Bowling News USA - February 6, 2012 Blake Griffin, PDW Dethrone Belmonte, Chris Paul
National Basketball Association All-Star point guard Chris Paul and his new Los Angeles Clippers teammate, power forward Blake Griffin, are rapidly becoming the most dynamic duo in the NBA.
But on the bowling lanes in Sunday’s ESPN telecast of the Chris Paul PBA Celebrity Invitational presented by Sheets Brand from Lucky Strike LA Live, Paul gave Griffin an unwanted “assist” that helped Griffin’s team win the trios event and end Paul’s two-year hold on the trophy.
The event was sponsored by Storm Products.
The fourth annual Chris Paul PBA Celebrity Invitational presented by Sheets Brand, a fundraiser to benefit Paul’s CP3 Foundation, featured PBA stars Pete Weber, Jason Belmonte, Wes Malott and Ryan Shafer along with several of Paul’s celebrity friends from the worlds of sports and entertainment.
In this year’s event, an expanded roster of celebrities got the competition underway with a special one-ball, low-man-out Super Shootout. Miami Dolphins running back Reggie Bush was the first player eliminated, followed by Grammy Award-winning recording artist Ciara, former New York Giants defensive end Michael Strahan, comedian Kevin Hart, Entourage actor Jerry Ferrara and Griffin. In the final showdown frame between Paul and Grey’s Anatomy actor Jesse Williams, Williams threw back-to-back strikes for the victory.
The celebrities then teamed up with the PBA stars for the Baker format trios event, with the PBA player throwing shots in the first, fourth, seventh and 10th frames, and the celebrities filling out the other frames. In the opening round, Belmonte, Hart and Paul routed Shafer, Ciara and Strahan, 178-90, while Weber, Ferrara and Griffin eliminated Malott, Williams and Bush, 154-131.
In the championship match, Belmonte, Hart and Paul trailed Weber, Ferrara and Griffin by only one pin after seven frames. Hart and Paul converted eight-count spares in the eighth and ninth frames, respectively, but consecutive strikes by Ferrara and Griffin set up a dramatic finish. Belmonte’s double in the 10th frame forced Weber to strike on his first shot to lock up the 187-180 victory.
“Blake (Griffin) set me up for the 10th frame when he threw the best shot of the entire night,” Weber said. “It was kind of neat of him to do that. I don’t think Chris (Paul) enjoyed it, but I’m sure Blake enjoyed it a whole lot.
“For someone who doesn’t bowl a lot, Blake understands the object of the game,” Weber added. “He hit the headpin almost every time he threw the ball, and then he made his spares.”
“Normally it comes down to the pro needing to strike to win, but in this case it was up to the celebrities,” Belmonte said. “Chris and Kevin did their jobs on my team by getting spares, but unfortunately Jerry and Blake got strikes on the other team. Kevin made lots of comments about the odds of that ever happening. It was very funny. I didn’t expect both of them to strike, but they both stepped up and did their jobs.
“I doubled to force Pete to strike and then he did what he does best, which is strike when he has to strike.”
If Paul would have struck in the ninth frame, the outcome might have been different.
“Chris is a competitor. They all are,” Belmonte added. “He doesn’t like losing, whether it’s basketball or bowling, or anything else. He was a good sport about it, but I know it killed him to tell the other guys they did well.”
“Michael Strahan was great,” said Shafer, who bowled with the former NFL star, “and he doesn’t like to lose. But I don’t think anyone doesn’t like to lose as much as Chris Paul. He really doesn’t like to lose.
“It was a great time for all of us,” Shafer added, “and I gained a lot of respect for Chris Paul because he had to play host, he had to do the PBA thing, the charity thing, the Sheets Brand thing, and bowl. He did all of them and he did a great job.”
The PBA Tour’s next telecast will be the finals of the Chameleon Open Sunday at 3 p.m. ET on ESPN. The finalists will be Belmonte, Finland’s Osku Palermaa, Sean Rash of Montgomery, Ill., and Venezuela’s Ildemaro Ruiz. A free preview of the finals will be webcast on pba.com’s Xtra Frame starting Wednesday.
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