The night after LeBron James immortalized John Lucas III, Blake Griffin turned Kendrick Perkins into a trending topic when he posterized the Thunder’s center in the Los Angeles Clippers 112-100 win over Oklahoma City on Monday.
Griffin’s one-handed jam over Perkins not only rocked Staples Center but lit up the Twitterverse. King James tweeted: “Dunk of the Year!!! @blakegriffin just dunked on Kendrick Perkins so hard!! Wow!! I guess I’m #2 now. Move over #6.”
The monstrous slam in the third quarter even enticed Griffin’s teammate Chris Paul to chime in after the contest: “WoW!!! Just saw @blakegriffin dunk from 2nite…WHAT IN THE WORLD!!! Something is wrong with that guy…#GladHeIsOnMyTeam.”
Griffin did his share to help the Clippers win back-to-back games by scoring 22 points, seven rebounds, two assists, two steals and a pair of blocks. Coming off of a 109-105 win in Denver on Sunday night, the Pacific Division leaders broke the Nuggets’ six-game winning streak and followed up on Monday by snapping the Thunder’s four-game win streak. CP3 directed the attack against the team with the NBA’s best record (at 16-4), by producing a double-double on 12-of-16 shooting for 26 points, 14 assists and two steals. Paul scored 15 of the Clippers’ last 31 points to secure his team’s third straight win. Even with two of the league’s premier players in Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, the Thunder were no match for the Clippers on this night.
It was the second game in a stretch of five games in seven nights for Los Angeles. And the Clippers came out with a resounding effort. Six Clippers scored in double figures, including Caron Butler who got things going in the first half shooting 4-of-8 from 3-point range to finish with 22 points on 9-of-16 shots. For OKC, the most traumatic part of Monday night’s loss was not Griffin’s latest highlight reel, but the 51-second span just before halftime. After the Thunder had clawed its way back to within 52-46, the Clippers put together the most captivating shooting displays this season when they erupted with a barrage of four 3-pointers, to stop OKC’s 11-2 run and to turn a six point lead into 18-point to close the half. L.A.’s first 3-pointer came from Mo’ Williams with 1:16 remaining. The second 3, after a Williams steal, came from Butler with 56.5 seconds left. The third was from Williams again with 33.3 on the clock. And the fourth and final shot, this time after a Butler steal, was delivered by Chauncey Billups with 25.0 seconds left to give the Clippers a 64-46 advantage. According to ESPN Stats & Information, L.A. made 10 threes in the first half, led by Butler’s four, and shot 71 percent from behind the arc. Butler reached the 10,000-point mark on his third 3-pointer in the opening quarter. But his milestone came in second to Griffin’s thunderous jam.
Midway through the third quarter, the former Oklahoma University standout took a pass from Paul, rose up from the left side of the lane, and slammed the ball right over the late-arriving Perkins, for the And-1, in a dunk that was reminiscent of his infamous throw down over Timofey Mozgoz when he played for the New York Knicks a year prior. The sold out Staples Center crowd erupted to their feet. Clippers’ center DeAndre Jordan was the first respondent, as he ran over and wrap his arms around Griffin as if to prevent him from doing any further damage to humanity. The Jumbotron replayed the emphatic slam seven times in less than one minute for the roaring crowd. Griffin three the ball down with his right hand with force, his left hand on Perkins’ shoulder, then he made the free throw to complete the three-point play. The monstrous dunk gave the Clippers a stunning 73-51 lead that seemed to take the life out of the Thunder.
Durant and Westbrook only scored two of the Thunder’s 25 points in the third, which ended on a 3-pointer by Paul for a 20-point Clippers lead 90-70. OKC dynamic duo began the fourth quarter on the bench and watched Daequan Cook lead a short-lived Thunder rally, as he connected on two 3-pointers to cut the deficit to 95-81. But in the end, Griffin was too much. He scored five in a row and capped the run with a two-handed jam that extended L.A.’s lead to 100-81. The Thunder was able to outscore the Clippers 30-22 in the final period, but were never able to get close.
The Thunder, which entered Monday’s contest winning 11 of their last 12, only lead was four points to start the game. KD finished with 36 points, 13 rebounds, an assists and three blocks. Westbrook, who put on a show in the first-half with his aerial acrobatics, contributed 31 points, four rebounds, four assists, five steals, but committed six costly turnovers. Cook added 12 points off the bench, James Harden had seven points and Perkins’ had a dismal two points to go along with his redefining moment. OKC will head to Dallas to face the defending NBA champion Mavericks on Wednesday.
The Clippers performance was so imposing it easily overshadowed Durant and Westbrook’s combined 67 points. L.A. shot 52.0 percent on 13-of-25 shots from 3-point range and 56.3 percent on 45-of-80 for the game. The Clippers came in shooting 36.0 percent from 3-point range and the Thunder was third in the league in 3-point defense at 29.5 percent. The Clippers turned the Thunder’s 17 turnovers into 22 points and never looked back. Williams finished with 12 points on 4-of-7 from three, Jordan had 11 points and Billups added 13 points and five assists to round out the players in double digits. The Clippers will face the Jazz in Utah on Wednesday night, the Nuggets again Thursday at Staples and then complete their “hell” week with a game at Washington on Saturday.