Blake Griffin Destroys Phoenix; O.J. Mayo Wins A Scoring Showdown With James Harden

With talent comes the luxury of not always needing to play hard. For the Clippers, this is a gift and a curse. The only thing they’ve really been consistent with this year is being inconsistent, and despite a recent four-game winning streak, their record is still a somewhat pedestrian 12-6 (before yesterday afternoon against Phoenix). L.A.’s on again, off again track record played out pretty convincingly in yesterday’s 117-99 win over the Suns. For three quarters, everyone outside of Blake Griffin (24 points, eight boards) was sleepwalking. Then with the game hanging in the balance, the Clippers turned up the defense to boiling levels, Jamal Crawford busted out for 13 final quarter points and Eric Bledsoe ignited the arena by playing like Sonic the Hedgehog. Phoenix had no answers … Griffin, who only recently turned up his play after a very shady opening to the season, was super aggressive and active to start. He had a dozen points in the first quarter on a variety of moves – face-up jump shots, fast break forays, up-and-unders – and by the second half of the second quarter, he already had four steals, a career-high. His phenomenal first half probably had something to do with Phoenix’s garbage frontline as well … Said on the Clippers’ broadcast of the game about Michael Beasley (21 points) after the former No. 2 pick dropped a triple: “He scores as easily as… he’s a top-15 scorer in our game today.” We’re not buying it. Beasley is now in his third-straight year with a lottery team that desperately needed him to get buckets. He’s yet to average 20 points in a season, and is currently shooting well below 40 percent, despite having the green light first with Minnesota and now in Phoenix to basically shoot until his arm falls off. He’s nowhere close to a top-15 scorer, even though he played really well yesterday. Can we stop talking up every player with a little potential as a guy that could be one of the best players in this league? Beasley’s a 6-7 tweener whose game basically consists of pull-up 16-footers. Nothing about him screams “big time scorer” … In South Beach, Miami used a 19-2 second quarter run to blow open a close game against the Hornets, eventually winning 106-90. During that span, LeBron (24 points) took New Orleans’ heart with back-to-back unreal finishes. First, he went down the lane and carried Greivis Vasquez through the rim for a three-point play. Then on the next possession, Dwyane Wade (26 points) hooked him up with a perfect pass, and LeBron caught it in mid-air on the run, turned in flight and laid it in … We saw what a Bulls/Knicks matchup would look like without the two team’s best players: ugly basketball, WAY too much Raymond Felton (27 points, 9-for-30 shooting), and a close game where neither team could pull away or make game-deciding shots. In the end, Chicago held off New York, 93-85, behind 22 a piece from Luol Deng and Marco Belinelli … And in one of the weirdest beefs we’ve seen since French Montana and 50, Stephen Jackson went at Serge Ibaka on Twitter for… apparently no reason at all. The Spurs and Thunder haven’t played each other in over a month, and yet all of a sudden Jack tweeted this: “Somebody tell serg Abaka. He aint bout dis life. Next time he run up on me im goin in his mouth. That’s a promise. He doin 2 much.” Um… okay? Some have speculated Jackson is simply reacting to Ibaka and Metta World Peace, but who really knows. Jack then deleted the tweet before going off on Instagram, rattling off repeated cliches like money doesn’t change me, and I am who I am, and if you don’t like my thoughts so what. But by far the most ironic part of this whole beef is Jackson telling Ibaka he’s not hard enough when in fact the big man spent his childhood in the Congo … Keep reading to hear about the ridiculous stuff a Boston announcer said …

Dallas’ 116-109 win in Houston last night might’ve been the best game of the season. Seriously. It was full of wild scoring runs (the Mavs were up 19 early, then lost all of that lead only to completely erase a big Houston lead in the second half), highlights (Dahntay Jones crowned Patrick Patterson) and most importantly, a pair of young stars trading haymakers. James Harden (39 points – 30 in the first half – and nine dimes) played like an unleashed animal in the first half, repeatedly carving up Dallas’ defense off the pick-n-roll. But in the second half, he slowed, and O.J. Mayo (40 points, eight rebounds, one gigantic chest bump from Mark Cuban) took it from there. He hit a triple to stretch a late Dallas lead to six to cap a 18-3 run, and then did it again with a two-point game on the line when Houston made the ultimate mistake: leaving him open off an out of bounds play … One night after losing a game they should’ve won in Philly, the Celtics returned home and snuffed that same Sixers team in the mouth, 92-79. The standout performance didn’t come from their defense, despite holding Philly to 28 in the first half, or Rajon Rondo (seven points, nine boards, 11 dimes). It came from Tommy Heinsohn. At one point Kevin Garnett (zero rebounds for the first time in a game since 1997) was whistled for a foul after what may have been a clean block, and Tommy flipped on longtime ref Dick Bavetta, screaming, “If he keeps making calls like that, I’m not going to let him be 74 anymore.” It sure sounded like the Celtics announcer was threatening Bavetta’s life (the ref is actually only 72 years old). Tommy continued to embarrass himself by saying that with all that experience in the NBA, he figured Bavetta would know what a good block was … In other scores: in their 30-point blowout of Charlotte, San Antonio went off for seven triples in the first quarter alone. Danny Green was the catalyst, scoring his first 21 points from behind the line, before finishing with 23 … David Lee (24 points, 17 rebounds) and Golden State barely survived an unconscious Jordan Crawford (22 points, eight assists, a couple of impossible shots in the closing minute) to hold on in Washington, 101-97 … Down three in the final five seconds, Bradley Beal (17 points) perfectly executed the “make one, miss one” free throw routine, and then ended up with the rebound right under the rim. Only thing is he missed the wide open layup. That only happens to the Wizards … Brandon Knight had 30 in Detroit’s 104-97 dropping of Cleveland … Josh Smith (24 points) and Atlanta took control of the second half in Memphis by outscoring the Grizzlies 32-13 in the third quarter and walked out with a ten-point W … And behind 19 and 12 from DeMarcus Cousins, the Kings beat Portland easily, 99-80 … We’re out like Manti Te’o‘s Heisman Trophy.

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