Blake Griffin and Kevin Love: the style wars

Benjamin Polk —  January 21, 2011 — 2 Comments

Blake Griffin prepares to transcend Samsara.

As Hanny and Jim Pete repeated more than once, Wednesday night’s Wolves-Clippers matchup was likely the most highly anticipated game in the entire history of this storied rivalry.  And it turned out more strangely than I could have imagined.

The strangest of all is a point that Myles alluded to in his writeup: Kevin Love actually did a solid job of forcing Blake Griffin into tough shots, but then couldn’t prevent Griffin from putting back his own miss, often in stunning style. Of course, Love then proceeded to grab 10 boards in the second half while matching up with the 7-foot tall, 300-foot wingspanned human elevator, Deandre Jordan. So I thought this called for some rebounding bullets. There’s also a little Jonny Flynn and David Kahn in this mix.

  • At Basketball Prospectus, hoop strategy yogi Sebastian Pruiti tells us how Love does this dirty stuff. “When it comes to grabbing defensive rebounds,” says Sebastian, “it is all about body position for Love, who is able to read the ball’s trajectory very well, determine which way it is going to be coming off the rim, and then get his body in position to grab the rebound.” What amazes me about this is that Love’s uncanny intensity, anticipation and body position have been good enough to destroy an entire league’s worth of much more athletic guys but were rendered moot by this one fanatical, futuro-robo leopard from space. Seriously, Blake Griffin is out of hand.
  • A few weeks ago, on his NY Times Off the Dribble blog, Rob Mahoney performed the valuable task of beginning a discussion of the stylistics of rebounding, a discussion we’ve hopefully furthered here at AWAW. That this discussion took the form of a little compare/contrast between Love and Griffin is particularly nice for us. Mahoney makes the accurate and well-said point that “Love’s concept of interior spacing and anticipation make him a phenomenal rebounder, and that spatial intelligence does more for his glass-cleaning game than his physical tools ever could.” The best part, though, is that Mahoney describes the way both Love and Griffin spill over the stylistic constructs that have been used to define them.  Give that kid a contract.
  • In other, more recent news David Kahn tells us that Jonny Flynn needs to play. Here’s what Kahn told Jerry Zgoda at le Strib: “Everybody can see it’s obvious he’s not himself yet [that's true]: His rhythm, his timing, his explosiveness. However, our medical staff has been very clear, in order for him to regain that, he needs to play. So it’s a little bit of a tricky situation.” It is clear that Flynn’s quickness and agility have been severely hampered. But it also seems that these new physical impairments are simply revealing his decision making for the disaster it’s always been. Zgoda goes on to say what we’re all thinking: “Playing Flynn in the hope that he turns the corner also is the only way, with the Wolves hopeful of Ricky Rubio’s arrival next season, of raising his trade value.”
  • From Kahn’s live fan chat on FSN during the Clips game: “Even if I had interests and hobbies there wouldn’t be time for them.” Shiver.

Benjamin Polk

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2 responses to Blake Griffin and Kevin Love: the style wars

  1. How long before Griffin dons the Purple and Gold? 1.5 years?

    Dear Clippers fans – Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.
    Dr. Seuss

  2. Quintin – as an unabashed Lakers fan, I’d like nothing better. It’s not going to happen though. Sterling won’t be letting Grif slip through his cold, gnarled fingers… this is pure business. Ticket sales, broadcast revenues, merchandising. No owner would be stupid enough to let that go.

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