GRIFFIN SCORING IN A VARIETY OF WAYS
Blake Griffin has gone on scoring binges before, but not quite like the last week.
He’s averaged 30.3 points over the past four games and since Dec. 14 has scored at least 20 points nine times. The difference between his most recent stretch and, say, his run of 11-straight 20-point, 10-rebound games during his rookie season, has been the variety in which Griffin’s doing it.
On Saturday he had 40 points against the Jazz, 22 coming in the paint. Two games later, in a blowout victory over the Charlotte Bobcats, Griffin went 7-for-10 from beyond 16 feet, racking up a team-high 31 points.
“I just think he keeps mixing it up,” Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said. “It’s amazing when you look at his big scoring nights. One night it will be all posts and the other night I think he had very little post points. [Instead, it was] transition and jump shots. So, it’s nice when you’re able to do both.”
Griffin is one of just three players in the league with at least 250 points in the paint and 70 field goals from mid-range (2-point shots outside of the paint). He’s also generated 170 points from the foul line, tied for fifth in the league, and is one of three players with 200 or more fouls drawn on opponents.
“I think he’s really getting to that point where you can’t take one thing away,” Rivers said. “[Charlotte] clearly decided last night that they were going to use D.J.’s (DeAndre Jordan’s) guy to trap Blake, front and back, and take his post game away. He still ended up with 30 points, so that’s a good sign for him and our team.”
For Griffin, his progress offensively has been tied to his year-round work.
“It’s just been work,” Griffin said. “Working with our shooting coach, working over the summer, the work I put in during the season, and it pays off eventually.”
COMPETITIVE ROAD TRIPS SHOULD BE ‘FUN’
After Thursday morning’s practice, the Clippers (22-12) left on their second road back-to-back in the past eight days. They are just 8-9 on the road this season and are coming off consecutive losses to Golden State and Portland.
On Friday they open their Texas two-step with the Dallas Mavericks (19-13) and finish it a day later with the San Antonio Spurs (25-7). Both teams are in the top eight of the Western Conference, and Rivers thinks his team should embrace the challenge of taking on two playoff teams.
“It’s great,” Rivers said. “I think it’s something we should really have some fun with. Two really good teams, two really good teams at home, too. Dallas is tough at home and San Antonio’s just good all the time. So, I think it should be a trip that we go out looking forward to.”
Center DeAndre Jordan agreed: “It’s going to be some great road games. These teams, especially San Antonio, their great at home and their definitely looking for revenge from last game. So we can’t come out stagnant at all, both of these teams are dangerous so we just need to be ready to play.”
Rookie forward Reggie Bullock continues to work his way back from a high left ankle sprain. He has not played since suffering the injury on Dec. 7 at Cleveland and while Rivers says Bullock is close, he’s still not ready to rejoin the active roster.
“He had a little setback the other night in practice,” Rivers said. “He kind of tweaked it again, but nothing bad. Mentally that’s hard, when you’re almost healthy and you tweak it just a little bit. That’s all you need to think, ‘I’m not ready.’
“It will be interesting to see. But he’s close.”
Bullock is averaging 2.7 points on 37.8 percent shooting, including going 8-for-28 from 3-point range (28.6 percent) in 17 games this season.