Blake Griffin back to starring for Clippers, but still seeks perfection

first_imgAt the beginning of the third quarter, Griffin made a sweet inside move that faked Pelicans star forward Anthony Davis into Chick Hearn’s popcorn machine.“He’s trying to assert himself, trying to put his imprint on the game and dominate; that was great,” teammate J.J. Redick said of Griffin’s 23-point performance on 10-of-21 shooting with zero turnovers in 37 minutes.It was Griffin’s fifth game back from elbow surgery, and his best and most assertive performance. He’s averaging 18.8 points, 8.6 rebounds and 5.2 assists in the five games.His scoring is down some — he averages 22.2 on the season — but his rebounding is up over his season average of 7.6.Considering what he’s coming back from, not too shabby. But he’d rather not hear about how well he’s doing after missing 15 consecutive games with a staph infection in his right elbow. It will never be good enough, and it never is for those striving for superiority.“He is hard on himself,” said Clippers coach Doc Rivers, whose 46-25 team plays at 4 p.m. Wednesday at New York (14-57). “I jokingly told him in the game the other night, ‘Can I please yell at you first before you yell at you? Because it makes it a lot easier for me to yell at you than you yell at you.’“But that’s Blake. That’s probably why he’s really good because he is hard on himself. Great players don’t believe in shaking off the rust or, you know, kind of playing themselves back. They believe in when they play, they should be great. And that’s the problem.”Ask Griffin about his success since his return, he’d rather talk about where he still needs to get better.“Always taking care of the ball; I’ve done a poor job of that these past five games. Not as much yesterday, obviously, but taking care of the ball,” he said Monday. “Shooting just more confidently. I think that’ll just come in time. So, really just mixing up my attacks and knowing when to shoot the jumper, knowing when to put your head down and go to work inside a little bit.”Griffin admits he is rough on himself.“Yeah, absolutely,” he said.He’s seeking perfection.“Absolutely,” he said.Is that possible?“No, it’s not possible, but why not try for it?” Griffin said. “I never want to go into a game and be like, ‘Oh, I did good enough.’ I don’t think I’ve ever had a game like that. I’ve never had a game where I was like, ‘Yeah, that was the perfect game.’ So why not keep pushing for that?”Rivers digs that attitude.“Yeah, I think it’s always nice to be in pursuit of it,” Rivers said. “It’s a carrot that you will probably never get, but the more you run after it, the better you’ll play and the better you’ll become. And it’s a form of leadership, too.“When the other players see their best player is not satisfied, how can they ever be satisfied?”Griffin said although he’s had one day where his elbow was more sore than he expected, he has not had any setbacks since he came back March 15 against Houston. His elbow is, as expected, still a tad sore.But to say Griffin is excited to be back would be an understatement.“”It was tough (to be out), but it was great to see guys play so well,” said Griffin, whose team went 9-6 without him. “I mean, the games that hurt the worst were the games that we lost. But guys stepping up and guys playing the way they did, it’s encouraging to see and I think that’ll help us on down the road.”Meanwhile, Griffin will continue his search for the perfect game.“Yeah, if that ever happens,” he said, “I’ll let you know.” Clippers guard Chris Paul loved what he was seeing. “Man, it was great. I felt like a fan yesterday,” he said at practice Monday morning.Paul was talking about back-to-back baskets teammate Blake Griffin had Sunday, the second of which gave the Clippers a 10-point fourth-quarter lead in a 107-100 victory over New Orleans.“We ran an iso play for Blake, gave it to him and he just did what he does, went and got a bucket,” Paul said of Griffin’s 4-foot hook shot New Orleans’ Quincy Pondexter.center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img

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