The word on
All he does is debunk.
Lest anyone is still clinging to the ridiculous belief that he is just a dunking marvel, the
He led fastbreaks. He made midrange jumpers. He flung smart passes to open teammates.
Problem was, not enough of those teammates showed up during the Clippers' too-little, too-late 107-101 loss to the
"It's encouraging knowing that we never stopped fighting, but the biggest problem was putting ourselves in that position in the first place," Griffin said. "A 17-point deficit, you're not going to win many of those games."
The Clippers (55-24) were vying for playoff positioning, needing a victory to pull to within a half-game of the Thunder (57-21) for the No. 2 seeding in the West. Go ahead and put them at No. 3 with a red Sharpie. They are not going to make up a 21/2-game deficit with three games left in their season.
Don't blame Griffin. He was everywhere, diving for loose balls, tipping in missed free throws and scoring in transition. His first dunk didn't come until late in the second quarter, when he faked a pass and drove for a one-handed slam on a fastbreak.
Griffin can do it all and did, the diversification of his game representing his team's biggest leap forward in its quest to become a Finals contender.
They are no longer just a bunch of athletic guys and Paul. Griffin gives them another savvy presence who can execute a variety of moves and involve his teammates.
He played probable most valuable player
Griffin memorably backed Durant into the paint in the second quarter for a turnaround four-foot hook shot. Griffin certainly wasn't perfect. He stalled his team's fourth-quarter rally by throwing a lob to
But the Clippers wouldn't be trendy picks to make the deepest playoff run in franchise history without him.
"I still think LeBron is the best player in the
Griffin's scoring, rebounding and free-throw shooting percentages are up from last season and he's added a more reliable midrange jumper, the result of what he's called his commitment to the process of becoming great.
He's even found a way to disarm the national media, joking that he was "terrified" he would revive criticisms that he was too one-dimensional after his dunking display in the All-Star game.
That's not to say there isn't still room for growth. His defense can be spotty and he can fail to restrain himself, as evidenced by the technical foul he received in the first half Wednesday for complaining about a non-call on the Thunder's
"I just thought there should have been a whistle," Griffin said.
He'll have to be careful he doesn't talk his way out of a game at a time when the Clippers need him for all the other things he does so well.