Whatever it was the former Oklahoma All-American Blake Griffin did wrong two years ago, all seems to be forgiven by the home folks.
When the 2009 collegiate player of the year made his first NBA appearance in his home state on Feb. 22, 2011, he was greeted with loud cheers during pregame introductions.
Thereafter, the only cheers for Griffin came when he was called for a foul or had his shot blocked.
There were boos or no reaction whenever he scored, and Griffin scored plenty that night with 28 points on 9-for-15 shooting from the field. He also grabbed 11 rebounds and handed out eight assists in a 111-88 shellacking handed down by the Thunder.
Fan reaction wasn't all that shocking. Oklahomans love their own, but Griffin no longer was playing for the home team.
The Clippers paid a visit to Chesapeake Energy Arena on Wednesday night and once again Griffin got a warm reception from a sellout crowd of 18,203 during pregame introductions.
Griffin received a significantly louder ovation than teammate Chris Paul, this state's first NBA love when he played for the New Orleans Hornets during their two seasons in OKC (2005-07).
This time, there primarily was silence when Griffin scored or grabbed a rebound.
There were cheers when he missed a free throw. There was applause whenever he picked up another foul, which comes with the territory when you take one more step toward disqualification in enemy territory.
There is a noticeable maturity in the 23-year-old Griffin since his Rookie of Year campaign two seasons ago.
He doesn't try to dunk everything within, say, 10 feet of the basket. He is far more patient when isolated with the ball. He has more confidence in his jump shot.
Most important, Griffin is willing to defer more frequently, an obvious adjustment given the Clippers finished 32-50 his rookie season and he is now surrounded by a far superior supporting cast.
“Blake wants to do everything right,” Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said during pregame.
Thunder coach Scott Brooks said no longer does Griffin have to try to be Superman.
“Athletically, I don't think he has to rely on that as much as he did early on,” Brooks said. “You can just see the game is slowing down for him and he still has plenty of room to grow, which is scary.”
Griffin's numbers are down from his rookie season when he averaged 22.5 points, 12.1 rebounds and 3.8 assists, but his team's success rate has improved immensely.
“I think he's gotten better,” Brooks said of Griffin. “He knows the league. He knows the defenses that are being thrown against him. He knows the offensive tendencies of his opponent. I think that just goes along with being in the league and studying and watching and playing and listening to your coaches.”