Blake Griffin might not be the best villain, since by all accounts he’s a pretty decent guy away from the court. But as an object of scorn for opposing fans, they don’t get much better these days. He’s a big brute who gets to the line by sticking his face into opposing defenders’ chests, and that’s when he isn’t making facial expressions generally reserved for people who are either dying or losing a significant amount of blood.
Griffin is an actor, which is why companies pay him to endorse their products. After last night’s loss — when he went 8-for-24 from the floor and fouled out in the fourth quarter — he acted as if Draymond Green and the Warriors did absolutely nothing to make his life more difficult.
“Just missed some easy shots the past couple games here. Whenever you have a smaller defender, it’s not so much the one‑on‑one matchup, just because they’re constantly running people at you. I’ve got to do a better job of reading the double teams and passing out of them, things like that,” Griffin said.
Today I asked Mark Jackson about what Griffin said, and whether the Warriors head coach agreed with Griffin’s assessment. Did he miss a bunch of easy shots, or did the Warriors’ defensive effort have anything to do with Griffin’s subpar shooting night?
“He’s a great player,” said Jackson, who smiled.
He didn’t say anything else, either. That’s rare. Jackson isn’t like Jim Harbaugh, who happily provides one-word answers whenever possible. Even the flimsiest questions will generally get at least 20 words in response from Jackson. So four words, a smile and silence said a lot.
Then I went over to Green, who isn’t much for short answers either. For example, I brought up the rebound over DeAndre Jordan that I highlighted last night and asked how the hell a guy his size goes up in the air and grabs the ball away from someone as big, athletic and strong as the Clippers’ starting center.
“It’s heart. You’ve just got to want it. Who wants the ball more? And I said, if DeAndre doesn’t want the ball – he definitely does — I don’t even know how I got it, to be honest. But I knew in that situation that we were up two with time running down, we had just given up a seven-point lead. It was time to make a play, however that play was to be made. And I was blessed by God to be able to come up with that rebound.”
Great answer. Say, Draymond … what do you think about Griffin’s comments about missing some easy shots?
“That’s cool. Congrats.”
That’s all Draymond said, and he said it with a smile that was awfully similar to the one Jackson flashed a few minutes earlier in response to the same question. Meaning, it wasn’t exactly a happy smile. More like a knowing, sarcastic, “Yes, we are very aware of what he said, and we plan on making him answer the same question after Game 7.”
— I also asked Andre Iguodala if Griffin really made contact with him on his sixth foul, when Iguodala hit the deck after nailing a three.
“Somebody texted me this morning and said they thought I flopped. But after the replay, they saw it was really a foul. I ain’t argue with him. I told him it was a foul from the beginning,” Iguodala said.
I followed up: Would it be kind of ironic, complaining about somebody on your team, considering who you’re playing?
“Definitely. As much as they’ve gotten away with – not just this series, but throughout the season – and continue to get away with it, it’s kind of funny they would argue that. I think after you watch the tape it’s obvious.”
— Jermaine O’Neal’s MRI results either weren’t available or weren’t made public during today’s media session. Here’s what Jackson said about O’Neal’s chances of playing: “I wouldn’t put nothing past him. The guy is a gamer. He wants to go out on his terms. I’m sure if he can give us something, that’ll be his mindset. Nothing surprises me with him.”
— Jackson, on Glen Davis colliding with O’Neal and whether it was a dirty play: “I really didn’t get a clear look. I can see both ways. I think Big Baby knows the answer to that. I don’t know.”
O’Neal said he’d talk to Big Baby at some point, and also noted that a professional athlete simply has to have better balance. Stay tuned.
— Festus Ezeli update: “I haven’t seen him today. He continues to recover and go through stuff. He’ll go through stuff live today with the other bigs. Not really sure,” Jackson said. “Last night was an absolute no.”
I’d put money on Saturday night also being an “absolute no.”