The Clippers brought a skilled mixologist with them to South Beach. It led to some fun times for the entire team.
Blake Griffin artfully blended his shots throughout the Clippers' 17-point rout of the Miami Heat on Thursday, showing that he can be practically unstoppable when his outside jumpers are falling.
The power forward made 12 of 18 shots, far exceeding his previous accuracy in the early stages of a season in which he's shooting a career-worst 49.3%. Griffin scored from inside and out on the way to 26 points.
"I tried to just take what's available," Griffin said afterward. "I probably still can watch the film and find a few places where I can still mix it up a little more and keep the pressure on them a little more, but I'm starting to find that rhythm."
Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said he liked that Griffin opened the game by taking shots close to the basket. His first five attempts came from within five feet of the rim.
"He started the game with the power game and then that loosened up everything," Rivers said. "That's one of the things we preach — in-and-out basketball. When we start out going in, all of a sudden the outside is wide open, and that's because they're so concerned about the inside and I thought that worked very well."
Nine of Griffin's final 13 shots were from 16 feet or more. He made five of the nine mid- to long-range jumpers, including a three-pointer from the corner after the starters had to reenter the game midway through the fourth quarter. Griffin is shooting 50% on three-pointers for the season, though he has taken only six shots from that distance.
Griffin has taken 101 shots from 10 feet or more and 100 from inside that distance. He's making 58% of his shots from 10 feet or less and 39.6% from beyond that range.
"I think you have to mix it up to be great," Rivers said. "I don't think Blake can just attack every possession and be good and I don't think he can settle for jump shots. We want him to be a full player and that's what he's becoming. There's a learning curve in that, when to do it, when not to do it, when not to settle, and I think he's figuring it out."
Jamal Crawford was in a sharing mood against the Heat.
The shooting guard looked like he was trying to outdo point guard Chris Paul while compiling a season-high nine assists — a total that exceeded Crawford's shots (six) and points (five).
"I was like, 'OK, Magic,' " Rivers said, referring to legendary Lakers point guard Magic Johnson. "You guys should get the stat sheet and have him sign it. … What I loved about it was Jamal was the happiest guy about it."
Crawford said he was trying to help his team be as efficient as possible.
"I think when you pass up good shots for great shots," he said, "you give yourselves a really good chance to make both."