Doc Rivers: Without Chris Paul, Blake Griffin is Clippers' point guard

Clippers Coach Doc Rivers praises Blake Griffin for filling void left by an injured Chris Paul in Game 1

At 6-foot-10, 251 pounds, he doesn't have the typical dimensions of a great facilitator, but Clippers power forward Blake Griffin has shown that he's one of the best passing big men in the league.

Griffin is so good at running the offense that Clippers' Coach Doc Rivers unofficially designated him to be the team's point guard — over the actual reserve point guards — when eight-time All-Star Chris Paul had to miss Game 1 of the team's second-round playoff series against the Houston Rockets on Monday because of a left hamstring strain.

Said Rivers: "Without Chris on the floor, Blake's our point guard. Everybody else is just guards."

Griffin finished with 13 assists, more than twice as many as any of his teammates, in the Clippers' 117-101 win over the Rockets. Oh, and he also had game-highs in both points (26) and rebounds (14).

Sure, Griffin is not perfect at playing Paul — the power forward finished with five turnovers. But then again Rockets guard James Harden, who was the runner-up for the NBA's MVP award, had nine turnovers.

Griffin said that with Paul out, he knew he'd have to step up in multiple areas, not just with his passing.

"I mean with CP, obviously besides his on-court production, you miss his leadership and his talks, and that void needs to be filled — but I kind of have to do it in my own way," Griffin said. "I can't emulate Chris, but everybody just responded, everybody was talking tonight, everybody was filling that void."

Ahhh, he's even learned the jargon of a real point guard — refusing to take any of the credit.

Rivers called Griffin's play "sensational," though he did have one complaint.

"It's funny, I got on him because he started doing the Chris thing," Rivers said. "He stopped looking to score and I told him at one point, 'We need you to do everything,' and he did it.'"

Boy, did he.

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