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Blake Griffin has fit in seamlessly with Nets with his selfless play

Nets forward Blake Griffin shoots a free throw

Nets forward Blake Griffin shoots a free throw against the Cavaliers in the first half of an NBA game at Barclays Center on Sunday. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

The temptation is to say the Nets actually should have a "Big 4" that includes five-time all-NBA player Blake Griffin alongside the superstar trio of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden. Instead, the 32-year-old Griffin has settled perfectly into a complementary role since signing with the Nets as a free agent in March.

In 26 games, he averaged 10.0 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 21.5 minutes per game, numbers that all represent career lows. But his 49.2% shooting and 38.3% mark from three-point range were his best over the past five seasons, he has been a defensive leader, and he has taken over as starting center.

Asked if the Nets can be special in the postseason, Griffin said, "You can’t be special just by showing up. We’ve got to lock in and really know our scouting reports, our game plans and execute.

"We have very talented players. We have guys who have sacrificed something to be here. That means a lot to everybody. When everybody knows that everybody has that one goal in mind, it helps camaraderie."

Griffin gave back $13.3 million in his buyout from the Pistons to sign a veteran’s minimum contract with the Nets. His selfless play — taking charges, diving for loose balls — has set a standard. And after not dunking for two years, he proved he still has hops.

He sat out several games to preserve his health for the playoffs, and now he’s part of a star-studded cast that is primed to go. "That’s the goal," Griffin said. "Obviously, to win games and have a good seeding and have home court, but health is the most important thing. I think our performance staff and our doctors and our coaches do a great job of managing that and making sure that everybody’s ready to play.

"It’s great that everybody will be ready to go. Now we have our work cut out for us in terms of preparing and executing."

New York Sports