If in any way Blake Griffin has become a villain, that bit of news has been slow to reach the Oklahoma City Thunder.
“Come on, man,” said a laughing Kevin Durant. “Blake Griffin, a villain? I ain’t heard that before.”
Regardless of title, Griffin has become an increasingly polarizing star because of his penchant for emotional reactions that border on taunting following highlight plays. In less than two full seasons, Griffin has become notorious for staring down his victims as he chews on his mouthpiece while backpedaling on defense.
“He really doesn’t do anything too crazy against us,” Durant said.
Durant then added that Griffin is entitled to show his emotion however he sees fit.
“He gets excited,” Durant said. “Everybody gets excited after a big-time dunk. Not everybody can dunk like he can. But if I was jumping like that I’d get excited, too, and be mugging people and screaming and doing all that nonsense.”
Durant also said he doesn’t have a problem with it.
“Nah, that’s part of the game, man,” Durant said. “Emotions.”
Griffin has come under fire of late for his post-dunk celebrations, with Sacramento Kings bruiser DeMarcus Cousins and Lakers forward Matt Barnes among a handful who have recently called out the reigning Rookie of the Year out of OU.
Before the Thunder took the court against Griffin and the Clippers on Wednesday night, Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks joined Durant in shooting down the notion that Griffin is carrying himself wrongly in any kind of way.
“He plays hard,” Brooks said. “I wish he would carry himself differently and not play hard.”
Brooks said he likes how Griffin plays and isn’t sure why some have labeled him a villain.
“That guy, he plays the right way. He plays hard every night,” Brooks said. “I think the thing that he does is he brings athleticism and force every time down court. Maybe people see that as a villain. But I don’t see how you can think of him as a villain. I see him as a tough player that’s hard to guard.”
Brooks also said he hasn’t noticed Griffin talking trash on the court.
“I’ve never heard him,” Brooks said. “I look at him as a quiet guy. With his play, it seems like he would be more vocal and trash talking. But I don’t see it. I mean, all the dunks that he does and the dunks on people, when you do that on the playground there’s trash talking every time down court. But he’s never done that with us.”
As for Griffin’s stare down?
“That doesn’t bother me,” Brooks said. “The stare downs in his commercials to me is funny. I love that part of his stare down, when he’s driving the car and he looks at you.
“I think if you play hard that is more important than anything. And he plays hard. Does he stare down at times? Everybody does. When you hit 3s, people look at you (like) ‘You’re going to let me keep shooting? But he does a lot of incredible things that on a playground you would see trash talking. But I don’t see that in games.”