Blake focused on getting Griffin out of the field more than the score in the box.
After joining the Nets superpower in March, Griffin said he was willing to sacrifice personal stats to chase the championship, which has been difficult several times. Griffin’s words were tested in the five-game series of the first playoffs as he never found himself contributing 4.8 points and 3.4 rebounds in a game against Celtic center Tristan Thompson. .
“My focus was on being physical and making sure I kept it away from the window,” Griffin said. “I’m happy to say that the coaching staff is doing what they ask me to do in the game. There’s always something like that, I think I can play better. But winning the first-round series is the most important thing. I never won the first round in the fourth round [games] to one, so get what you can get. ‘
Can Griffin play more games against the Bucks on Saturday? Or was it an indicator of future production?
“It was a tough series for Blake because they changed everything [on screens], said coach Steve Nash. “As they exchange, we part with our Big 3. That leaves him a big distance on the floor. They’re not leaving him, so in a sense they took him out of the series.”
Griffin had no less than 13.2 points or 5.5 rebounds in any of the previous 10 series. But the first 53 playoff games came about not as an opportunity to fill the gaps around James Harden, Kevin Durant and Kyiri Irving, but as a primary or secondary threat to the Clippers and Pistons.
“I’m not saying,‘ The Blake series was bad. ’I’m saying,‘ This series wasn’t set up to fill the account for Blake, ’” Nash said. “It wasn’t going to have as big a performance as we expected. or the indicators were going backwards. “
Thompson sacrificed Griffin – his defensive rating against Celtic was eighth on the team – and substitute Nick Clakton for 10.4 points and 9.8 rebounds per game. The central encounter against the Bucks, who use 7-foot Brooke Lopez as a 3-point assist-5 in attack, is very different.
In early May, when the teams met twice in a three-day period, the Nets fielded DeAndre Jordan from the bench with Griffin in the center, but Jordan did not play at all against the Celtic.
“DeAndre would be in a lot of roles by setting up screens, be more around the basket as a lobby threat,” Lopez said. “Blake can do these things. He tries to overturn the aggressive window, but it appears more on the perimeter and in the space. It definitely looks different, especially when it comes to advocating for help and where I can help. “
Since Harden, Durant, and Irving have only played one regular season game together after Valentine’s Day, Griffin had a huge chance of surpassing expectations in addition to the buying market from Piston. His goal-scoring, 3-point and free-kick increased with the Nets, so he just didn’t run out of gas.
“I thought our Big 3 used that with the Boston icon exchange,” Griffin said. “KD numbers, Kyrie numbers were crazy. I don’t know that [any of] the numbers of our support team may be crazy or they may touch you. ”
Nash’s confidence is not shaken.
“He was very receptive to the role he played,” Nash said. “He used his intelligence and experience to make holes for us. We believe he will do it again. “