KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Blake Griffin turned the other cheek.
One of these days, Griffin might blow. One of these days, he might explode and unleash a fury that will rock the hardwood, and everybody take cover when it happens.
Just don’t expect it anytime soon. March goes mad, but Griffin stays stoic.
Griffin’s Sooners beat outmanned Morgan State 82-54 Thursday night in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, but the seismic moment was not one of Griffin’s thunder dunks or his flashy spin moves or his textbook bank shots, all of which led to 28 points to go with 13 rebounds.
This night went BOOM, not just at the Sprint Center but throughout the NCAAs, when bespectacled Morgan State forward Ameer Ali pinned Griffin’s arm and flipped him over Ali’s shoulder. Stone Cold Steve Austin never performed a more dramatic takedown, except his victims landed on springy canvas. Griffin landed with a thud on the KC hardwood.
Ejection came immediately for Ali. Soreness came immediately for Griffin. Soreness and calmness.
Griffin walked away with no expression.
"I just understand why people are doing it,” Griffin said. That reason: get him out of the game. Griffin has had his share of cheap shots this year. Not that he’s an innocent little angel on the court.
Griffin delivers his share of blows. But virtually all come within the context of the game. He’s so much bigger and stronger and faster than his foes, he can wreak destruction without meaning to.
"I know he’s a difficult guy to officiate,” OU coach Jeff Capel said. "You have to be physical with him, because he’s physical. But it’s borderline ridiculous, to be completely honest with you. For me, it’s scary and it (ticks) me off.