The world has witnessed Blake Griffin’s incredible death-defying play all season long.
His willingness to push his body to the limit has been on full display and to some observers Blake may seem reckless. But what we learned again this weekend about Blake is that pushing himself to defy the odds is the only way he knows how to play basketball, and is exactly what makes him such a special athlete.
Despite his team trailing late in Sunday’s game, Blake saw an opportunity to throw down a dunk and motivate his team into a comeback victory. This time, Blake alighted about ten feet from the basket, with the opportunity to complete the play only a slight possibility. For virtually anyone else, this would have been surefire disaster. As we've come to expect, Blake went up for the slam anyway. The results were memorable.
Should this dunk have counted? You be the judge. Blake finished the game with 17 points on only six made field goals in addition to making five of his six free throws. While his highlight dunks are the talk of the country, Blake has quietly raised his free throw shooting to 78% in the month of March. That’s nearly 30 percentage points higher than his first month of the season.
The continuous improvements and desire to wow us did not come from out of the blue. According to a study referenced in the Wall Street Journal, younger siblings engage in riskier behavior as a way to distinguish themselves from their older and traditionally athletically superior counterparts. Blake, who is two years younger than his brother Taylor, is a walking illustration of this theory. Look no further for evidence than Blake’s daring dunk attempts and ruthless hustle when chasing after loose balls.
"He kinda plays with a reckless abandon—that's probably the reason he's been so successful," Taylor said of his brother.
Blake admitted that he developed an aggressive mentality when trying to keep up with his older brother during their childhood:
"If I didn't do that, I was a failure.”
The results of Blake’s upbringing have been on full display for NBA fans every night this season. This was especially true during the Clippers’ matinee versus the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday. Blake nearly earned his first career triple-double, finishing with a game-high 30 points, eight rebounds and eight assists on the way to a 100-92 victory over Cleveland.
Blake was deprived of yet another incredible basket on Saturday. You be the judge of whether or not this incredible basket should have counted:
Blake would not let that play discourage him as he kept doing what he does so naturally, which is to get a sold-out Staples center crowd cheering and on their feet. Here are a few more of Blake’s biggest dunks from Saturday’s win:
Don’t miss it when Blake takes on fellow rookie John Wall and the Washington Wizards Wednesday night at the Staples Center.