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?
Moments after winning the All-Star Game MVP, Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant was asked whether the mid-season showcase should carry more weight, sort of like Major League Baseball's, which determines home-field advantage.
“And just discount the 82 regular-season games and base it all on one game?” Bryant asked. “No, I think it's fine the way it is. It's a showcase. You can't take it over the top with seriousness and all that. It's a showcase for us to come out and perform and compete. Obviously the competition picks up in the fourth quarter. But, I mean, this is fun. It's not something that's overly dramatic.”
DURANT GOES DOWN IN GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS
Kevin Durant earned a Guinness World Record over All-Star Weekend when he and Dallas' Dirk Nowitzki combined to make 15 3-pointers in a one-minute span, the most by tandem. Boston's Paul Pierce and Ray Allen had the record (13) before Durant and Nowitzki broke it.
“That might have been the biggest surprise,” Durant said of his weekend. “I can say I've done something that not too many people can do. But you have to give some credit to Dirk, too. He made a lot more shots.”
When the All-Star Game crowd inside Staples Center began chanting “We want Blake,” Griffin was taken aback by the overwhelming support. And he didn't quite know how to handle it.
“It was pretty cool, really cool actually, to get recognition from the fans like that,” Griffin said. “They were all looking at me like, ‘Why aren't you going in?' I didn't know that was the protocol, to get up immediately.”
A COACH'S VIEW
San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich, who coached the West All-Stars, was impressed with a reporter's query (a rarity) about whether he gleaned any additional coaching skills from captaining such a highly talented roster.
“You're not really focused that way,” Popovich said. “But I think you learn more about people. You learn a little bit more about each guy's personality and who has a sense of humor and those sorts of things. So you got to really appreciate the people more in these sorts of environments.”
New York forward Amar'e Stoudemire on Kobe Bryant — “You could tell he started out from the start, he wanted to get MVP. He was not passing the ball at all.”
The 291 combined points in Sunday's NBA All-Star game were the most ever scored in regulation. The record, including additional periods is 303 points, which went into one overtime. …LeBron James registered only the second triple-double in All-Star Game history with 29 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists. Michael Jordan has the other one, recording 14 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists in 1997. …James' 24.4-point average over his seven All-Star appearances is the highest scoring average in the game's history.