Punctuating an individually dominant stretch, Blake Griffin hammered in a stylish breakaway dunk late in the third quarter on Thursday night.
It's the kind of rare athletic display that fans used to idolize the high-flying Griffin for around these parts during his time at Oklahoma Christian School and OU.
But not anymore. Now it just leads to some grumbling and a chorus of boos, which came down a pair of times during the Clippers' 105-91 loss in Oklahoma City.
“Yeah, it's been happening,” Griffin said of the negative response. “But that's the great thing about Oklahomans, they're extremely loyal to their team.”
And on Thursday, that unwavering loyalty meant Griffin was the obvious villain, a role he played rather well.
With the sluggish Clippers, on the second night of a road back-to-back, struggling to keep up with the rested Thunder, Griffin kept the game somewhat interesting.
After a rough first half, Griffin was the best player on the floor in the third quarter, shooting 7-of-10, grabbing five rebounds and scoring 15 of L.A.'s 29 points in the 12-minute stretch.
He finished with 27 points and 10 rebounds, his sixth straight double-double and 10th on the early season.
“I thought he played great with good spirit,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “Somebody had to get it going for us.”
For the Clippers, Griffin has had it going throughout the early part of this season. It's been maybe the best stretch of his career, said reserve guard Jamal Crawford.
He's averaging 22.7 points, 10.8 rebounds, while also flashing an improved jumper. He was 7-of-13 outside the paint on Thursday night.
“I'm confident in it,” Griffin said of the shot. “I've still got a lot of work to do though.”
But it's his physical interior play that makes him such a menace to deal with.
He's dominating and, at times, aggravating for opposing fans, using his physicality to shove bodies around.
But even if Thunder fans get tired of him in games, they'll still have a soft spot for the native when he's off the court.
“As players, that's how we are,” Griffin said, making the comparison to the fans. “If I'm friends with a guy and he's on another team, when we're playing each other, we're not friends really. We're going at each other. And I'd expect the fans to be the same way.”