LOS ANGELES — Blake Griffin believes the Los Angeles Clippers will need to raise their game in the playoffs after scoring 36 points in a 115-104 defeat of the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday.
Griffin led the scoring for the Clippers, who improved to 47-31 to move to within one game of the Utah Jazz in the race for the fourth seed slot in the Western Conference.
But Griffin — who topped 10,000 career points in the first quarter — was unhappy with an inconsistent display which saw the Lakers (21-55) reduce a 21-point lead to eight during the closing stages.
Griffin later admitted that the Clippers’ failure to kill off opponents was a concern.
“It’s still something that needs to be worked out,” said Griffin. “I thought at times we came out to start the game the right way and then we took our foot off the gas.
“I thought we let our offense dictate our defense, had some bad turnovers early in the first quarter and it got them going a little bit.
“I thought we came out well in the third quarter, but we just haven’t put the lid on games very well,” added Griffin, calling on his team-mates to sharpen up for the playoffs.
“You can’t win games in the playoffs playing inconsistently, so it is concerning,” Griffin said. “How much concern? I’m not really sure. I just know we can’t do this in the playoffs and win games because every team that makes the playoffs is a good team and knows how to play and knows how to finish games. We have to do better.”
Saturday’s victory at Staples Center also marked the 800th career win for Clippers coach Doc Rivers.
Rivers however was also unhappy with the patchy performance.
“I loved the way we started the game,” Rivers said. “I didn’t like how — this is the third game in a row with our bench, and they’ve been really good, but we have to figure that out.”
Backing up Griffin, Chris Paul weighed in with 29 points and 12 assists while J.J. Redick had 19 points.