Clippers after deadline: Blake Griffin on his NBA debut
It was a natural question, and colleague J.A. Adande got to it first in the crowded locker room, asking the Clippers' Blake Griffin if there was a year's worth of pent-up energy behind his emphatic alley-oop dunk in the first quarter.
"It probably was -- you could say there was a little frustration taken out on the rim," he said, talking about his very first points in the NBA.
"I heard people yelling stuff. I could feel the crowd getting excited, getting behind us."
There was some element of relief to finally getting the official NBA debut out of the way.
"It's weird because you do interview after interview, 'Tell me what it's like to get back out there.' It is awesome to get back out there," Griffin said on Wednesday night. "But at the same time, I played in preseason games and stuff. It's another game. But it is that first one, so it's great to be back.
"... The next 81 games won't be so much of a build-up."
Said Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro: "Let's just be patient and give him some time. That's what we have to do. Everyone wants to -- especially with the young guys -- compare them. But let Blake Griffin be Blake Griffin, and we'll work through that a little bit and give him a little time."
The Clippers were undermined against Portland by poor shooting performances by the likes of Baron Davis and Chris Kaman, who were a combined seven for 29. Kaman was four for 18 from the field for eight points. Additionally, the Clippers were 19 for 30 from the free-throw line.
"Chris didn't have one of his better shooting nights, obviously," Del Negro said. "But that's where we have to learn. It's not about just making shots. When you are struggling shooting -- he still had 11 rebounds, which is good. He blocked a shot. Had a couple of steals. The ball is not always not going to go in. But we got him some high-percentage shots that he usually makes.
"He was off tonight, but that wasn't the reason we didn't have an opportunity to win this game."
-- Lisa Dillman
Photo: Blake Griffin. Credit: Mark J. Terrill /Associated Press.