Blake Griffin flirts with 50 points; Kevin Garnett is back for Boston

Blake Griffin rules the entire universe. At least it seems that way. Blake’s NBA takeover gained even more momentum after his Martin Luther King Day performance that was arguably the best of any player in the League this season. Dumping a career-high 47 points (19-24 FG, 9-11 FT) on the Pacers, Blake led the Clippers to their fifth straight home win and probably secured his spot in the All-Star Game … In the first quarter, Blake had three and-ones. In the second, he scored seven straight points during a crucial L.A. run. In the fourth, he commanded the ball and turned a slim lead into a sizable one while beasting Jeff Foster with hook shots, up-and-unders, spinning layups, offensive boards and jumpers from the wing. After Griffin (14 rebs) grabbed his own miss and muscled in another and-one to put him over the big 4-0, he went to the line as Clippers fans were chanting “M-V-P!” … On one of L.A.’s last possessions, Blake was sitting on 47 and the crowd wanted him to gun for 50. The Clips ran a pick-and-pop where the Pacers left Blake wide open at the top of the arc, but Baron Davis ignored him to jack up his own jumper … It’s tough to blame them after so many years of so many losses, but the Clippers announcers are pretty damn smug whenever their team is winning. The Pacers were down seven in the final seconds and called a timeout, to which one L.A. announcer huffed, “I guess they’re working on a seven-point play.” … Mike Breen’s mid-game assertion that Steve Nash should be “in the argument as the best shooter in the history of the NBA” looked smart as a MF’er later on when Nash beat the Knicks with not just his shot, but the threat of his shot. Nash (15 pts, 11 asts) hit the go-ahead trey midway through the fourth quarter — after which Phoenix never trailed — then turned the final minute into a chess match where the Knicks were doing all they could not to put Nash on the free-throw line. One time the Knicks let Nash run coast-to-coast, and when he kicked it out to Jared Dudley, J-Dud called timeout so he wouldn’t get fouled. Eventually the Knicks ran out of time … Vince Carter had his best game of the year, dropping 29 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. Vince’s wide-open corner three late in the fourth took a big chunk of New York’s heart, and as Clyde Frazier put it: “The Knicks now with the Swiss Cheese defense. Carter likes cheese.” … In the NBA Coaching Staff 3-on-3 Tournament (coming as soon as we can arrange it), the Suns wouldn’t do bad with Dan Majerle, Bill Cartwright and Alvin Gentry. The Knicks have size and youth, though, with Mike D’Antoni, Herb Williams and Eddy Curry. Oh wait, Curry’s a player? …Read More>>

Jason Richardson did not have a fun holiday. We always talk about how guarding Ray Allen is a bitch on your legs and lungs, but also consider the physical toll of dealing with the 2-3 blockers Ray has paving his way. J-Rich must have felt like Vince Wilfork during last night’s Celtics/Magic game, getting decked by screens and picks all night while trying to navigate Ray’s hamster wheel. Ray dropped a lot of his 24 points on J-Rich’s dome — and when J-Rich found himself sticking Paul Pierce with the game tied in the final 30 seconds, Pierce baited him into a foul while hitting his old reliable pull-up from the right elbow … Then to add to the misery, J-Rich had a front-row seat to watch Kevin Garnett (19 pts, 8 rebs) break up an exchange between him and Jameer Nelson to end one of Orlando’s last chances to stay in the game … When Kevin Harlan screamed, “It’s a shooting gallery inside the Garden!” he wasn’t just talking about Orlando’s offense, but he could have been. While Dwight Howard (33 pts, 13 rebs) did get a good amount of touches, the Magic still managed to jack 27 threes as a team. Basically, anybody who wasn’t Dwight or Brandon Bass was chucking as soon as the ball hit their hands … Joe Johnson was unstoppable Monday, dropping 36 points (16-27 FG) and owning crunch time as the Hawks edged Sacramento. Joe’s layup with 23 seconds left put Atlanta up two, then after Carl Landry tied it, Joe drove and got fouled, and knocked down both free throws with 0.6 on the clock for the W … Other stat lines from MLK Day: Kevin Martin dropped 36 points in Houston’s win over Milwaukee; Pau Gasol scored 21 as the Lakers beat the Thunder; Lou Williams scored all 23 of his points after halftime in Philly’s OT win over Charlotte, while Boris Diaw posted a triple-double in the loss (25 pts, 11 rebs, 11 asts); Derrick Rose had a triple-double in Chicago’s win over Memphis, going for 22 points, 10 boards and 12 dimes; Dave West put up 23 points and 10 boards to lead New Orleans past Toronto; Greg Monroe racked up 16 points, 9 rebounds and 4 steals as Detroit beat Dallas; Monta Ellis had 26 points, 9 dimes and 3 steals to lead Golden State past New Jersey; LaMarcus Aldridge went for 37 points and 12 boards as Portland beat Minnesota; and John Wall did OK in his head-to-head matchup with Deron Williams, dropping 19 points and 15 assists (albeit with 7 turnovers) in a Washington win, while D-Will had 28 points and 11 dimes … Apologies to Jimmer Fredette‘s supporters, but your guy’s case for National P.O.Y. took a big hit after what Kemba Walker did last night. UConn was tied with 7th-ranked Villanova with 15 seconds left when Kemba (24 pts, 6 rebs, 5 asts) got the rock. Going to work on Corey Stokes — while giving up at least 4 inches and 20 pounds — Kemba drove, absorbed some contact, and dropped in a floater over 6-9 Antonio Pena to make for another Teddy Pendergrass moment … We’re out like stopping Blake …