Prior to the second game on my journey a sudden media briefing has been called in the press room. Due to my sleeping in late because of jetlag I left the hotel a little late therefore my arrival at Staples center was late. A lady informs me that the media will be briefed on the 'incident' at 12:20 pm. Later I find out that an intruder made his way inside the arean with a knife and attempted to take the place to siege. He was overpowered by police using a bean bag gun. Yes that's right. A bean bag gun. Back to the evening's affair though, Baron Davis will miss his return to Los Angeles with back spasms and missing also is Antawn Jamison. As long as Blake Griffin doesn't miss it will be all worth the trip to see the Clippers.
There seems to be a genuine buzz amongst Clipper fans prior to the game. For a meaningless game against the Cavaliers in mid-March, you can just sense the excitement. And no, I am not being sarcastic. One day I'll ask a Clipper fan why there is so much enthusiasm. Daniel Eade where you at?
And the second game on the Starting5 journey is about to begin….
– Blake Griffin has 2 dunks in the first 4 minutes of the game. Clippers interior defense is non existent as the Cavs have scored three easy buckets in the paint.
– Griffin scarliy good live. Once he gets a reliable outside he will be unstoppable in this league.
– Just as I speak Griffin hits a 17 footer from the wing. Meh, what do I know anyway? Clippers up 12-9
– Cavs are getting into the paint. Ryan Hollins is drawing Griffin out of the paint. Where's DeAndre Jordan though?
– Although nowhere near a sell-out it there are more people in here than the last time I was here. Call that the 'Blake Effect'.
– Chris Kaman enters the game but still the Cavaliers are attacking the rim. No resistance from Clipper bigs.
– Cavaliers have 16 points in the paint in the first 10 minutes of the game
– End of the first Cavaliers lead the Clippers 28-25.
– The 'old' Cavaliers have begun the secod quarter. Clips have taken the lead 30-28
– Cavaliers call time with 7:41 left. Clippers lead 39-33. LA on an 11-3 run at the moment.
– We all know what Blake Griffin's dunking ability but an underrated aspect of his game is his passing ability. Great passer out of the double team. And he faces a lot of those.
– Sidenote : It is cold inside the Staples Center. So cold that the Cavliers radio crew sitting next to me ask for my jacket. "Is it always this cold in here?", they ask. Yes I reply.
– 6-0 run by the Cavs has them within one again. 47-46. Timeout LA
– Blake Griffin leading the fastbreak is scary for opposition teams. Makes the right play and dishes to Gordon for the three .
– Halftime Clippers up 54-50
– Clips open the quarter on a Williams three after Griffin posted up and kicked out. LA should run that play more. Williams can hit open three's. Bout the only shot he can hit really.
– Samardo Samuels T'd up for complaining about a no call. If he was Kobe he wouldn't have been called for that. Wasn't much in it. Unlike Kobe's whining last night.
– Blake Griffin dunk number 3 for the night. A one handed reverse dunk. Timeout Cleveland, 65-71 Clippers.
– Griffin has come alive. Showing the entire repetoire this quarter, 11/18 for the game so far. 25 points.
– Back to back triples from Eric Gordon. Clippers starting to break away. lead 80-73.
– End of the third, Clippers 82-78 Cavaliers.
Spotted in the crowd is Clipper Darrell. If you don't know about Darrell, he's a Clipper Nation legend. Attends all home games in a red/blue suit. Mad Clipper fan.
– This whole throwing T-shirts into the crowd amazes me. Crazy to see how wild people get for a Tee. A Clipper one at that too.
– Just been handed a press release stating the official capacity has been reached. 19,060. Sellout number 12. Really? I can see at least 1,000 empty seats opposite the media area alone. 'The Blake Effect' strikes again.
– Incredible Blake Griffin 'and one' was overturned and will go to the line for two shots. A blocking foul called on Samardo Samuels. Griffin was falling back and managed to get a reverse circus shot in the air.
– Mo Williams puts the icing on the cake.Jeez Mo Williams is so good when he isn't being guarded by anyone. I can see why LeBron made him an All-Star like that. Dagger three has Clippers up 100-90. Less than 2 minutes left.
– Game over. Clippers win 100-92
Down in the locker rooms after is a thrill. Within arms reach are Blake Griffin with a throng of reporters around him, Eric Gordon with a bunch of reporters as well (though not as many as Griffin) and then Mo Williams, Chris Kaman and Ike Diogu as well. For the first time I get a little shy as I wait to ask Blake a question. What will I ask? "What are your hopes for next season?", "What did you think of the three guard lineup the Clippers used tonight?", "Should the NBL bring back 48 minute games?". In the end, I say nothing and allow the more experienced reporters to fire away at Griffin as I record quietly. The fact that I'm in an NBA locker room is still hard to fathom.
I'm in awe. Of these guys and myself for being here.
Wait until I get to New York on Monday. I'll be better then.