Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Blake Griffin finishes the acrobatic and-one dunk, DeAndre Jordan follows up the free throw (VIDEO)

When the Los Angeles Clippers traded for Chris Paul back in 2011, high-flying big men Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan immediately celebrated their good fortune and dubbed the new team "Lob City." In the 14 months since, the Clippers have mostly tried to leave that image behind. They grew tired of it, for one thing, and professional basketball also happens to have little in common with the world of "NBA Jam."

Yet the Clippers are still exciting, and, during Monday night's matchup with the Philadelphia 76ers, over the course of just a few seconds of game time, Griffin and Jordan reminded us how they erected an entire dunk metropolis. Check out the video above via our pals at the Yahoo! Sports Minute, and join us after the jump for an explanation of what went down.

Just past the midway mark of the third quarter, with the Clippers already up 69-48 on the 76ers, Paul and Griffin ran a beautiful pick-and-roll that gave Griffin a path to the basket with only Spencer Hawes to beat. Although he initially went up to finish a characteristically ferocious dunk with his right hand, Griffin adjusted in midair and contorted his body to allow himself to stuff the ball with his left hand. In the process, he also drew a foul from Hawes and went to the line for a free throw.

The Clippers weren't done. Griffin missed the foul shot, but Jordan forced Arnett Moultrie under the basket on the rebound and got into perfect position for a two-handed follow-dunk. It was a massively impressive sequence, a perfect encapsulation of the athleticism that Griffin and Jordan bring to the NBA's most athletic frontcourt.

These plays didn't involve the alley-oops that Lob City promised, but it's hard to find a better sequence of highlights. On top of that, they display the qualities that make the Clippers more than just a highlight factory. Paul's pass on the pick-and-roll with Griffin is peerless, splitting two defenders and giving Griffin as good a dunk attempt as he's going to get in the half-court. And while Jordan hasn't matured into quite the offensive force he looked like he might be when this season started, his positioning on the rebound shows that he's learning how to turn his immense physical gifts into on-court production.

The Clippers remain on the fringes of championship contention, but that's still a major accomplishment in a league where only two or three teams — the Miami Heat, the Oklahoma City Thunder and the San Antonio Spurs — look to have a decent chance at the title. If they get deep into the playoffs, it will be because they executed in a way that unlocks their considerable potential.

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