Griffin's passing delivers win

LA Clippers forward Blake Griffin (left) attempting to keep the ball in-bounds against Detroit Pistons guard Reggie Jackson in an earlier NBA game at Staples Center.
LA Clippers forward Blake Griffin (left) attempting to keep the ball in-bounds against Detroit Pistons guard Reggie Jackson in an earlier NBA game at Staples Center.PHOTO: REUTERS

Forward's assists crucial late in regulation as he helps Clippers tie the game and then go ahead

AUBURN HILLS (Michigan) • Doc Rivers trusted his players. His star power forward, Blake Griffin, trusted his team-mates.

That faith allowed the Los Angeles Clippers to outlast the Detroit Pistons 105-103 in overtime in the National Basketball Association (NBA) on Monday at The Palace.

Griffin poured in 34 points but his passing proved to be even more crucial. He assisted shooting guard J.J. Redick's game-tying three-pointer with 19.6 seconds left in regulation.

Griffin then found reserve shooting guard Jamal Crawford for the go-ahead three-pointer with 12.4 seconds remaining.

"People look at the power, the speed and the dunks," Rivers said of Griffin, who had seven assists. "They miss the best part of his game and that's his passing."

Rivers called plays during timeouts before both of those baskets.

"The last two threes, they talked me out of the plays I was drawing up to draw up a play they thought would work," the Clippers coach said of his players.

"It was really one of those games where you listen to them.

"They were so into the game, they had a great feel.

"Sometimes as a coach, you say, 'No, I'll go with my stuff.'

"Sometimes, you go with theirs."

Double-teamed, Griffin found Crawford open on the right wing for the decisive three-pointer.

"Some guys, they try to force shots or take a tough shot," Los Angeles point guard Chris Paul said.

"We just trust that the next man is going to make the shot."

The Pistons lamented their defensive mistake.

"We just broke defensive coverage," Detroit point guard Reggie Jackson said.

"We didn't stick to our principles and (Crawford) found an open shot. We didn't stick to our principles, and everything went haywire," he added.

The Pistons had three put-back attempts after Jackson missed a free throw with 9.3 seconds left in overtime but could not convert.

Jackson, who had 34 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists, also missed out on a potential game-winner jumper at the end of regulation.

"You put the ball in the guy's hands, he makes his decisions," Detroit coach Stan van Gundy said.

"The one at the end of regulation goes in and out.

"When Reggie isolates on bigger guys, that's what he does.

"He doesn't like attacking them. I don't know why but he got a pretty good shot."

Shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope contributed 19 points for the Pistons (14-12).

Detroit centre Andre Drummond added his league-high 22nd double-double with 20 points and 15 rebounds.

Redick supplied 24 points, and Paul chipped in 13 points and 12 assists for Los Angeles, who won for the eighth time in 10 games.

Crawford added 14 points off the bench as they finished 4-1 on a five-game road trip.

"I told our guys this is either going to be a good trip or a great trip," Rivers said. "All will be on the outcome tonight, and it turned into a great trip."

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 16, 2015, with the headline 'Griffin's passing delivers win'. Print Edition | Subscribe