.
"It would be like someone wishing writer's block on you when you're on deadline," he said before the game.
Ah, that Davis, often blessed with good delivery and timing.
Those skills, though, were rusty in the first half -- Davis was 0 for 3 from the field with no points and had two turnovers. He finished with two points, on one-for-10 shooting, and had eight assists.
Dunleavy spoke about the Griffin injury creating more time for some of the Clippers' big men. But the first players off the bench in the first quarter were Rasual Butler and Ricky Davis. Craig Smith didn't get into the game until the second quarter. Smith finished with 12 points and the Clippers were led by shooting guard Eric Gordon's 21 points and center Chris Kaman's 18 points and 16 rebounds.
Not only will the Clippers have to deal with the potential absence of Griffin for the first 20 games, the youngster, by all accounts, is not the easiest patient.
"It's not so much his aggressive nature is that he needs to be more honest with his body and our medical personnel," Dunleavy said. "He's a warrior. He's trying to go out there and play hurt. But a lot of times he's telling us he's OK, that something is good, and really, he's still in some pain and trying to play through it.
"I think he understands that better now. Bottom line is that he's got to fully heal."
Griffin's rehab will feature bone stimulation and something called PRP (platelet rich plasma) treatment. Typically, PRP is a one-time thing and then Griffin would be restricted in his activities for about four weeks following the treatment.
"It's disappointing obviously for this to happen right now," Griffin said. "But at the same time, as I keep saying, it's not something I'm going to let get me down. It's not going to do me any good to hold my head down and feel sorry for myself."