If there is one proven way to stop rookie All-Star Blake Griffin from scoring, it is to foul the living shit out of him. Of course, Griffin will often score anyway. But if he doesn't, and if he's not paralyzed after the foul, there is only about a 60 percent chance he'll capitalize on the ensuing free throws. A prediction: Hack-Or-Yoke-A-Blake strategy will endure from now until Griffin's first major brain trauma.
Griffin hasn't complained much about getting thrown to the floor on a regular basis. He gets that it's part of the game. "Everybody is bigger and stronger and we play a lot more games," he told the Los Angeles Times. "It's just one of those things that's going to happen."
And so in his first professional season, Griffin does his best to jump back back up after each hit, sometimes furiously chewing his mouthguard, sometimes looking as if he has just emerged from a coma. Then he heads to the line. We're not witnessing a groundbreaking new defensive strategy for the sport, of course — Miami head coach Erik Spoelstra said that Griffin is being subjected to the "Dwight Howard treatment" in the paint. But it's a fair estimate to say that Griffin has been the recipient of more flagrant fouls than anyone this season (three so far, by my count), and that so long as he's clanging free throws off the rim — he went 4-for-13 from the line in a loss to Chicago last week — other teams will keep on fouling and, Blake Griffin being Blake Griffin, fouling hard.
Griffin wasn't obviously injured in any of the fouls seen in the video above (all collected from YouTube), but I get the feeling it's only a matter of time before he winds up on this list. And that would make this NBA season significantly less fun for all of us.