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Blake Griffin goes off in his Vegas debut, and Allen Iverson to L.A.?

By 07.14.09
Blake Griffin, Dime #49

Blake Griffin, Dime #49

All eyes were on Blake Griffin yesterday, as he made his Vegas Summer League debut and pretty much lived up to every lofty expectation you could have put on him. Blake went for 27 points (11-15 FG) and 12 boards in 29 minutes, leading the Clippers to a win over the Lakers. He hit a three, dunked on a couple of dudes, showed a nice turnaround jumper, used the glass effectively a la Duncan, and showed he can also lead a fast break. Good thing there were plenty of cameras in the building; this could be the high point of the Clippers’ season … Eric Gordon put up 21 points (11-12 FT), Adam Morrison led the Lakers with 20, and we even had a Nik Caner-Medley sighting — he posted a double-double (12 pts, 11 rebs) for the Clips … Meanwhile, Blake’s brother Taylor Griffin started for the Suns and had a quiet four points and two rebounds against Dallas. The other “other brother” on the Suns, Robin Lopez, posted 24 points and 16 boards; putting Taylor behind the 8-ball if he wants to avoid being the worst sibling in the NBA. If Robin cracks Phoenix’s regular rotation during the season (and if Taylor makes the roster), it’ll be a race between the older Griffin and whichever Collins Twin you think sucks worse … But as good as Blake played, we can’t say he had the toughest matchup going up against Chinemelu Elonu and Ben McCauley. On the other hand, the head-to-head matchup to watch was between Brandon Jennings and Tyreke Evans. Jennings posted 13 points, 14 dimes and seven steals, next to Tyreke’s 33 points (17-19 FT), nine boards and seven dimes. We’d heard that these two also had a fierce one-on-one battle during a pre-draft workout for the Knicks, so this could be a budding rivalry. If it gives us a reason to watch a Bucks/Kings game, we’ve got no problem with that … Plays of the day: Jennings hitting Amir Johnson for a half-court alley oop; later hitting him for an ‘oop where Amir almost ripped the rim off; and then in the final 15 seconds with Milwaukee protecting a two-point lead, Jennings hit a three coming off a pick to ice it … In the Hedo Turkoglu Bowl, the Raptors beat the Blazers behind Quincy Douby‘s 20 points and DeMar DeRozan‘s 15 and six boards. Summer League Hall of Famer Jerryd Bayless put up 22 points and seven dimes for Portland, and Villanova product Dante Cunningham added 21 points and nine boards after getting over the initial shock of having teammates taller than 6-foot-4 … This year’s Bayless is turning out to be Stephen Curry; he’s had the green light since Day One with the Warriors’ summer squad, and from what we’re seeing, it’s gonna be tough for even Nellie to keep him on the bench once the season starts. Curry dropped 23 points (7-19 FG), seven boards, five steals and four assists in a blowout against Detroit yesterday. Anthony Randolph had 21 points, 10 boards and three blocks … Wolves GM David Kahn owes his fans another open letter explaining how their team lost to a patchwork group of D-League guys. Othyus Jeffers (Dime #49) and Gary Forbes scored 20 apiece to lead the D-League Select Team over the Wolves. Wayne Ellington dropped 22 points (8-14 FG, 4-7 3PA) for Minnesota, while Jonny Flynn had 12 points, 14 dimes and six turnovers …

Marcin 'Money' Gortat (Orlando Sentinel)

Marcin 'Money' Gortat (Orlando Sentinel)

We get the feeling that maybe two years from now — or, depending on how good or bad he starts the season, six months from now — the Marcin Gortat contract will be viewed as a complete joke or a resounding home run. The Magic decided to match Dallas’ five-year, $34 million offer sheet, retaining the guy who is either the biggest sleeper or the most overrated free agent in the ’09 class. In Gortat’s defense, this isn’t like one of those inexplicable bad decisions only Isiah Thomas or Billy King could make, or a case of bad teams reaching on a player with the slightest bit of potential. These are two very good teams going after him … And in what world do we live in where Marcin Gortat is a more desirable free agent than Allen Iverson? Still no solid offers on the table for a guy who just one season ago averaged 26 points, seven assists and two steals a night on a playoff team, but now it’s been reported the Clippers are in the mix. We’ve asked the question regarding Stephon Marbury, and we’ll ask it again with Iverson: Has he really fallen off as a player THAT much, or is A.I. a victim of bad press and a bad reputation that’s finally caught up to him? … NBA TV was replaying old All-Star Weekend dunk contests all day on Monday, which gave us a new appreciation for Terrence Stansbury and Jerome Kersey, two of the more underrated dunkers of the ’80s. (Stansbury had more than just the Statue of Liberty cram.) During the ’88 contest — a.k.a. the epic Michael Jordan vs. Dominique Wilkins showdown in Chicago — after Jordan does the “Kiss the Rim” dunk, one of the announcers actually says, “I call that the Chinese Superman dunk. He comes in sideways, so there’s a little SLANT on the dunk.” And nobody missed a beat. If that had been said in 2008, that guy would never work in TV ever again, and his partners would be frozen with the Mike Myers “What the f*** did Kanye just say?” face … We’re out like the Collinses …


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