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Blake Griffin drops hammer, and 47 points, on Indiana in Clippers' 114-107 victory

The rookie forward makes 19 of 24 shots and nine of 11 free throws in amassing the highest single-game point total in the NBA this season. The win is L.A.'s 10th in the last 14 games.

January 17, 2011|By Lisa Dillman
  • Clippers power forward Blake Griffin drives against Pacers power forward Tyler Hansbrough in the first half Monday afternoon.
Clippers power forward Blake Griffin drives against Pacers power forward… (Alex Gallardo / Associated…)

Danny Granger reached a similar conclusion about Blake Griffin to one voiced by Kobe Bryant barely 24 hours earlier after doing time against the Clippers' rookie power forward in close quarters.

Only the Indiana forward used a few more words to describe Griffin's career performance in the Clippers' 114-107 victory over the Pacers on Monday afternoon.

"Anytime anybody in the NBA scores 47 points on you, you should be smacked," Granger said. "We can't play that like. He just had his way against us. He did whatever he wanted to do. We didn't have an answer for him."

Griffin scored 47 points, the most in his 11-week-old pro career and an NBA single-game high this season, surpassing the 46-point efforts from Golden State's Monta Ellis and Utah's Paul Millsap.

Call it punking without much dunking. Griffin had only one dunk, but who's counting?

This offering was a dazzling collection of jump shots, a sensational spin move in the lane and creative use of the glass. Additionally, Griffin recorded 14 rebounds, which was his 27th consecutive double-double — a streak that started after a humiliating loss at Indiana in November.

"As a kid, you always dream of having big games like you see guys do all the time," said Griffin, who shot 19 for 24 from the field and nine for 11 from the free-throw line. "I watched guys like Michael Jordan. I don't know how many 40-point games he had. You think about it and you dream about it.

"But it doesn't really hit you. I don't think twice about it to be honest. It's one of those things. You have games where shots are falling."

The Clippers (15-25) have won three of their last four games, including victories over Miami and the Lakers. Over a longer stretch, they've won 10 of 14.

Early on, Griffin looked like the only Clipper who wasn't suffering a letdown from Sunday's victory over the Lakers — the game that prompted Bryant's observation that "Blake just punked us." Griffin, who scored 16 second-half points Sunday, had 20 of the Clippers' first 33 points Monday.

Said Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro: "We went to him and he kept delivering."

Eventually, Griffin's teammates caught up. Eric Gordon had 23 points and Baron Davis had 14 points and 12 assists with one turnover.

"It was a spectacular performance by Griffin," said Pacers Coach Jim O'Brien. "It's not a matter of it slipping away. It's a matter of Griffin's performance taking it away. We couldn't guard him. . . . I could say it 100 different ways but that's the bottom line."

Griffin's point total was five shy of the franchise record of 52, by Charles Smith on Dec. 1, 1990, against Denver. His teammates wanted to see Griffin at least hit 50. There was time for a three-point attempt, considering his 47th point came with 1:01 remaining.

"Yeah, I wanted him to shoot a three," center DeAndre Jordan said. "No disrespect to Indiana. But I wanted him to get his 50. He has plenty more games to try to get it.

"I really wanted him to get it. We owed Indiana. They smacked us pretty good" in November.

This time, there was no Amare Stoudemire-like nod of appreciation on the court for Griffin, whose previous high was 44 points against Stoudemire and the Knicks on Nov. 20.

Here, it looked as though Griffin tried to shake James Posey's hand afterward and Posey confirmed the attempt and added: "I declined."

Said Griffin: "Sometimes you're frustrated after games like that. Maybe next time, he'll give me a high-five."

Indiana had been the low point for Griffin on Nov. 18. In that 27-point loss, he looked morose on the bench near the end with a towel over part of his head. He made a vow afterward, saying: "Something has got to change."

And it did.

Griffin has had a double-double every game since then . . . and the rest is Clippers history.

lisa.dillman@latimes.com

twitter.com/reallisa

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