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Blake Griffin has a smashing return to Staples Center court

CLIPPERS FYI

The Clippers forward has 24 points and 14 rebounds in his first game at the arena since a knee injury last year cost him the season.

October 14, 2010|By Lisa Dillman

He hardly needed something like a remember-me moment.

(Not with his ubiquitous smiling presence in the L.A. marketplace and on national TV in sandwich ads.)

The Clippers' Blake Griffin may not have been playing in the NBA all those months, but he never really went too far away. Still, reintroduction to local fans seemed almost required, considering it was nearly a year since he played his last game at Staples Center.

Done and done.

It came in the first fast-breaking 20 seconds: Baron Davis to Eric Gordon to Griffin, finishing with a tidy dunk Thursday night.

That was merely the appetizer in a dazzling and steady stream of Griffin dunks, sprinkled throughout the night in amazingly creative ways.

The Nuggets held off the Clippers, 100-95, in their preseason game but the buzz was all about Griffin above the rim and crashing to the floor. If there was ever a thought Griffin would hold back after missing all of last season because of a knee injury, well, that was quickly erased.

His new nickname — sorry for the lack of creativity — might have to be Crash. Griffin had 24 points, 14 rebounds and four blocked shots.

"He likes the hardwood — a lot," said teammate DeAndre Jordan. "It's a love-hate relationship between those two."

In court

Kaman had surprising jump in his game, finishing with 23 points and eight rebounds. This was despite a draining 48 hours, coming home from Mexico City and then testifying in a court case in downtown Los Angeles.

He was allowed to miss practice Wednesday to spend most of the day dealing with the court proceedings. Kaman, who said he was a character witness for his friend John Wiseman, got about two hours of sleep after returning in the early morning hours from the Clippers' Mexico trip.

The case is a trade-secret and defamation lawsuit filed by XL Touring Video Inc. against Wiseman, who was once the president and chief executive of that company.

Quick techs

Meanwhile, the Clippers were talking about reports that the players' association planned legal action in reaction to the NBA's rule changes regarding technicals.

"Sometimes the refs overdo it with calling techs too quickly," Kaman said. "Sometimes the players overdo it with staying at it too long. It's kind of like a give and take. I think we have to have a little bit more competency on both sides."

The officials did give him some wider latitude in Mexico City against the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday night.

"Rasual [Butler] blocked Tim Duncan and I looked at the play and I thought it was clean, in my mind," Kaman said. "So I was like, 'Ohhhh!'" Kaman said. "And I put my hands down real quick. 'I'm sorry.'"

The technicals can hit the pocketbook. "I think I had one year where I had 11," Kaman said. "Sometimes it's just stupid. I look back and that's $11,000 I could have had in my pocket."

Etc.

Jordan (strained right hamstring) did not play and could be out anywhere from five to 10 more days. Also missing the game was Craig Smith (back).

Gordon, who shares the same agent as Kobe Bryant, jokingly called Bryant old. It came up when talk turned to participation in the Summer Olympics in 2012.

"I told him I think he's getting a little old for that. I don't know, if I was that age, I don't know," Gordon said, smiling.

And, a reminder for Lakers fans, Gordon was joking.

lisa.dillman@latimes.com

twitter.com/reallisa

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