TODAY'S PAPER
48° Good Afternoon
48° Good Afternoon
SportsBasketballKnicks

Dunk of the Year, Part III

 LOS ANGELES -- This is starting to get redundant:

 

 
 
It wasn't quite Vince Carter over Frederic Weis, but it was close.
 
"I never seen that in my life," Timofey Mozgov said of Blake Griffin basically pole-vaulting over him for a nasty throw-down in the third quarter of the Knicks' win over the Clippers.
Mozgov smiled and even chuckled when he recalled how quick it happened. Then he shrugged.
 
"Of course I can't think about it all my life, right?" he said.
 
"It was a nice dunk, though," he then added.
 
It was the second straight night that the Knicks have had a legitimate candidate for Dunk of the Year against them. On Friday in Golden State, it was Monta Ellis soaring over Ronny Turiaf in a game also won by the Knicks.
 
Then you go back to the Nov. 4 game in Chicago, when Derrick Rose blew by Toney Douglas for a nasty two-handed slam in a game the Knicks won over the Bulls.
 
Yes, maybe this is getting redundant. These moments all have the same end result.
 
"I'm going to say something plain and simple: I will take getting dunked on for the rest of the year, every single game, if we get the win," Turiaf said. "How about that?"
 
He makes a good point. For instance, how many times did Nate Robinson drop the hammer on someone and make the Top 10 Plays of the Night in a game the Knicks wound up losing?
 
Fans may not like seeing the Knicks getting punked like this, but Turiaf definitely has the right attitude and he tried to send that message to Mozgov.
 
"It's going to happen," he said. "Hopefully he just rebounds from it. It's not the end of the world. It's two points."
 
Turiaf was also quick to point out something else: he's tagged more people than he's been tagged. "My ratio of blocking shots to getting dunked on is pretty low," he said.
 
Still, that Griffin dunk was pretty damn impressive. It wasn't as much a slam as it was a throw-in, but the height he got to have the ability to literally throw it down into the rim was amazing. Griffin admitted he used the 7-1 Mozgov for some leverage.
 
"Randy [Foye] passed the ball over to me at the right time and Mozgov kind of helped me get up a little bit once I got on top of him," he said. "But I just tried to throw it in because I knew I couldn't get it to the rim." 
 
The fact that he grabbed Mozgov's head with his other hand, which could be viewed as a push-off, certainly helped. In another dunk Griffin had later in the game, when he came up with a loose ball and dunked over Danilo Gallinari, Griffin used his other hand to grab Gallinari's outstretched arm and move it aside to avoid the block. Technically, that's an offensive foul.
 
It'll be interesting to see if the NBA pays closer attention to Griffin's aerial assaults in the near future, but there are two things to keep in mind: 1. he does it so fast it might be impossible for the human eye to catch it, and 2. it takes amazing coordination to dunk the ball with one hand while using the other to block the reach of a defender.
 
Amar'e Stoudemire was certainly impressed with the spring in Griffin's young legs. Stoudemire pointed out that Griffin, as a high school star, attended his Nike-sponsored big man skills academy camp and even then he noticed Griffin had a similar game.
 
"Very very similar," Stoudemire said. " . . . I definitely saw a lot of me in him then. He's playing well. For a rookie, I think this is probably his breakout game. He's going to be very, very good."
 
Stoudemire downplayed the notion that he engaged in what became a dunk-a-thon with Griffin, his protege, in the fourth quarter. "Not really, to be honest with you, I was going to bring it tonight from the start, even before that first dunk he scored on," Stoudemire said. "I was going to bring it from the start regardless. Tonight just happened to be a night where Blake and I went at it. It'll be great to see these battles in the near future."
 
Stoudemire called the Griffin dunk on Mozgov "incredible" and with a touch of nostalgia in his voice added, "I've had a few of those over my career."
 
A Clippers reporter recalled the time when Stoudemire as a rookie posterized former Clipper No. 1 pick Michael Olowokandi like this:
  
 
 
"I've been in those shoes before," Stoudemire said. "Those shoes are starting to creep up in age."

Comments

We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.

New York Sports