Blake Griffin of the Clippers is guarded by Portland’s Al-Farouq Aminu during the first half of the Trail Blazers’ 96-88 victory Saturday over the Clippers in Portland/AP photo by Craig Mitchelldyer
Blake Griffin played very well in Game 1 of the Clippers’ first-round series against Portland. He scored 19 points on 5 of 10 shooting and also grabbed 12 rebounds and doled out six assists in his team’s 115-95 victory. He wasn’t as good in the Clippers’ 102-81 Game 2 victory, scoring 12 points on 4 of 12 from the field; he also had nine rebounds and four assists.
Then came Saturday’s Game 3 in Portland, when he really struggled with his shot. He scored 12 points while shooting just 5 of 16. He had seven rebounds, but none on the offensive end. He had four assists and two steals, but he also had a crucial turnover down the stretch, when the Clippers were outscored 15-3 over the final three minutes, 52 seconds of Portland’s 96-88 win.
If the Clippers are to have any chance of advancing deep into the playoffs, it figures Griffin will have to be at least close to being himself on a consistent basis. Having missed 45 consecutive games before playing five of the final seven in the regular season, that won’t be easy.
Griffin on Sunday afternoon talked about what he needs to do when the Clippers play the Trail Blazers in Game 4 on Monday night, again at Moda Center in Portland.
“I watched the game last night and again this morning in film, so I have several things that I want to change and do a better job at,” he said at the team’s hotel. “But a lot of it’s just aggressiveness, you know, not settling – taking open shots, but not settling.”
The Clippers lead the series 2-1. After Game 4, Game 5 will be back at Staples Center on Wednesday night.