Players Ratings: Blake Griffin debut

It’s pretty rare when two number one picks make their debut in the same season but that’s exactly what we as fans are burdened with since last year Blake Griffin’s knee exploded into a million pieces. That’s what happens to Clippers. Their knees explode. Portland, coming off a win the night previous against Phoenix, ended up winning the game when the Clippers forgot how to work the ball down low and Baron Davis did everything he could to destroy any momentum from the first three quarters. Portland killed the Clippers on the offensive glass and forced 9 turnovers making the new look Clippers look like the same old Clippers.

Player grades (rated 1 through 10)

Baron Davis: 2

His stat line was terrible (8-3-5 on 3-11 shooting including 0-3 from 3) but that doesn’t even do justice to how terrible he was. While he did have 3 steals, he was caught gambling a few times and was constantly chasing Andre Miller. The Blazers guards are floor generals at their core and Baron did nothing to stop them from imposing their will. He was jacking up bad shot after bad shot and he forgot Blake Griffin even existed in the 4th quarter, essentially taking the a rare enthusiastic Clippers crowd completely out of it. Hubie Brown did call him Byron a couple times, so in that respect he indirectly contributed to my entertainment.

Ryan Gomes: 3

Contributed almost nothing but minutes and bad rotations. Does anyone know how to program a Mac to automatically type a ‘3’ every time I type ‘Ryan Gomes’?

Eric Gordon: 4

Good enough shooting night (10-17) but was 0-3 from long range and when you factor in his 5 turnovers and below average defense he actually did more damage than he did good. He may be tired from playing this summer and not really getting an extended break and that could have led to some of the sloppiness. He and Baron both cannot have off nights if the Clippers want to win. They did and they lost.

Blake Griffin: 8

A force in every way, shape, and form. Too big for the fast guys and too fast for the big guys, he didn’t take one shot that made me think, “Bad shot.” He was plays power forward like a linebacker. Full speed, no hesitation, and rattles the rim like Jerome Harrison rattles helmets. Made smart, quick decisions with his passing and his movement. He would have scored a perfect 10 if not for Portland getting so many offensive boards and he can’t take total blame for that but he had hands on a couple but the ball slipped away. He also disappeared in the 4th which was more Baron than anything. Overall, he was the best player for either team, finding ways to contribute in many areas.

Chris Kaman: 5

Off shooting night and when he was getting good looks consistently. They definitely should have deferred to Griffin down the stretch but I can’t blame him for taking the shots he took. They just didn’t fall. He also claims responsibility for Portland getting 21 offensive ballboards but he played his game, hustle and cleanup with a good post game, and I’d expect more good than bad this season. Debuted some new facial hair, Kimbo Slice beard with a shaved head. That bumps him from a 4 to a 5.

Brandon Roy: 7

Absolutely fantastic in the first half. He ended both quarters with buzzer-beating threes, reminding everyone that he belongs on the short list of guys you want taking the final shot. You watch him play and he is just effortless in the way he gets the shot he wants. He isn’t terribly fast but can read and manipulate the defense so well that it doesn’t matter. After shooting 7-9 in the first half, he followed it with a stinker in the 2nd half, going 0-10 but contributed with good defense on Gordon and Davis and hitting the glass. Pretty good and when he does it for a full game, watch out.

Related note: Moving at his own speed without killer jumping ability, out of this world athleticism, or even a claim to be great at anything other than clutch, Brandon Roy is the coolest player in the league because he’s not trying to be cool. Everything he does is effortless. His style is unto himself and if he didn’t have such a boring name, he’d be talked about the same way people talked about Bob McAdoo.

Nicolas Batum: 7

Good shooting night that turns into a great shooting night considering when he was hitting his shots. His shots were going in to kill rallies for the Clippers or to start or cap them for the Blazers. Everyone of his shots seemed to change or carry momentum. Contributed in nearly every part of the game, with blocks, steals, rebounds, and assists. That’s two good games in a row.

Rudy Fernandez: 5

Off shooting night but he ran he always made his defender work, even without the ball, and played good defense. I don’t think his effort will be in question and I almost wish that Portland would trade him somewhere he could start and play 38 minutes. I think he could be a really good off guard on a team like the Warriors or the Magic.

The rest of the Blazers: 6

Good defense, low on turnovers, made big plays when they needed to, and basically played the exact opposite of the Clippers. That’s a recipe for a successful night.


Follow me on twitter @stefanhynes. No pressure.


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