Griffin does it with respect

FRANK ZICARELLI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:37 PM ET

For every highlight comes almost as many hits, a price Blake Griffin pays for a style that’s as powerful as his nightly dunks.

Whether it’s a flagrant foul by Eddie House, Elton Brand or Marcus Camby, a hard foul by Brendan Haywood or even a blow delivered by Andre Miller that would earn the Blazers point guard a one-game suspension, the prized Clippers rookie refuses to retaliate.

“I think I’ve learned to deal with it a little bit better each game I play,” Griffin said. “Every season, I learn more and more how to deal with it.”

It’s a given Griffin will be forced to endure more lumps, but it’s comical how some of the game’s experienced players have dealt with his intensity and competitive spirit that demands Griffin play all out until the game’s final buzzer with no malice intended, a mind-set that should be applauded.

The list of players who have been irritated by Griffin’s aggression includes Ron Artest, Lamar Odom and James Posey, to name a few.

“He plays hard,” said Posey. “I play hard. You have to adjust to the game and go about it that way.”

Griffin would produce his season-high 47-point game over Posey’s Pacers and later reached out to the veteran swingman for a hand shake.

“He tried and I declined,” Posey said. “He already gave us 40-something and I’m going to shake his hand and thank him? I’m good.”

Griffin comes from a basketball-playing family, the patriarch being Tommy Griffin, Blake’s dad, a well-respected and highly acclaimed high school coach from Oklahoma who instilled values the younger Griffin embraces to this very day, even in the cut-throat world that is the NBA.

“When I was in high school, he told me: ‘Let your game do the talking. You don’t have to go out and try to rough them up or anything. For one, you might have to sit out the next game.’

“It kind of lets people know that they’ve gotten to you.”

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The book on Blake

Blake Griffin was taken first overall by the L.A. Clippers in the 2009 NBA draft out of Oklahoma, but sat out the entire season with a left knee injury.

At 6-foot-10 and 250 pounds, Griffin’s vertical jump has been measured in excess of three feet.

Griffin, 21, dunked for the first time at age 13; his first basket in the NBA came on a dunk in Portland, a one-handed alley-oop flush over Nicolas Batum.

Shaquille O’Neal lists Griffin, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James as the only NBA players he’ll allow his son to watch.

“He’s a beast. He’s definitely one of the most exciting players to come into the league in a while.” — Mavs centre Tyson Chandler.

“He’s a star. The things he’s doing as a rookie are very impressive. He has power, athleticism and touch.” — Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau.


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