DALLAS -- Of all the stupefying slam dunks and sick power drives Blake Griffin is supplying seemingly on a nightly basis, perhaps most impressive in the rock-solid rookie's arsenal -- aside from engaging enigmatic point guard Baron Davis -- is his ridiculous ability to snare offensive rebounds.
Blake is fifth in the league in offensive rebounds, grabbing four a game, and he's fourth overall in rebounding at 12.9 to go with a 22.8-point average.
"Right now, he is a human highlight reel," Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. "And when he gets into the lob dunks and the drives and the flying up above the square to get the offensive rebound, they enter a different stratosphere as a team."
The last time the Mavs saw Blake and the Clippers was on Halloween in L.A. Griffin had a good game, finishing with 16 rebounds, making just 4-of-15 shots, and nine rebounds -- four offensive. But, it was just the third game of the season, Blake was coming off a devastating injury that ruined what should have been his rookie season and know one could foresee what would transpire over the past two-plus months.
Suddenly, the Clippers are relevant, even a draw. Their record as L.A. Lite comes to the American Airlines Center tonight, 17-26 and 13th in the Western Conference, doesn't accurately portray the spirit in which the Clips are playing, thanks mainly to the 6-foot-10, 251-pound Griffin, who some say is a combination of Karl Malone's brawn and Dominique Wilkins' athleticism.
"He has that Karl Malone-type game where he’s physical," Mavs guard Jason Kidd said. "I don’t know if Karl played above the rim like that when he was his age, but he’s a guy who comes to play every night and as a rookie you don’t find that that much in this league and he’s doing it.
"He definitely puts up some highlights. He does some things that are very special -- offensive rebounding, being able to pass to his teammates. He has a good grasp of the game to be young. The future is very bright for himself and his team."
While Griffin is forcing his way onto a possible spot on the West All-Star roster, most important for the Mavs as they try to steady themselves is not to take these new Clippers as a welcome mat to kick off this four-game homestand.
"They’re a completely different team than when we saw them the last time," Carlisle said. "Their last 10 or 15 games, they’ve been winning about 70 percent of the time. They’re extremely athletic. They’ve gotten better offensive and defensively and they present major problems on the boards, in large part because of Griffin."