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Blake Griffin lacks energy in Clippers' 96-83 loss to Houston

The rookie, who says he wasn't bothered by sore elbow, is subdued in scoring 14 points and getting 11 rebounds, and Clippers score just 10 points in fourth quarter, a season low.

January 26, 2011|By Lisa Dillman
  • Clippers forward Blake Griffin, left, is called for a foul while colliding with Houston small forward Shane Battier during the fourth quarter of the Clippers' 96-83 loss Wednesday.
Clippers forward Blake Griffin, left, is called for a foul while colliding… (Thomas Campbell / U.S. Presswire )

Reporting from Houston — Randy Foye was remembering what happened after previous pedestrian outings from teammate and Clippers rookie Blake Griffin.

(That is, if you can truly call a double-double a run-of-the-mill night.)

Foye spoke after a low-on-energy Griffin scored 14 points and had 11 rebounds in the Clippers' loss to Houston. The Rockets defeated the Clippers, 96-83, on Wednesday night, bolstered, in part, by the Clippers' scoring just 10 points in the fourth quarter, a season low.

"I would rather Blake have a game like this because I know his mind-set going into the game Saturday already," said Foye, who had a season-high 20 points. "I know he's thinking already. I just hope the next person is ready."

When Griffin had a subpar performance at Indiana in November, he went out and scored 44 points in the next game against the New York Knicks, which put him on an upward trajectory. And before that, he bounced back well after ripping himself for only getting three rebounds against the New Jersey Nets on Nov . 15. He then went 26 and 17 against the Timberwolves in the next game, at Minnesota.

"This is just one of those nights," Foye said. "Everybody is allowed at least four or five of those a year, because it's 82 games. But whenever you've got five guys on you and their whole bench, it's going to be tough for you to score."

Griffin, who landed hard on his left elbow the night before in Dallas and suffered a contusion, wore a sleeve on the elbow and seemed unusually subdued at Toyota Center. He threw down one muted dunk and snatched most of his rebounds late.

Veteran center Chuck Hayes of the Rockets held him to nine points and four rebounds in the first half. Griffin had 24 points and 18 rebounds in the only other meeting between the Clippers and Rockets this season.

The Clippers (17-28) have won three of 18 road games this season.

Griffin said he wasn't bothered by his sore elbow. The closest admission he made to not feeling quite right was saying he was low on energy.

"I just missed a lot of shots," said Griffin, who was five for 16 from the field, "just came out and didn't have great energy and just missed shots.

"Back-to-back on the road. It definitely is a factor. But we can't use that as an excuse.… I've got to find a way to motivate myself to bring the energy to a higher level."

Said Baron Davis, who was five for 17 for 14 points: "We couldn't hit any shots tonight. When I missed like three layups in a row and Blake missed two layups in a row, it's going to be a tough night."

That was true in a particularly cringe-worthy stretch in the fourth quarter, in which they missed their first 15 shots, made one, and then failed to make the next four.

What can be lost in the dazzle of the Blake Show is the daunting challenge of the road. Talking about the Rookie Wall is one thing. Experiencing it is another.

"At the same time, it's a learning experience," said Griffin. "I have to learn what works and what doesn't work. You use all of these experiences, good and bad, as a steppingstone and learning block.

"You can warn somebody about it all you want. Until you go through it, it's hard to make your own adjustments till you have your own experience."

lisa.dillman@latimes.com

twitter.com/reallisa

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