The dunk heard around the world. Staples Center has displayed an array of highlights in a pivotal game for the Clippers to show how well they contend with the best in the West against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Unfortunately if you live on the Least Coast, you may not see the play until tomorrow, since it would have been after midnight. High riser Blake Griffin absolutely posterized Kendrick Perkins by elevating over him and throwing it down emphatically. Perkins remained in disbelief, as were everyone else viewing from afar. Buzz has spread through the internet and on Twitter. Many current players have tweeted about the play being the best dunk they have ever seen. If you do not believe them, see for yourself. Lob City will knock off OKC 112-100.
Tonight there will be the battle of the Best Coast. But not in the traditional way. This is a one-on-one matchup between the past and the present. Blake Griffin – the present and future of the west – faces off against Kevin Love – the past of the west – in Los Angeles tonight, pairing the best power forwards in the game in what should be great television.
Griffin is the perfect fit to make the Clippers go Hollywood. The kid came in with unprecedented hype as the first overall pick in the 2009 draft and was looked at as the savior of the dud franchise of L.A. In typical Clippers fashion, he sustained a stress fracture in his knee the day before the season started and missed his rookie year. Many – me at least – thought it was just another string of bad luck for the team and that his career would most likely veer off course being stuck in the whole that is this franchise. But last season he exploded onto the scene, scoring 22.5 a game, pulling down 12.1 rebounds, and turning into a human highlight reel. Every night you would turn on SportsCenter and see him posterizing some unfortunate opponent or grabbing an alley-oop from half court.
Because he missed his first year due to injury he was eligible for Rookie of the Year during the 2010-11 campaign and ran away with the award – the first time a Clippers player earned the honors since moving to Los Angeles. The team didn’t do all that well, finishing 32-50 on the year and remaining in the cellar of the NBA, but Griffin was already becoming a phenom.
Things changed this offseason when the Clippers acquired Chris Paul to give the team some firepower heading into the shortened year. Already the team is first in the Pacific Division, but most importantly they are keeping up with the Lakers for the first time in a long time.
Griffin is doing what most would expect from a Lakers player: showing flash and mesmerizing the crowds. And I don’t mean on the court, even though he is doing it there. Off the court the guy is a publicity machine. Every time you turn on a game you can spot him in a commercial and when you turn to a late-night or sketch-comedy show you can find him drawing the audience in. Griffin is exactly what the Clippers needed and this Oklahoma boy has absolutely become a Best Coaster.
Kevin Love was born in California but soon moved to Lake Oswego, Ore., where he dominated the hard court, earning a multitude of awards and state championships to become a highly-touted recruit. He was a 2007 McDonald’s All-American that became the Oregon boys’ basketball all-time leading scorer – a mark that had stood for 50 years – by reaching 2,628 points. Gatorade named him the Men’s Basketball Player of the Year and when it was time to pick a college, he spurned the University of Oregon to play for Ben Howland’s UCLA team.
The people of Eugene would not forget this moment. The Bruins made a trip to Eugene and Ducks fans found his phone number and left some friendly threatening messages. If that wasn’t enough, Love’s family felt the scorn from the fans as they yelled obscenities and threw garbage at them during the game. It wasn’t enough to stop Love, who ended up with 26 points and 18 rebounds on his way to an 80-75 win.
In his one and only year in Westwood, Love put up 17.5 points per game and grabbed 10.6 rebounds to secured his place as a consensus first-team All-American and was named the Pac-10 Player of the Year as well as the Freshman of the Year.
The Bruins went on to earn a one-seed in the NCAA Tournament and made it to the Final Four before falling to Memphis. He may have only spent one year in Southern California but it was a sensational one that cemented his legacy on the Best Coast forever.
So when they face off tonight it gives you a chance to not only see two great, young NBA players facing off, but it also gives you the chance to see two guys who are trying to become west coast legends.
In today’s hip hop culture, music and sports go hand and glove. Artists support their favorite athletes and teams by wearing their memorabilia and mentioning them in songs, while the players listen to their favorite artists to get pumped up and ready for games. Often enough you see these same rappers/singers sitting court side at games, such as Rick Ross and DJ Khalid at Miami Heat games. Or pro’s having an alias and recording their own albums, like Tru Warrior also known now as Metta World Peace (formerly Ron Artest). The new hot team or action is what is being talked about in songs. Los Angeles native and YMCMB (Young Money Cash Money Billionaires) rapper Tyga made a song called “Lob City” to rep the home team L.A. Clippers. The new movement spreading like wildfire across the country. In 2010-2011 Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan ranked second and third for the most dunks in the NBA. With the acquisition of All-Star guard Chris Paul lob passes will be thrown all over the court to these two high risers. Listen to the 2011-2012 LAC anthem.
Preseason hoops tipped off tonight in Los Angeles with a matchup between the Lakers and the Clippers. As they go head to head, a familiar face is now in a Clippers Uniform. Almost two weeks ago, Chris Paul was traded from New Orleans to the Lakers in a blockbuster deal, later to be rescinded by Commisioner David Stern who happens to be the owner of the Hornets. In just a matter of a week, a trade offer made from the Clippers was rejected by the commisioner, then later accepted. Paul made his debut tonight in the Clippers uniform
Much has been thought about the Lakers reign coming to an end due to the new and exciting team that shares the same building as them. L.A. is and will always be known as a Lakers town, but the Clips took strides into showing they will be a force to be reckoned with. Philips Arena in Atlanta has been known as the highlight factory, arguably the Staples Center can be put in the conversation for the new Highlight Factory. Paul gave the playing style the nickname of “Lob City” with the idea of him looking to find Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan who had the most and second most number of dunks in the league last season,
The much anticipated matchup tonight did not disappoint. The first half was back and forth with both teams executing big plays. Jordan had some monsterous dunks as well as two Top Play style alleyoops. Lakers were moving the ball around showing their flash. Andrew Bynum was a force down low and Kobe Bryant was doing his normal slashing and jump shooting. Clippers had a 56-50 lead at the half.
Third quarter more times than not is the difference in the game. The team that has the best quarter usually positions themselves better to be victorious. Lakers had nine turnovers and were outscored 36-17. Clips bench made a statement with there hustle and tenacity. With the game out of reach by middle of the forth, LAC starters remain on the bench to watch the reserves give up the big lead. By the buzzer sound, the Clips were victorious with a 114-95 victory. Chris Paul lead with 17 points, nine assist, seven rebounds, and five steals. Billups adds 23 points going nine for nine from the charity stripe. Kobe bean was LAL’s leading scorer with 22 points and four assist and Bynum logged in 15 points and 12 rebounds. Both teams will play again on Wednesday December 21, 2011 for a Clippers home game.