Why NBA opponents love to hate Blake Griffin

Why NBA opponents love to hate Blake Griffin

As the Los Angeles Clippers stack up victories, winning their ninth straight game on Wednesday, Blake Griffin has spent the past week stockpiling enemies.

On Monday, the all-star forward took an elbow to the chin from Phoenix’s P.J. Tucker, who was subsequently suspended for one game. Two days later, following the Clippers’ victory against Golden State, Griffin was confronted by Warriors forward Jermaine O’Neal outside the locker room. The two reportedly engaged in a heated conversation before being broken up by teammates, replaying a scene that had transpired during the game when O’Neal was whistled for a technical foul after yelling in Griffin’s direction during the fourth quarter.

Add this to the forearm to the neck Griffin received from Miami’s Mario Chalmers in November, the flagrant elbow to the head he took from Golden State’s Draymond Green in December and another flagrant blow to the head from Indiana’s David West in January and it begs the question: Why do so many players seem to hate Griffin?

In some ways, Griffin has done his part to frustrate opponents. Not only did Wednesday’s 30-point, 15-rebound performance mark the 24th straight game that Griffin has scored at least 20 points, it joined the fourth-year forward with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Charles Barkley as the only players to accumulate 6,000 points, 3,000 rebounds and 1,000 assists while shooting at least 50 percent from the field.

Griffin is also averaging a career-high 24.4 points this season and has increased his free throw percentage to 69.5 percent, an improvement that serves well for a player who has drawn a league-high 498 fouls, according to NBA.com/stats.