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Blake Griffin's play is talk (er, tweet) of NBA

Rookie leads Clippers to their second win in a row, and he has two of the biggest stars singing his praises.

November 25, 2010|By Lisa Dillman

Food eaten, empires conquered and (some) games won … so what is an NBA superstar supposed to do when dialing it back on Thanksgiving?

Tweet about Blake Griffin, of course.

The Clippers were on their way to a 100-82 victory over the Kings — welcome to their first winning streak of the season — when the first superstar tweet materialized in the first half.

@KingJames… Man Blake Griffin is the most explosive player in the league! Crazy bounce

KingJames would be LeBron James. Was he regretting taking his talents to South Beach instead of Manhattan Beach? Well, that's an issue for another day.

At halftime, another massive presence weighed in, responding to the TNT crew back in Atlanta.

@THE_REAL_SHAQ … blake griffin is n my top power forwards n da league, he is like (shawn) kemp, chuck

Shaquille O'Neal of the Celtics was giving his Thanksgiving greeting to Charles Barkley and "that other guy," who would be Kenny Smith.

So that's about 4.5 million Twitter followers between the likes of Shaq and LeBron reading about the exploits of Griffin.

Griffin was much more than a dunking highlight film Thursday night at Staples Center in leading the Clippers to their third win of the season. He had his ninth double-double of the season, nearly getting it in the first half with 15 points and nine rebounds.

The overall numbers: Griffin had 25 points and 15 rebounds and five assists, connecting well with Eric Gordon, who had a game-high 28 points along with six assists.

Griffin seemed almost embarrassed when told about the compliments from O'Neal and James. "That's pretty cool," he said. "I appreciate that. I still have a lot of work to do, but I appreciate they say those things. I still have a lot of work to do before I'm where I want to be."

Fellow rookie Al-Farouq Aminu had 12 points and the Clippers' third rookie in the starting lineup, point guard Eric Bledsoe, had six points and four assists, and more important, did not commit his first turnover until there was 3:25 remaining.

It was the first time the Clippers have won consecutive games since they won three in a row last season, from Feb. 20-24. But Coach Vinny Del Negro was not pleased with their early energy, saying he addressed it in an early timeout with his "Italian, subtle way."

Griffin has been playing with an even greater purpose since the Clippers were blown out last week at Indiana, 107-80. He declared afterward that "something has to change."

And it has. The Clippers (3-13) have won two of three games since then, and Griffin has had double-doubles in all three, starting with that 44-point explosion against the Knicks on Saturday.

"He's the future power forward in the NBA," Kenny Smith said during TNT's halftime show.

Said Barkley, who compared Griffin to Kemp in terms of explosiveness, adding: "It's going to be fun to watch him grow."

Barkley went on to criticize the Clippers for a lack of leadership, saying it was the one thing they were missing.

Turned out, they hardly needed that against the struggling Kings, who have lost nine of their last 10 games. Epitomizing their woes in a big way was guard Tyreke Evans, the reigning rookie of the year. Evans, who finished with eight points, went 0 for 6 for one point in the first half.

lisa.dillman@latimes.com

twitter.com/reallisa

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