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Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Rivalry brewing with Griffin, Barnes?

By Arash Markazi

PLAYA VISTA -- Clippers forward Blake Griffin doesn’t believe there is a rivalry with the Lakers, but there may be one brewing between him and Lakers forward Matt Barnes.

During the preseason Barnes talked about Griffin flopping, and when Barnes was asked about it again on Tuesday he said, “Just like the dunks, that's a part of his game so you got to adjust to it.” When Griffin was relayed the message after Clippers practice, he smiled.

“Still? From that preseason game?” Griffin said. “I don’t really have much to say to him or to that. If he’s mad that I tried to take a charge, so be it. I’m not even going to try to get into trash talking and going back and forth. If that’s what he feels, that’s what he feels. I know I didn’t flop the last game. So we’ll see. We’ll see what happens.”

Griffin chalked up Barnes’ attitude to the Clippers beating the Lakers 102-94 in their last meeting Jan. 14 when Griffin had 22 points, 14 rebounds and five assists.

“I’ve heard a lot of talk like that from them through other people,” Griffin said. “That’s what happens. We won the first game and that’s what happens. We’ll let them do all that. I’m not worried about Matt Barnes and what he thinks about me flopping or not.”

Griffin also addressed the contention from Lakers coach Mike Brown that Griffin’s foul on Lakers rookie guard Darius Morris in the first quarter of their last game was “dangerous.” Brown submitted a tape of the play to the league in which Morris went up for a dunk after the whistle hand blown but was knocked to the ground by Griffin in midair.

“I watched it a couple times, I watched it a lot actually,” Griffin said. “He kept going and I kept going and he went up to dunk and I put my hands out and he swung into me a little bit and he fell to the ground. That’s what happened.”

Griffin, however, admitted that there was a message being sent on the play not to try and dunk after the whistle has blown, which he learned early in his rookie year.

“I remember in my rookie year in the preseason before I got hurt, there was a foul called and I went up and dunked after the whistle,” Griffin said. “I think it was Juwan Howard who came up and grabbed me and said, ‘Hey, don’t do that young fella. You’re going to get hurt. Somebody will mess you up.’ I said OK and I came to the bench and Marcus Camby and Chris Kaman both said to me whenever you hear the whistle, stop, don’t go up and try to dunk, you’re going to get hurt. From then on I knew that’s what happens.

“I wasn’t trying to hurt him. I know Darius. We’re cool. I mean, looking at the tape I don’t even see an area where you could say I was trying to hurt him. Maybe it was the way he fell because it was awkward. It’s something that’s lingering and I have no idea why.”