Blake Griffin gets fouled a lot and he hates it. We all know this. Whether it’s because he can’t make free throws or because teams have figured out that hacking Blake really frustrates him and eventually he’ll pass up fourth quarter shots because there’s a chance he could be fouled, hitting Blake has become the go-to strategy for NBA teams trying to beat the Clippers.
But because this is the NBA, where it is super important to come off as hardcore lest you be called the league’s ultimate insult, a fake tough guy, DeAndre Jordan is letting it be known that if you mess with Blake, you mess with him. From ESPN:
“If Blake gets fouled, I can’t go punch someone in the nose,” Jordan said. “We can’t do that but throughout the course of a game, other fouls happen to other players on the opposite team and if they happen to be hard fouls, they happen to be hard fouls. We’re going to protect our teammates; it doesn’t matter who it is.”
This is exactly what people want to hear from the Clippers. If you foul Blake, you get fouled. It’s the 80s way and there is a huge subset of people who think that that’s the way things need to be. Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth and all that jazz. This will certainly satisfy them, even though it’s DeAndre Jordan and he’s one of the smiliest guys in the league. I’m not saying getting fouled by a guy that big wouldn’t send a message, I’m just saying I have a hard time envisioning DeAndre Jordan as an enforcer and that it might be hard to decipher which of his numerous fouls is the one that’s supposed to be in retaliation.
In theory, Reggie Evans or Kenyon Martin would be that enforcer. Not only are they both meaner than DeAndre, they’re also less essential to the team. If they get kicked out for fouls, it’s not as big of a deal as the Clips losing their starting center. However, according to Evans, he’s not having any part of this. From the Los Angeles Daily News:
“Blake is 6-10 and what, 240 or something? He’s a big boy. He should know how to defend himself out there,” Evans said.
It would be different, Evans said, if opponents were picking on smaller Clippers such as Chris Paul, Mo Williams or Eric Bledsoe. If that was the case, Evans and the other Clippers big men would gladly step up in defense.
“But you’re talking about a big man helping out another big man, you know what I’m saying,” Evans said. “You’ve got to be able to defend yourself.”
Evans said he would not have let it get to this point, if he was on the wrong end of the physical play.
“If I’m in that position people are not going to be doing me like that, you know what I’m saying?” he said. “I ain’t gonna depend on no NBA to take care of it.
“My high school coach, he told me a way to get a person up off you. There is a way to get someone up off you. You can’t ask another big man to do it.”
Classic Reggie Evans right here. I don’t know if he’s trying to say Blake Griffin needs to start retaliating, challenging his manhood or calling DeAndre Jordan an idiot, but this is great. He’s essentially calling his own teammate soft by trying to show people that he’s one of the NBA’s toughest players. That is a very convoluted diss.
Personally, I think the way Blake Griffin could avoid hard fouls is to make free throws. It’s not foolproof, since teams are still going to hack him, but if he’s putting in eight of 10 freebies, that strategy becomes a lot less effective. Giving up easy points is way worse than sending a message. Plus, like Reggie Evans says, Blake’s a big boy. If he makes free throws and keeps leading with forearms to the face, maybe teams will stop trying to kill him all the time.
Or, I suppose, Reggie Evans could teach him that mysterious “way to get someone up off you,” which I’m fairly certain we’ve seen before. If Blake learns that, not only would he scare off some of the fouls, Chris Paul would love him even more.