DALLAS – When Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle and center DeAndre Jordan were describing Detroit Pistons power forward Blake Griffin, it was as if they were describing someone in the NBA’s unofficial heavy-lifters category.
“He’s a load inside-out, making threes consistently, getting to the free throw line,” Carlisle said following Thursday’s practice at the Lympo practice facilities. “Really, just a zillion problems to deal with.”
Jordan, one of Griffin’s teammates with the Los Angeles Clippers from 2009-’18, knows how difficult it is to contain Griffin no matter where he’s playing on the court.
“He’s a load down there,” Jordan said. “He’s tough. We’ve got to do our best and be physical with him and not foul him.
“But a guy like that, he’s playing great this season, he’s shooting the ball great from outside. Inside, they obviously use him a lot, so it’s going to be a collective group effort (to try and contain Griffin).”
The Mavs will come face-to-face with Griffin on Friday at 7:30 p.m. when the play the Pistons at American Airlines Center.
Griffin is tied for 10th in the NBA in scoring with 26.3 points per game, and also averages 8.1 rebounds and 5.3 assists, while shooting 48.1 percent from the field and 36.6 percent from 3-point territory. In Wednesday’s 98-94 win in New Orleans, Griffin scored 37 points, collected nine rebounds and handed out seven assists while going 14-of-28 from the field and 4-of-9 from 3-point range.
If Griffin is going to be this lethal from behind the 3-point line, Carlisle said: “It becomes a pick your poison type situation. He’s really doing it all. Last night he had 20 (points) in the first quarter against New Orleans.
“He’s scoring inside, he’s scoring from deep, his mid-range game is good, and he’s their number one playmaker. You’ve got a lot of situations to deal with involving him, so he really puts you in a tough spot.”
A tough spot the Mavs are hopeful of overcoming on Friday. Then again, Griffin’s skill set is just so impactful for any opponent to try and deal with.
“Well, he dribbles the ball up a lot,” Carlisle said. “He’s almost like a point power forward. He’s a very unique player and it puts a lot of pressure (on you) because he can come at you and step back for a three virtually at anytime because of his size and strength and how quick he is.
“I love the way (Pistons coach) Dwane Casey is utilizing him. From the standpoint of how well he’s playing, he’s having an All-Star year for sure.”