By Paul SzmalDUNDEE, N.Y. (May 12) – Jake Karlnoski motored to the Friday IMCA Modified feature win at Outlaw Speedway.Glenn Whritenour charged into the lead in the 20-lap contest as Phil Yaw moved to the second spot, but the field was bunched back up following a lap 2 two caution.Yaw jumped into the top spot on the restart as Karlnoski snuck past Whritenour and into second on lap six. Karlnoski and Yaw spent the next several laps battling for the top spot with Karlnoski finally locking down the lead on lap 11.Karlnoski was able to motor away and take the win as Whritenour got by Yaw for second in the closing laps. Shawn Bruce and Brandon Smith rounded out the top five.
Blake Griffin of the Clippers has shown no reluctance to get in the paint after missing 15 consecutive games with a staph infection in his right elbow. He might even be going in there more since his return a week ago Sunday. His rebound numbers attest to that as he was averaging 9.5 in the four games he had played before Sunday’s 107-100 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans; he was averaging 7.7 on the season.Indeed, it appears there was no way Griffin was going to take anything easy once he got back in the fold. On Friday, he went hard to the ground on his back after being fouled by Washington’s Nene with 5:39 left in the third quarter while going hard to the basket. Nene was called for a flagrant 1 foul. Less than a minute earlier, Paul Pierce had committed a flagrant 1 foul on Griffin. Griffin had no reaction either time, and he explained why.“I don’t think any of them were malicious,” Griffin said. “That’s just kind of a read. When you don’t think anything is meant to be done in a harmful way, there’s no need to react. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Chris Paul has his teammates’ back, and has been offering him emotional support.“It’s tough,” Paul said. “Jamal is a huge part of this team. We need him. But guys have been stepping up. I tell Jamal all the time that we’re going to need him more in the postseason than we do right now.“He is doing everything he can to get back on the court.”Coach Doc Rivers admitted after Friday’s victory over the Washington Wizards that there is a chance Crawford might not return. Prior to tipoff Sunday, Rivers said, “Jamal told me he’s feeling better, it just doesn’t seem like he is.”Rivers conceded that Crawford’s injury is worse than the team initially thought.“Probably,” he said. “I think (head trainer) J.P. (Jasen Powell) was concerned pretty much right away, but I think even he’s been caught off guard; not off guard, he probably thinks it’s worse than we thought.”Crawford, who turned 35 Friday, is shooting 40.1 percent from the field and 34.5 percent (115 of 345) from 3-point range. For his career, he’s shooting 41.1 percent overall and 35 percent from beyond the arc.But any time one is assessing Crawford’s percentages, the difficulty of many of his shots is higher than most.Crawford showed up in the locker room pregame Sunday and was not limping as much as he was a few days earlier.UpcomingThe Clippers (46-25) now embark on a three-game road trip that will feature stops Wednesday at New York, Friday at Philadelphia and Sunday at Boston. When they come back, they will host Golden State on March 31. “They are a physical group, but we are, too. So you just have to take hits and then keep going and show that you can take hits.” Griffin only had five rebounds Sunday to go with his 23 points, but he’s still averaging 8.6 rebounds since his return. His career average is 9.8.Paul supports CrawfordOne has to wonder how the Clippers’ chances in the postseason will be affected if they are without a healthy Jamal Crawford, who Sunday missed his 10th consecutive game with a right calf injury.Crawford averages 16.4 points off the bench and though his shooting-percentage numbers are down just a bit, there can be no mistaking that he remains a very clutch player, the kind who can miss his first four shots and make his next six.