Blake, the difference maker

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On the rise: Blake Griffin’s play for the Los Angeles Clippers continues to go up since he has been back from an injury. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline.com

LOS ANGELES–No worries here. Blake is here. That’s the sentiment ushered around Staples Center as Clippers forward Blake Griffin looks like he is fast approaching being fit and ready for the postseason with another stellar performance on Sunday against the visiting New Orleans Pelicans.

For the Clippers’ sake, things have gotten better since Griffin has taken the floor since he has recovered from a staph infection. The  Clippers starting rotation have looked better for it as well. All five starters scored in double figures against the Anthony Davis led-Pelicans, and that sort of balance in the Clippers’ 107-100 win is what coach Doc Rivers is looking more from his team, particularly on the transition end.

“We played with pace when we were not making shots,” Rivers said after the game. “What I did like is that we scored eight points on their mistakes. When they made a basket we moved the ball up the court and scored baskets. I want us to play like that more. I thought that was good.”

What was also good was the active play of Griffin, who stayed in line with his season statistics of averaging 22 points and seven rebounds. For the game, Griffin’s stat line was 23 (points) and 5 (reb(rebounds) with 12 points coming in the second half.

Griffin’s fresh legs are what the Clippers are going to need down the stretch of the last games of the regular season as the team jockey for postseason position. Chris Paul, who tied with Griffin in the team-high scoring department with 23 points, believes his teammate his coming around.

“I started getting that feeling that [Blake Griffin] is starting to find himself,” Paul said. “That is the guy we all know and love and are used to. It just felt great to see him be aggressive.”

Griffin being back in the starting lineup and being aggressive has helped the front line of the Clippers keep up its high level of play. Center DeAndre Jordan continues to do his thing on the boards, crashing down for 16 rebounds to go with his 12 points against the Pelicans. J.J. Redick dropped in another 20 points for the home team. But the afternoon and stage belonged to Griffin, who was nearly upstaged by the Pelicans’ Anthony Davis, who scored 26 points on just 11-of-13 shooting from the field.

Griffin talked about his play since coming back from his long-derailed injury.

“It’s been up and down in different areas,” Griffin said. “The points of emphasis for me have been more aggressive and to shoot more, so I try to do that but at the same time still take good shots. I still try to be a playmaker at the same time as well. So, it is getting there.”

 

 

Dennis J. Freeman
About Dennis J. Freeman 1105 Articles
Dennis covers the NFL (San Diego Chargers), NBA (Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers), Major League Baseball (Los Angeles Dodgers) and NCAA sports (USC, UCLA, Long Beach State). As a professional journalist, Dennis has also covered and written on topics such as civil rights, politics and social justice. Dennis is a graduate of Howard University.