Mighty Monta fights off the Abominable Blake Griffin

Not to take a dump on ESPN’s Friday doubleheader featuring Spurs vs. Mavs and Blazers vs. Suns, but was there really any doubt that last night’s true must-see matchup was Warriors vs. Clippers? Forget the win-loss records: Blake Griffin and Monta Ellis might actually hail from planets other than ours, Stephen Curry and Eric Gordon are walking clinics on the art of deadly buckets, and the Golden State crowd is always fun, especially on a night where they’d be welcoming back Baron Davis The Warriors led by eight going into the fourth quarter and opted to rest Monta and Steph for a few minutes while Reggie Williams and Acie Law ran the show. (Do you think Jacob Pullen is watching Acie Law and fearing that might be his future?) Gordon quickly sparked an L.A. run to tie it up, bringing the starters back on the floor with eight minutes to go … Baron was feeling it back in his old gym. One time he hit a nasty high-arcing fadeaway from the left baseline, and on his way back raised his eyebrows like, “I don’t even know how I made that.” … It was still tied with three and a half minutes left before Vlad Radmanovic hit a go-ahead three for the Warriors, then a Monta steal where he tiptoed the sideline led to another Vlad trey. “He is the Serbian secret weapon,” one G-State announcer laughed. The Clips never got any closer, as Monta put it to bed when he spun away from Baron and put his knee in Blake’s chest on a finger roll, then casually dropped a pull-up jumper to make it a double-digit margin … Earlier in the fourth, Monta (30 pts, 6 asts) made the defensive play of the night. Baron and Blake (28 pts, 13 rebs) had made eye contact and tried a 50-foot alley-oop that Blake was going to catch backwards for highlight of the year, but Monta got his Darrelle Revis on and batted the ball away at the rim before Griffin could grab it … If you didn’t know, Blake was home-schooled growing up. The announcers said it’s helped make him grounded, but what about the impact on his game? Since he didn’t go to school with other kids, maybe he just never learned that you’re not supposed to put your junk in another guy’s face while you’re stealing his pride … One time after DeAndre Jordan airballed the first of two free throws, the play-by-play guy deadpanned, “Be ready to box out,” as Jordan took his second shot … The Suns/Blazers finish was good, too. Phoenix took a four-point lead with two minutes left after Vince Carter schooled Nic Batum for a three-point play, but Andre Miller nailed a three in Grant Hill‘s eye — his first successful trey in 20 attempts — that left Hill frozen with the “You ate ass” face … A few possessions later, Steve Nash (23 pts, 13 asts) broke a tie when he buried a triple. Down the stretch, when Portland needed Phoenix to miss free throws, they couldn’t keep the ball away from Nash and he wouldn’t oblige. Throw in one of Portland’s now-typical frantic late possessions where they obviously need Brandon Roy, and that was enough to end the intrigue …Read More>>

Spurs/Mavs wasn’t so competitive. San Antonio is in kick-ass mode, and without Dirk Nowitzki and Caron Butler, the Mavs are a collection of shooters instead of scorers — they might have to dial up Rolando Blackman and Mark Aguirre before long to see what’s good … The Spurs went up double-digits in the first quarter as Tony Parker (18 pts, 6 asts) carried the offense, then Tim Duncan (16 pts, 12 rebs) decided to end it in the third when he took over. The “dagger” came midway through the third when Duncan crammed on DeShawn Stevenson, and-one, then reacted with the excitement of a guy waiting for his girl to finish shoe shopping … Antonio McDyess should be cloned and put on every NBA team’s roster. Less than a minute to go in a blowout win, ‘Dyess was still running up into the fourth row trying to save possessions … Rather than a boring old pick-and-pop jumper, David West (29 pts, 9 rebs) tied up the Hornets’ game in Houston by measuring Jared Jeffries, taking him to the rack and dunking on his ‘fro something vicious. Kevin Martin hit a J on the other end, but West forced overtime with two free throws … And then Chris Paul (11 pts, 8 asts, 5 stls) dominated the extra frame. He tied it with a steal and layup, gave N.O. the lead with a pull-up J, and iced the W when he intercepted an inbound pass and scored just before the buzzer … Other stat lines from Friday: Kobe Bryant dropped 27 points in the Lakers’ win over New Jersey; Derrick Rose put up 29 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists to lead Chicago past Indiana; Shaq had 23 points and 5 blocks as Boston beat Charlotte; Deron Williams posted 26 points and 9 assists as Utah toyed with Cleveland; Beno Udrih scored 26 in Sacramento’s win at New York; Lou Williams dropped 25 points off the bench as Philadelphia edged Milwaukee; and Tracy McGrady put up 22 points and 5 dimes while teaching Toronto fans again that they should just stop booing their ex-stars. Hasn’t Vince done enough up there? … Rip Hamilton caught another DNP-CD in the Detroit win. It says we’re supposed to take that as an indication that a Carmelo Anthony trade is going down soon, but by now it’s like a boxer saying he’s retired. We’ll believe it when we see it … The two best prep players in the country — that is, according to the High School Hoop National Top 50 Ranking — went head-to-head yesterday as St. Patrick’s (N.J.) played Winter Park (Fla.) on ESPN2. Duke-bound guard Austin Rivers dropped 38 points for Winter Park and showed why he holds that No. 1 status, but his squad was outmatched by a St. Pat’s team that was just bigger, faster, meaner and better. Kentucky-bound forward Michael Gilchrist, the No. 2 player in the country, made a solid argument for the top spot while posting 22 points and 7 rebounds … We’re out like the Mavs’ identity …