CHICAGO — After shooting a horrible 27.2% through the first eight games of the season, Nets center Blake Griffin scored in double figures at Detroit and Toronto to start a six-game road trip that continued Monday night against the Bulls at the United Center. After Griffin had 14 points and 11 rebounds in a win over the Raptors Sunday, coach Steve Nash lauded the leadership role played by the six-time All-Star.
"Ever since Blake joined us, he went from an All-Star player for the most part in his career to a role player with us and accepted it and attacked that role, so it’s been amazing to see him," Nash said. "His ability to throw his body around, take charges, set good screens, do all the little things, it’s been outstanding. We’re recognizing that our group has to be that way this year. We’re not just going to outscore people."
Griffin and Joe Harris lately have joked about how they run the "Blue Collar Boys Club," and they honor gritty defensive play by awarding a hard hat in the postgame locker room. Patty Mills was a recent recipient, and Griffin said he and Harris granted Mills full membership Sunday in Toronto.
"I was worried for a second there that they had the wrong email address because I hadn’t gotten anything in my inbox," Mills said. "It’s good to know I’ve been accepted."
MVP candidate Kevin Durant took a charge against the Raptors, so Griffin told him to put on the hard hat after the game. Durant laughed and said he felt like part of the crew, but Griffin explained there is a lengthy application process.
"While we do like him as a prospect, it’s going to be a bit of a go," Griffin said of Durant. "He has got to jump through a few hoops before we just give it to him. There is no easy way to get into the ‘Blue Collar Boys Club.’ "