It is not by accident that so many opposing players have come to tussle with Blake Griffin. He’s both a physical player and one teams have apparently marked as easily riled — prone to the pushing and jawing that can land the Clippers’ star forward in foul trouble or worse. Beneath any such ploy is a simple, self-evident truth: As much as Griffin might grapple and agitate, opponents single him out because there are so few other options in dealing with him.
He’s an exceptional cover worthy of exceptional treatment. The challenge begins with Griffin’s baseline athleticism, quietly enhanced with countless hours of core and lower-body work. Too often his explosion is taken as a point of fact — a 40-inch vertical as an immutable gift. But this is the same Griffin who, while wearing weights and a resistance belt, scaled sand dunes without shoes as his entry training to the NBA. Every bit of ignition is earned, and every kind of pull and shove emulated. It’s for that reason that fouling Griffin is rarely enough. He’s a nimble behemoth, so quick on his feet and strong to the hoop that he inspires an abnormal — and potentially dangerous — response.