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Thunder notebook: 'Bittersweet' homecoming for Blake Griffin

by Darnell Mayberry Modified: March 15, 2011 at 11:19 am •  Published: February 21, 2011
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Blake Griffin returned to Oklahoma City on Sunday night, immediately following the 60th NBA All-Star Game. His Los Angeles Clippers will face the Thunder tonight inside Oklahoma City Arena. But Griffin, the former OU and Oklahoma Christian School star, had to attend the funeral of his friend and former teammate Wilson Holloway on Monday.


The event has marred Griffin's return.

“It's going to be kind of bittersweet for me,” Griffin said. “It's going to be great to be back home, but at the same time something's missing. It'll be kind of mixed feelings.”

Griffin said he has thought much about the ovation he will receive tonight. But it will be undoubtedly warm.

“It's going to be great to be back home,” Griffin said. “It's been two years since I've played there really. Hopefully, they're welcoming.”

Following a hectic weekend in which he participated in the Rookie Challenge, the Slam Dunk contest and the big game, Griffin said Sunday night that he was exhausted.

“I can barely move right now,” Griffin said moments after the All-Star Game. “I'm pretty tired. But it was great getting that win. I had fun this weekend. No doubt it was fun and a good experience.”

Asked when the last time he remembered being as tired as he was Sunday, Griffin responded: “I have no idea. Probably training camp.”

TRADE DEADLINE APPROACHING

The league's trade deadline is 2 p.m. Thursday. But Thunder coach Scott Brooks said the approaching deadline doesn't change much regarding the conversations between him and general manager Sam Presti.

“Sam and I always have dialogue throughout the season, so it doesn't necessarily change because the deadline is coming closer,” Brooks said. “We talk often about our team and our development. With the deadline coming up, our conversations don't heat up. It's always the same.”

Brooks said he is confident in whatever decisions Presti makes at this year's deadline.

“Sam does a great job of bringing in guys that are competitive, guys that fit what we do and fit what I like,” Brooks said. “I never have to worry about who he brings in.”

IBAKA SHOWS INCREASED RANGE

Serge Ibaka was the only player in the Rookie Challenge to have a perfect percentage from 3-point range. He made two of two 3-pointers for his Sophomore squad. But don't expect Ibaka to return to the Thunder looking to show off that range.

“It's not really my specialty,” Ibaka said. “We have some players who can shoot the 3, Kevin, Jeff (Green) and James (Harden). So I try to do my job in the paint and protect the basket and play with energy and get rebounds.”

SHOULD THE ALL-STAR GAME BE MORE SIGNIFICANT?

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by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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