When the Los Angeles Clippers re-signed Chris Paul, they knew they had a shot at being a perennial contender, but the floor general thinks that Blake Griffin is the real key to the team’s success in the postseason.
“Blake is one of those guys, where his age has nothing to do with anything,” Paul said in a phone interview with ESPNLosAngeles.com’s Ramona Shelburne. “People may say he’s a young guy, but he’s been special in this league, he’s been an All-Star. His voice carries a lot of weight and I think our team will definitely go as Blake goes. He’s our guy”
After being traded to the Clips in 2011, Paul became the team’s focal point almost instantly, leading them to a Western Conference Semifinals berth in 2011-12 before taking a step backwards in 2012-13 in a 4-2 series loss against the Memphis Grizzlies. Griffin struggled in his second playoff stint, where he averaged just 13.2 points and 5.5 rebounds, well short of his career regular season averages of 20.4 and 10.4. Paul quelled the notion that he ever became frustrated with his big man enough to drive him to play elsewhere with his vote of confidence.
The two haven’t always been on the same page, with Griffin having to adjust to the offense running first through Paul instead of him. He’s had to operate more in pick-and-roll situations rather than getting the ball in the post in his comfort zone. Earlier in the spring, he told ESPNLosAngeles.com that despite the challenge of adjusting, it was making him a better player.
The Clippers will now look to get on the same page under head coach Doc Rivers, who is masterful at getting stars to mesh with one another. He could be the missing piece to bring those championship aspirations to fruition. Getting Paul and Griffin on the same page on the court is a major first step in that direction.
Photo Credit: Robert Hanashiro/USA TODAY Sports
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