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Blake Griffin and Clippers are frustrated in 108-99 loss to Suns

The star rookie misses 12 of 18 shots and has only two rebounds. And perhaps his most impressive dunk of the season is wiped out on a charge, in which he draws his sixth foul and a technical.

March 20, 2011|By Lisa Dillman
  • Clippers forward Craig Smith steals the ball from Suns forward Hakim Warrick in the first half Sunday at Staples Center.
Clippers forward Craig Smith steals the ball from Suns forward Hakim Warrick… (Gus Ruelas / Associated…)

If Blake Griffin delivers one of his best dunks of the season, and you hear him fouling out, does it still make a sound?

Well, yes … and no.

The sound was Griffin loudly protesting referee Steve Javie's charging call on him — which got the rookie a technical near the end of the Suns' 108-99 win against the Clippers on Sunday. Griffin grabbed the ball after the call and sprinted with it down the court, throwing his head back in disbelief, and leaned over in gut-wrenching dismay.

All that was missing was Griffin, who fouled out on the play, screaming: Why, Steve, why?

His flying one-handed dunk over the Suns' Marcin Gortat was virtually Mozgov-ian. And, for the record, Phoenix Coach Alvin Gentry thought the Griffin dunk was even better than his signature posterizing of Timofey Mozgov, who was then with the New York Knicks, earlier in the season.

"That was one hell of a dunk," said Gentry, unprompted. "I don't care if it was a charge. That might be as impressive of a dunk as I've seen in the NBA in 23 years. I think that was the best dunk he's had since he was in the league."

That information was passed along to Griffin in the Clippers' locker room and it managed to even draw a small smile from the frustrated power forward, who has fouled out of two of the last three games.

"Well, it doesn't count, so, I don't think Steve Javie thinks that," Griffin said.

Tired, and frustrated and angry. And that just wasn't the unsettled Staples Center crowd that hit Javie with a loud chorus of boos with the Clippers trailing by double digits when Griffin exited.

Griffin, too, was running the gamut of negative emotion after he was six for 18 from the field for 17 points and grabbed a mere two rebounds, getting his sixth foul with 4:09 remaining in the game.

His previous low for rebounds was three, on Nov. 15 at Staples Center against New Jersey. After that game, he said he should "never have three rebounds."

Not many would have predicted teammate and point guard Mo Williams and Suns point guard Steve Nash would each have five more rebounds than Griffin.

Nash, who was in Vancouver on Saturday for the first game of his expansion Major League Soccer team, scored a game-high 23 points and had 13 assists. Channing Frye had 19 points, including five three-point baskets.

But the Suns' reserves shredded the Clippers, outscoring their bench, 51-30. The Clippers were without starting center DeAndre Jordan, who was admitted to a hospital because of what the team called a mild case of pneumonia. He was released Sunday afternoon.

Chris Kaman started for the first time since his return from a long-term ankle injury and had 21 points and 11 rebounds. Williams had 18 points and seven assists.

Griffin picked his words carefully when asked about the best non-dunk he has ever delivered, saying: "I can't really speak on that. I don't want to get fined anymore. We're not really in a playoff race right now. Some of the teams we've been playing are. So we're not going to get those.

"We're not going to get foul calls like that. They're not going to give us anything. So we've got to figure out a way to overcome it."

One area of agreement was the way he felt about the charge call. Griffin said it was the most frustrated he has felt about one.

"Definitely," Griffin said. "Just the way it started and obviously how it ended — just the icing on the cake. I'll be glad when I'm not a rookie anymore."

Etc.

Some of the players noticed that security seemed slightly tighter in the aftermath of an incident involving a knife-wielding man, who managed to get onto the court before Saturday's game against the Cleveland Cavaliers but was detained without injuring anyone.

Media representatives at the Los Angeles Police Dept. said they were unable to release any information about the suspect, who engaged the police in a standoff lasting nearly half an hour. But people with knowledge of the situation said that the individual had been placed on an involuntary psychiatric hold, meaning there was no arrest report.

lisa.dillman@latimes.com

twitter.com/reallisa

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