Heisler: Griffin, Love prove deserving of the big stage

February 05, 2011|By Mark Heisler, Tribune Newspapers

Blake Griffin and Kevin Love, All-Stars …

Duh.

Fittingly, if surprisingly, Griffin made it as a rookie and a Clipper … if one capable of averaging 27-14-4 last month … over Love, LaMarcus Aldridge, Lamar Odom, Zach Randolph and Rudy Gay.

That left Love, who may be the first 20-15 player since Moses Malone in 1983, as the best non-All-Star ever, until they named him to replace Yao Ming.

Suns coach Alvin Gentry, revealing one vote, said he went for Griffin.

The Lakers' Phil Jackson, who last lavished praise on a foe when Earl Monroe was in Baltimore, called Griffin "an impact player in this game."

Exciting as it is, by 2015 the Wunderkinder will be five-time All-Stars, wishing just once they had the weekend off.

Welcome back: The farce, er, trade that won't die …

Carmelo Anthony personally restarted talks with New Jersey on last week's visit as the Nets flattened the Nuggets, making them 5-3 since Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov turned his back on Anthony.

"Prokhorov took a load off a lot of guys on the Nets and the Nuggets and now guys can just go out there and play," an admiring Anthony said.

Having ducked a meeting with Prokhorov while trying to tweak the deal, Anthony says he's up for it.

As for reports he won't sign an extension there, Melo couldn't imagine what dufus said that.

Oh, right, that was you.

The Logo hits the pavement: Fittingly, if belatedly, Lakers great Jerry West's statue will be unveiled outside Staples Center in Los Angeles during All-Star weekend alongside those of Wayne Gretzky, Magic Johnson, Oscar de la Hoya and Chick Hearn.

"I really don't know what to make of it," said West, pleased and embarrassed.

"I really, honestly did not play basketball to have a statue. I loved to compete.

"It's unbelievably flattering that somebody would want to do this, unbelievably — but candidly, I wish Elgin Baylor would be right there beside me."

Improbable drive: With teams lining up for Steve Nash as the Suns dropped to 15-21, they went on an 8-4 run with Marcin Gortat averaging 18 points and 11 rebounds off the bench in the last five. After short stints with the Magic, Gortat said it was like buying his first BMW — which he slept in for a week: "I have the same feeling now, getting out and playing 30 minutes. Next day, you've got to figure out what to do because you're actually tired."

mheisler@tribune.com

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