Blake Griffin has been nothing short of brilliant these playoffs, averaging 24.4 points, 13.3 rebounds and 8.1 assists per game through eight games. Those are historic great numbers. He put up a triple-double in Game 7 against the Spurs, then another in Game 1 against the Rockets when Chris Paul had to sit due to his hamstring.
So when your buddy tells you all Griffin can do is dunk and he spends too much time making KIA commercials, you will know this guy doesn’t watch much NBA ball. And maybe isn’t the kind of person you should be hanging out with in the first place.
Griffin has moved onto the plateau with CP3 as a genuine leader of the Clippers. How did he make that leap? By talking to Tim Duncan and taking notes, reports Ken Berger of CBSSports.com.
Last summer, (Duncan) gave Griffin, a 26-year-old, five-time All-Star, his blueprint — only to watch Griffin ultimately embrace it at the Spurs’ expense.
Produce, Duncan told him. Lead by example. Make people respect your actions. Have personal relationships with each of your teammates so you can have one-on-one conversations with them when they need you. Griffin listened, and took notes. Then, during the idyllic summer months in LA, it was time to execute the plan.
It was more than just that. Griffin went through an intense, high-tech workout plan designed to push his body to recover more quickly from the bursts of energy he uses during games. That worked too. While Griffin looked winded at points early in the series against the Spurs, he was brilliant in the fourth quarters of games six and seven.
With Paul likely out for Game 2 Wednesday night, the Clippers will run their offense through Griffin, who has developed point-forward skills — he is a fantastic passer with great handles for a big. He can set guys up in rhythm, and Houston had no answer for him in Game 1.
If they don’t find one in Game 2, this series could be very short. Blake Griffin has learned how to lead.